When we meet a brand-new person we are excited about, we have all fallen prey to asking around about his/her reputation rather than letting pure hunch guide us.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing with all the crazies out there.
This is especially true for single mothers — because after all, we carry a heavy load of providing a stable (and hopefully permanent) household for our children.
Make a few inquiries and you’ll soon find that everyone has an opinion on the person you’ve started dating. (BTW, I tell my clients never to listen to what others say about someone until they have given that person a chance.)
Opinions are like ass%$#@. Everyone has one and they aren’t always pretty.
Case in point:
Many years ago, I was at a local grocery store when some lady who seemed to know everything about my life skated over and proceeded to accost me in the middle of the dairy aisle.
I literally had no idea who she was, and I do mean no idea.
She begins telling me how she’s a big fan and reads all my blogs and columns, then moves swiftly, without missing a beat, to a former love of mine, about whom she knew an uncomfortable amount of information (all superficial stuff).
And then, for the grand finale, she gracefully glided into an axel jump onto the subject of my current partner.
All the while, I hadn’t gotten a word in edgewise. I was just holding onto my grocery cart wishing I could hide somewhere between the Chobani yogurt and the almond milk.
But in all seriousness, panic was setting in because this woman was not letting me go.
I began rummaging through my mind for possible escape routes — fake an illness? Politely say I was in a rush? My mind was racing but she kept skating rings around me.
That is, until a sentence came out of her mouth that got my full attention.
“I hear you’re dating so and so,” she said of the man I plan to marry (this was in the earlier stages of our relationship). Then, in a very cunning way, she glided over to something unfavorable about a failed marriage, yada yada yada …
So this was me …
Mayday, mayday — we are losing altitude and the ship is going down. Brace yourself, head down at your knees, legs tucked straight and uncrossed …
I felt the blood rushing to my cheeks and my heart racing, and David Banner was starting to turn green. (For those too young, that was a Hulk reference. OK, just aged myself.)
My friends and family have always known that I’m not one to easily take pot shots. One of my strengths has always been fast-thinking comebacks. But I was angry and when information is relayed that’s upsetting, it’s hard to keep your temper in check — although you MUST because responses out of anger are not usually intelligent.
I looked straight into this woman’s eyes and said very politely, “You seem to know so much about me, yet I know nothing about you.”
With a big smile I added, “What I’ve learned about life, though, is that a weed in one person’s garden is a blossoming flower in another’s.”
And I walked away and left her standing speechless.
This has always been my motto in life. Because we all bring out different traits in one another and you never know if your experience with someone will be the same as someone else’s.
When dating and meeting others, I have never listened to the opinions of others because they simply are just that — opinions.
When you begin to know yourself and trust your intuition, making your own assessment and judgment regarding others comes naturally and confidently.
I’ve also learned: Beware of the messenger.
You never know why someone is saying the things they say about someone else. Some messengers have serious ulterior motives.
I had a client whose close friend would talk horribly about every boyfriend she had — only to later go after these “terrible men” herself. (With friends like that who needs enemies?)
As my father always said, know the source.
Funny thing … there hasn’t been one man I’ve loved who hasn’t had unkind things said about them.
Had I listened to other’s opinions and let that deter me from my own experience, I would have missed out on some of the most amazing moments of my life.
We all have met people who misrepresent themselves and even if we were psychic, we could not have foreseen it.
Nowadays, I like to learn a lot about the people in my life. I ask a lot of questions and observe, and when I feel like something is off, I listen to myself. I am clear about what matters to me and why.
Knowing myself has given me the ability to recognize warning signs in life. I use my internal compass to help navigate through even the deepest of waters and ultimately, I am now able to let go of any and all relationships that no longer serve me, and determine which ones to nurture merely by instinct.
The magic is in trusting you own gut. Your brain is sometimes a fool, and we all know hearts are idiots …
But your gut … that lady don’t lie and once you learn to trust her she becomes a forever best friend.
Until next time,
Born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Karin has a BA in sociology, with a minor in psychology earning honors at Michigan State University. Along with certification in relationship coaching, Karin is an international blogger and past columnist. She is currently accepting clients and advertisers and can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org.