To me, life is about risk. Taking chances. Learning. Exploring. Growing. Succeeding Failing. Questioning. Teaching.
I am someone who puts it all out there, in more ways than one. I want to experience all that life has to offer and I have an annoying sense of optimism, excitement and eagerness about people and life that prevails no matter how hard I fight it.
In that vein, I am always ready to welcome new people in to my life. I rarely put up much resistance, if ever, at meeting new people and welcoming them into my home and life. I want to connect with people. I thrive on social connections and I often live vicariously through the people I meet, the stories they tell and the places they’ve been. I utilize E-mail, Facebook and chat sites to their fullest and never feel like there’s no more room for another friend.
I am very up front – an open-book – with people. I tell them and show them who I am, I answer questions, share my experiences, introduce my friends and anything else about my life that they want exposure too. I have little to no reservations. I don’t think of it as being naive, I think of it as being a genuinely open person and embracing a desire to meet any one that crosses my path as a potential friend. I truly believe I am, or try to be, a nice guy who will do anything for anyone if they are part of my life. I am not perfect and I screw up, but I never have anything but the best intentions and always want to foster and nurture positive relationships in my life, probably putting others first way more often in my life than I should.
Unfortunately, this also leaves me quite exposed and puts me at greater risk for interacting with some bad apples. People who I have not put through any screening process and have taken at face value, who turn out to not be who they seemed or just have a dark side or just decide they don’t like me very much, after all. Whatever it is.
I’m relatively OK with this, to an extent. Really. I’m a big boy. I get it, I can handle it. Certainly I don’t like being disliked, let alone hated, but I can’t control that. People like me or they don’t. End of story.
Or, it should be. Unfortunately, I tend to attract the kind of people that, once they decided I’m evil incarnate or Hitler reincarnated, feel the need to behave towards me in an intentional, willful cruel, vindictive and mean way. It is not enough that they’ve given me the message that I’m a horrible person or friend or whatever they’ve decided I am, but they have to keep reminding me, doing what they can to poison my life, my world, my other friendships.
I don’t get it. I really don’t. I don’t understand that level of maliciousness, that vengeful attitude, that need to propagate hate and sow seeds of destruction in someone’s life, no matter what you think of them or why.
So, I just have to accept that there are people out there like that and understand that if I’m going to be a social extrovert, I’m going to meet some of them, probably more than others will. All I can try to do is be a bigger, better person when this happens and do my best not to feed into it or let it bother me (or at least not let it show.)
But you know what? It sucks. And so do they.