Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reading people

On Saturdays and Sundays, Gromit goes for walkies on the river trail nearby. He knows this. And he won’t let us leave the house without him.

Out on the path he’s your typical dog, sniffing at and peeing on just about everything.

He is always Extremely Interested in other dogs and ignores only one or two of the most irritating/barky.

The opposite is true with people on the trail. He ignores everyone – bikers, runners, walkers, and wanderers.

Everyone except This One Guy.

When he sees This One Guy, he barks and lunges at him as if the dude is a bacon-flavored enemy combatant.

We don’t know why.

But we suspect it is because This One Guy actually is an enemy combatant. The jury is still out on the bacon thing because we haven’t had the courage to get close enough for a sniff.
There’s This One Guy at work that I do not like. At all.

From the very first moment we met I thought he was a smarmy, know-it-all, lazy-ass chooch.

Of course I stopped short of actually barking and lunging at him, but if he smelled like bacon I just might have.

So what is it about This One Guy that sets off Gromit? And what is it about certain people that makes us wanna bark and lunge?
Call it instinct. Maybe it’s a survival thing.

I think it’s a gift. Being able to read people.

I can tell within the first few minutes if I’m gonna like you or not.

How do I know? I have no idea.

But like Gromit on the trail, I just know when someone isn’t quite right.

And this gift or gut feeling or whatever it is? It is never ever wrong.
“You better have a good lawyer.”

“You’re in for a miserable experience.”

“You will hate people when it’s all over.”

That’s what we heard when we decided to sell our home by owner four years ago. The housing market was good, we were in a great location and the house pretty much sold itself.

But I’ll never forget one of the first messages we received after the sign went up in our front yard. It was this friendly, genuine voice telling us: “Hey, I saw the sign in your yard and I have a feeling your house would be perfect for us. Could you call me back so we can come over and check it out?”

Right now, I’m smiling, just thinking about that message.

The couple came over. And from the very first moment, I liked them. Somehow there was this instant connection between the four of us and it just worked.

They bought the house. They’ve become two of our closest friends.
Some folks don’t have the ability to read people. They make bad hiring decisions. They choose the wrong friends. They fall in love with gay men.

“But I had NO IDEA!” says the tearful, slightly overweight woman. “He was just so nice and we had great conversations and he had a FABULOUS condo!”

Gaydar isn’t special. It’s just a subset of the being able to read people gift.
You’re judging people and you don’t even know them.

Yep. That’s the whole point.

It’s completely irrational and totally unfair but like I said, this gift has never been wrong.

The positive note in all of this is that 85 to 90% of the people I meet are good.

Do you have the gift? Have you ever been totally wrong about someone?
I am listening to: Paolo Nutini – New Shoes
I am reading: Nothing yet
And I am: Not barking


Go Green said...

Remember in college, when you would scope out the opposite s*x and try your best to find the perfect person for you???

Ever find one, and you just KNEW they were the perfect fit? They just mesmerized you? And you trusted your instints?

Well, she was in my Finance 300 class at MSU. I always caught her looking at me and she always smiled. I just melted everytime I saw her. I waited and waited to ask her out and I knew there was a connection there. I knew it. So, after our Final on the last day of class, I asked her out.

It only took me 10 weeks to ask her out, and it only took her 5 seconds to shoot me down. "Sorry, I have a boyfriend, but Thanks!"

I never saw her again and at that point, I wish I could've gotten into a fist fight with my instincts!