Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop by answering the prompt: 4.) A time you hurt a friend’s feelings.
I’m going to take different spin on this and talk about a time when I hurt another blogger’s feelings. So often we meet people through social media and develop relationships online. We form opinions of that person that may or may not be who they really are. This is about such an encounter.
It was her first blog conference and she didn’t know anyone; she was excited to learn that I would be there. I was excited to meet her too because we had some great exchanges online. We met at the conference, exchanged hellos and pleasantries and then went about our separate ways. We attended sessions as our interests dictated, waving hello if we crossed paths again. We stayed in touch throughout the year on Facebook and Twitter.
A year later we were at the same blog conference and I suggested that we hang out. That is when she told me that I hurt her feelings when we first met a year ago. She said that I was not how she thought I would be. She thought I didn’t liked her and was in fact surprised when I suggested that we get together this year. I was truly shocked; how could she think that? I really liked and respected her and thought our initial connection was positive.
She said that I was “aloof” when we first met. She thought that I would be bubbly and talkative and I didn’t meet her expectations. Her feelings were hurt because she assumed that I was that way with other people. My husband, who was there during this conversation, assured her that I was excited to meet her because I told him so. He also told her that my aloofness had nothing to do with her because I was like that with everybody.
Now wait a minute! I was not happy to be called aloof by her or my husband. I am not aloof; I am friendly and warm and welcoming….Oh wait. Maybe not so much. Not with strangers anyway. I do not gush or speak small talk. I like to think that I fall somewhere between a “what’s up” head nod and a big bear hug. Is that aloof?
My husband is the opposite; he is your best friend as soon as he meets you. He’s a hugger and a small-talker. He feels like he has to prep me when we are going to an event with strangers, “Now Honey, try to be nice and smile.” I do smile and I am nice, I’m not just your instant best friend.
I’m not shy and I’m not reserved. I’m more of a it’s-nice-to-meet-you-but-I’m-going-to-see-how-this-plays-out-before-I-invest-too-much-time-and-energy-into-this-relationship kind of person. But with people I know? I am warm and loving and really you could not find a better friend. When I give a hug, it’s for real. It just takes me a minute to get there.
So maybe I can be a tad aloof with people I don’t know. I apologized to my blogger-friend because despite my personality quirks, I would never want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The funny thing is, she admitted that she has the same personality as me and because of that, she was looking at me to initiate the friendly hellos. So it was not that I projected myself to be different, she wanted me to be.
The next time I’m at a conference I’ll “try to be nice and smile.” That aloof woman sitting next to me just might need it.