I thought she wanted to be left alone, so I did. And because I left her alone, she thought I wanted to be left alone. And we almost missed a friendship. . . .
I thought they were concerned about germs, so I kept my distance when we were sick. And then they thought I was concerned about germs, even thought I wasn’t. . . .
She was a nerd, and I was a nerd, and we had all the same interests, but we never managed to connect. . . .
I assumed a neighbor was a certain way because of stereotypes and hearsay. But her opinions ended up being more nuanced, and even if we did disagree about some things, we didn’t disagree about everything. . . .
My own assumptions alter how I think about people and how I treat them. But those assumptions are often wrong. I can’t read minds. I don’t know as much about people as I think I do. And people don’t know much about me, either.
We have different lifestyles, different choices, different opinions. We have things in common and we have difference. But it’s easiest to approach every relationship with integrity.
I want to be the same person, to not try to hide who I am. That doesn’t mean I loudly insert my own opinions, but it does mean that I stop trying to adapt myself to fit to another person’s choices. I struggle with that sometimes. I don’t want to be contrary. So I don’t say things or I change what I say in order to fit in.
But so often, I’m adapting based on false information.
It’s better to be honest and true to myself, to let who I am come out more often, and not try to read another’s mind, but to simply ask them about themselves, to understand what I don’t know, and to assume only that I can continue to be kind.