It never ceases to amaze me how little I know.
I mean, seriously, it’s staggering sometimes.
I saw someone this morning walking around at the coffee shop, talking loudly, with their Apple Airpods on. I assumed it was a phone call, but all it took were those three things for me to formulate just who this dude was.
You know that guy, right? He’s “Important business guy making moves that are obviously important, and he wants you to know how businessy he is, because… BUSINESS!“.
But seriously, is he?
I didn’t even hear what he was saying. I don’t know why he was so engrossed and animated by the phone call.
- Was he trying to save his company, or keep his accounts, so that he could take care of his family. Was he worried about his next paycheck?
- Is he stressed because a family member is ill, or because his spouse or partner has moved out?
- Has he just found out his child is using drugs, and he’s trying to process what his next steps are in the middle of his workday?
- Is he depressed and considering suicide?
The fact is, as I watched him, I didn’t know. I’m not even sure it’s mine to ever know. But I know how I painted him in my mind. I created an image in my head of who this person is based on my preferences, expectations, and fears. This person has a lifeful of experiences that have brought him to this moment in his life, and I am witnessing 0.0000000000001% of it and making a judgment of character for his whole person.
That’s a bad move on my part. That’s an act of defensiveness and fear that I use to keep people at arm’s length, and I really need to stop it.
How about you? Have you ever decided who someone was based on one interaction? What have you learned from it?