Friday, June 7, 2013

Some Heartache Just Can't Be Avoided

The Peacock

I am fascinated with character. Specifically, I’m fascinated with how one correctly judges character, because somewhere in my development, I got the crazy notion that you could sum someone up in a few minutes, get a vibe, and “feel” him out.

Now mind you, up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t think of this idea as crazy. But when I told my brother my belief, he said “That’s crazy. You can’t know who someone is in a few minutes! It takes multiple interactions and time with someone to know whether you like his personality.”

Then he got insulted.

“I mean, you’re just going to write me off in a few minutes? Just like that? What?! You can't do that! How many times have you heard a married couple say, for instance, ‘I didn’t like him when we first met/I didn’t like her when we first met?’”

I had to admit he might have a point.

It’s just that it’s a drag to spend a whole bunch of time with someone you thought you’d like and then find out you don’t like her at all. And I guess I was looking for a shortcut, because getting to know people can be hard and sometimes painful. At least for me. I take it personally when you seem nice but I later learn you’re a jerk. I feel like I failed somehow.


Following is a list of three character-flawed types you'd wish would just announce themselves already and save us all the time, but they won't. Instead, it'll take you weeks, months, and sometimes even years to figure out who they are, and you won't feel good when the scales fall from your eyes. 

But, take heart. We've all been there. 

The Peacock
At first blush, this guy is someone you want to be around. He’s confident. He’s smart. He’s funny. He likes to talk, and you’re flattered when he draws you into his circle. (Or should I saw “audience?”) It’ll take a few interactions, but eventually you’ll notice—he gets a lot less animated when you’re being funny or when the conversation shifts to you. And finally it hits you. This dude is full of himself. And all that charm and warmth and comedy is him loving on him. Not on you (or anyone else for that matter).

The Flake
Sometimes weeks go by before she returns your calls or your email messages. You make a date for lunch. She cancels at the last minute. You reschedule. She cancels again. And we’re all busy so you don’t begrudge her that, but come on. It’s just not that difficult to find an hour for lunch in a year's time. And, while you’re initially willing to take her as she is, eventually it all begins to feel a little too lopsided. Where's the reciprocity? You’re not sure what changed when, but something changed, and eventually there’s just nothing there. Funny. Because at one time it all seemed so promising.

The Straight-Up User
When you have something he wants, or he thinks he might want in the future, he’s your friend. When you’re no longer useful, he dumps you. Simple. He's also sneaky and secretive, pretending to not be friendly with this one or that one so he’ll appear more loyal to you (not that you even care) and he’s doing the same thing in the other camp, too. In truth, he’s nobody’s friend. He’s just a userin it for him, and nobody but him. But again, it takes a while to figure this out, because he’s good. He knows how to flatter and manipulate in the most subtle of fashions.

So there you have it. Three personality types that you most definitely can’t scope out in a few minutes. It takes time. And exposure. 

And it’s exhausting. 

But I guess that’s life, huh?

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