A snap shot of you

In our day to day dealings with others, people will only see a snap shot of you. Just a snap shot and from that snap shot people will put together some kind of a picture about you. It is only you and those who know you most intimately; those closest souls to you that have many snap shots, whole pictures, and many stories of you and because of that they are the best judge of who you are. Everyone else will only have a snap shot. That snap shot most people have of you may have some truth to it or maybe it is adulterated depending on the lens that is doing the viewing. In my opinion it is dependent on the lens, the eyes forming the snap shot and hence why opinions are very diverse. You may have a good opinion of someone and another person may have a bad opinion of that same person, all that has changed in the equation is the eyes doing the viewing.

Our perceptions do fascinate me. Today I was talking to a Somali brother, who I communicate with from time to time and who had called me about starting a project in Somalia, but it was the first time we had talked on the phone for so long and during our long talk he confessed his first impressions about me. He said he was beyond surprised that I was so open, easy going, and very easy to talk to. He thought I was unapproachable and difficult to talk to, somehow I gave off that vibe. He went on to tell me he is not the only one and there was another brother that was actually interested in me, but I came across to him as if I had a sign that said hey please don’t bother me so he did just that. I was not offended and appreciated his honesty.

It is not the first time someone had this impression about me, which is the farthest thing from the truth and anyone that has taken a walk with me knows. So what am I doing to give off this vibe? Perhaps I am not doing anything wrong and it’s the lens viewing me that has it wrong, but I am the type person that is always evaluating herself not because I want to please people and make them love me, no, but I believe in life it is in our best interests to strive to be better and correct our bad characteristics. I have always loved the saying from Omar ibn Khatab RA, “He is a friend who brings to your attention your faults.”

I do consider being unapproachable as something that is not a good quality and I never want to give that impression. I do believe I am very approachable, easy going, and easy to talk to. Naturally that will easily come across after five minutes of talking to me. So it must be my silence. Quietness can be mistaken for being unapproachable or snobbish, although it’s more often from shyness, although I am not very shy I do think it comes from my quiet nature. (I know those who know me will say I am not quiet, but that is only because you know me).

We all form opinions depending on snap shots. One can argue snap shots tell part of our story and are not entirely inaccurate. This is true, if someone is rude, unkind you may see that from one snap shot right away, however our perceptions can also be very wrong when it comes to people and it takes a special kind of emotional intelligence to accurately form an opinion of someone based on a snapshot.

Couple of weeks I was out with a couple of my friends and one of my friends brought along her friend. Immediately everyone was not a fan of the girl, the snapshots she produced throughout the evening were not friendly and because I sensed her isolation, I made an extra effort to include her and to talk to her. I am a big believer in seeing good in people, regardless of how annoying etc someone comes across, unless someone is hateful/unjust it takes a lot for me to be put off by people. In other words I like to see more snapshots, pictures, stories, and take a walk with someone.

Several days later we all got together again and my friend mentioned her friend had said that I had disliked her the most, because of the extra attention I gave her. She took it as probing, in other words she took it negatively. She also mentioned who she thought was the nicest person to her and who happened to be the person who had disliked her the most.

This was fascinating to me and it made me think a lot about perceptions. Had I ever been so wrong about someone like my friend’s friend had been? Had I thought someone was nice that didn’t even like me and thought the person that was actually being nice to me as being mean? Could I make the same emotional intelligence mistakes? I wish not to, but it’s quite possible I had.

4 Responses to A snap shot of you

  1. NinaG says:

    This is my life. People always think I’m mean (and sometimes I am) but I’m much nicer than what ppl actually think.

  2. Guulo says:

    Have you questioned to why that is? Are we putting out some kind of energy, or perhaps it’s because you have a quiet nature too. Quiet people are mistaken for being mean, when in reality they are shy and shy people usually have the sweetest of hearts. I have questioned it a lot, and I’d be the first to say I have faults, but being unapproachable is not one of them. For this one I am picking on the lens doing the viewing, because opinions about me have been formed without any meaningful exchange, opinions based on what I look like or what they think I represent. Those conclusions I have reached. On the other extreme end, being very friendly has gotten me in trouble as it has been taken as romantic interest. We as human beings are very quick to judge, to see what is not there and jump to conclusions.

    • NinaG says:

      It’s a mix of things for me. I am quiet by nature (I’m an introvert so I don’t do small talk to well). I’m also a little shy.
      And then there are times when I give off the energy of don’t approach me. I’m sometimes conscious of this though. A work in progress indeed.

  3. Guulo says:

    Indeed we all are a work in progress and I think it’s in our best interests to be self-aware and to question, some see this as people pleasing, but it leads to character growth.

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