I try to get along with most people. I'm not an 'in your face' kind of person. I tend to hang back and feel my way into an acquaintance, to see if what I have to offer as a person will be accepted before I try to deepen any relationship. There was a time when I made friends quickly and easily. Those days seem to be over. In fact, over time I have begun to protect my energy more and more, and maybe other people around my age do the same. The relationships I have fostered over the years matter a great deal to me. I treasure the friends I have because I feel safe and welcome with them, and I hope they feel the same about me.
A few times I have encountered people who simply do not like me. I accept that, but it is always interesting, not to mention humbling, to ponder why people may not like me. There have been people who have crossed my path whose energy seems to clash with mine, even though, like I said, I try to get along with most people. Years ago I was in a choir. I love to sing, and I enjoy the choral format. I get a thrill out of being part of a wall of voices creating a living work of art to present to an audience. When I was invited to join the choir by some friendly people of my acquaintance, I readily accepted. I attended the first few rehearsals and people around me seemed to be fairly friendly, the musical selections a good challenge for me, and I thought, 'this will be fun'. Despite my positive attitude toward the experience, almost immediately I felt a strange negativity directed towards me from the director. I am not even sure he realized what was happening. I've always been a sensitive being, and I know that what I am feeling with another person may not be felt (or acknowledged) by them, but I could not ignore the rays of hostile energy coming my way from the director. I felt completely unwelcome. Still, I persevered and spent a couple of seasons with the choir, even though I sometimes came home in tears.
During my time working as a cook in a café a regular customer gave me a similar reaction as the choir director. For some reason, I just brought out something a bit nasty in her. She used to narrow her eyes when she saw me, although she would plaster a smile on her face when I served her food. I have no idea what I did to provoke her dislike, but again, our energies seemed to clash like Luke and Darth's lightsabers. One day I made a decision on how to handle this customer. I would be super duper extra nice to her. Amazingly, my strategy seemed to work. We carried on to have decent, if somewhat fake, exchanges. She was in the café daily, so I had to come up with something so I wouldn't dread her appearance. Recently, I ran into her at a garden center. She recognized me, but could not place me right away, and when I said I used to work at the café in question she nodded and then we talked about the beautiful white poinsettias she was buying. "It was good to see you" we both said as she left the garden center.
My most recent mysterious, negative experience with a person was just a few weeks ago. A school that comes every year to the resort I live at was finally able to return now that Covid is more manageable. I had met this person, a man who works for the school and heads up the out-trips, and we seemed to have an amicable relationship. I was happy to see him again as he has always been really friendly towards my husband and we had even visited the school before Covid and been given a tour by him. This time, however, his reception of me was frosty. When I mentioned it to my husband he said, 'Nah, he's just got a lot on his mind'. I accepted that. The next time I saw the man in question I was cheering for him as he was about the cross the finish line in an annual cross-country ski race. Afterwards, he was again frosty and dismissive and only spoke to my husband. The last night the school was here, my husband asked me to come to the pub for the final gathering, which I did with a woman friend who works here. When the man in question came into the pub he greeted my husband and my friend and completely ignored me. This time, my husband noticed and felt as confused as I did. I concentrated on talking to another person near me, and then went home, relieved I no longer had to pretend everything was fine.
A good friend of mine quit a co-ed sport she loved because she felt completely unwelcome by the male participants. At that time I was also in the choir so we could commiserate. Sexism may have played a role in both of these situations. My friend and I are not ones to shrink our personalities around men.
When I was younger these unfortunate clashes with other humans would have eaten me up inside, but as I have grown and matured I realize they are simply a part of being in the world. While I am bothered whenever I have seemed to upset someone, I realize I cannot take full responsibility for their dislike of me if I have examined my behaviour and simply could not come up with any reason for their dislike. If their reason is simply because I am a (mostly) self-assured woman with a somewhat feminist bent, all the more reason to discount their attitude towards me. 'Ain't nobody got time for that!'
Until next time,