Presumption as Quicksand

1 04 2009

When people meet one another, they are really, after all, meeting only snapshots of who they each have been and mere hints as to who they each will be.  What they know of each other is what they know in that moment.  As you get to know the person more and more, you build a mental construct of them that you begin to rely on for “knowing” them at least as much as you rely on the other person–meaning that you’re not re-meeting the person each day and knowing them for who they are. You’re assuming they’re as they were, more and more, and they’re doing the same with you. Your somewhat presumed history becomes your basis for expectation. How much harder is it then to accept change from that person?   How much easier is it to feel personally slighted if they don’t behave according to your expectations?

I think the hardest part of any relationship or friendship is accepting that people are changing both with and without you, and understanding that they’re not doing it to you… just near you. Whether or not two people can accept the changes they each find is a matter for them to understand and decide without anger or presumption.

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4 responses

1 04 2009
formerly known as office jacki

dude, i was totally just thinking about this very thing yesterday. and to your ideas about it, i say…yes. correct. sometimes i think that even the whole concept of self-image and the western focus on personal identity encourages people to become stagnant pieces of “this is who i am and what i’m about” shit, and then when you add in other people’s ideas of who they “know” you to be and who you “know” them to be…it’s a mess, my man, this is what i’m saying. the worst part is, it’s all around you and you don’t even think about it. like dust mites.

29 05 2009
pletch

i took more time to think about your comment, ex-office-jacki, and while i have nothing more to add, i’d like to say that i quite appreciate the additional “personal identity” criticism. it’s true that often enough i feel as though the first few sentences exchanged when meeting someone are the functional equivalent of an interview for hiring managers. i can’t stand to have someone try to “sell themselves” to me, and i wouldn’t have a clue how to go about doing the same to them. and the resume that we all walk around showing people, in this hiring metaphor, is your identifying appearance—clothes, hairstyle, what you drive, all of these accessories that have so little to do with actually being a person…. oh, and whether or not you call your male friend “bra.” that’s a telling characteristic. oy vey.

i mean, i’m going to go drink a mountain dew so that people who see me know how extreme i am.

1 04 2009
allison

douglas, are … are you pregnant?

23 04 2009
jackiesipesicle

beautifully said. beautiful isn’t much of an adjective, but it’s all I got right now. and, reading this is helping me through a rough time.

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