When I first saw the suggestion for the topic of ‘face value’ suggested by Posy Churchgate for Food for Thought Friday, I instantly wanted to go for it. While I fully accept that many of us have hidden depths and aspects of our personality we don’t share with everyone we come into contact with, I think overall I am a big believer in taking people at face value.
When I first met Bakji he had some pretty stringent views on relationships and monogamy. I have known many, many people in my time who would have assumed he had just been hurt and certainly he would soften in his views once he ‘met the right women’. When he spoke though I listened to what he said and instead of hearing what I wanted to, or assuming there were hidden depths to his words I took his beliefs at face value and proceeded accordingly in terms of my own expectations of any ongoing dynamic between us.
Has he softened on his outlook? His actions would probably say yes, but his mindset definitely says no and I have never expected him to deviate from his beliefs when it comes to relationships. At the same time, I do expect him to be completely upfront about his intentions, expectations and desires. Purely because I won’t read between the lines or find hidden meaning in his words, so he needs to say what he means and mean what he says.
I take this approach with pretty much everyone in my life. While I fully accept that people sometimes have things going on being the scenes that can affect their behaviour, overall I think we are what we are. Someone who seems like a total douchebag all the time is unlikely to suddenly turn round and be my new best friend.
This doesn’t mean I’m not willing to be proven wrong though. The only time this ever really happens though is when I’m on the fence about someone. When I can’t figure out if they just don’t like me or if I haven’t quite got the measure of their personality yet. It’s times like those when people can surprise me. The times when I’ve had a pretty fixed idea about what someone is likely it’s very rare they turn around and surprise me.
A long while back now someone started mingling in a group I was part of it. I knew she had been in correspondence with someone I knew and the first time we were at the same event I was unable to chat to her. Afterwards, I messaged her, extending the hand of friendship, being full Floss all the while feeling a little unsettled about her attitude. While she did reply she ignored me at virtually every other event I ever saw her at. When we were in the same conversation she never looked at me or attempted to engage with me. I heard on the grapevine that she thought I was intimidating and it was suggested by a mutual friend that if I made (another) first move then all would be well.
I made that first move, knowing in my gut she either just didn’t like me or thought I had ulterior motives for being nice to her. She completely shut me down and made it very clear that she did not want to converse with me. In situations like that my gut is rarely wrong and the face value I get from people is usually spot on. I’ve been burned a few times in terms of being convinced there’s more to someone than meets the eye, so now I am very reluctant to be persuaded by other people that their gut instinct is better than mine.
My period of time for assessing these things isn’t instant. On many occasions, I have reserved judgment because I just didn’t feel like enough conversations had been had, or perhaps the situations I met someone in was too awkward or busy to make vast decisions on whether or not they were awesome. In real life, it usually doesn’t take long for conclusions to be drawn. In internet land, it’s a little trickier.
Again I take most fellow bloggers at face value. We’re putting ourselves out there in fairly intimate ways, whether that’s with words or photos and I think that tends to give you a fair idea of what folks are about. There are some instances though where I am utterly baffled as to what the deal is with some people.
There are at least half a dozen bloggers who I have zero interactions with despite actively trying to engage with them because I thought they’d shared some great posts, be they wordy or visual. Now when I say zero interaction, I mean zero! Not so much as a polite like on Twitter or a briefs ‘thanks’ in response to compliment. This wouldn’t strike me as odd apart from the fact they can be seen to be replying to lots of other folks in much more in-depth ways.
In these situations I’m left wondering if a) they just don’t like me b) think my blog is a pile of shit c) I’ve written something to offend them or d) they just hate my face! When they seem on the face of it like cool people with similar interest to me I am just left wondering what the hell it is about me they see and can’t get on board with.
However, we can’t like everyone and everyone can’t like us. So perhaps I just have to take things like that in my stride and put those folks in the ‘who knows’ pile. Maybe they’re great, maybe they’re really not and maybe I’ll never actually find out!
In terms of the face value of Floss, well if you like me from reading the blog or listening to the podcast then you’d like me in real life. My blog, the podcast, my Twitter it’s all me. I present myself exactly as I am. Sometimes I’m super productive and highly responsive, sometimes I’m in a slump and a bit A.W.O.L, always though my heart is filled with warm and positive thoughts for the folks I enjoy in life and that includes my beautiful blogging pals.
I far from perfect and I do on occasion love a bloody good rant! I’m sometimes quick-tempered and have my moments of supreme grumpiness. I win people over with a generally kind disposition and willingness to fill their bellies with yummy food! Bakji often says I’m laid back and non-judgemental and I suppose they’re qualities that folks like too.
Whether it’s on the blog or at work, I don’t pretend to be something I’m not and I suppose I approach people as if they do the same. If it turns out they were a big faker then so be it, but in those situations, I always think they were the party in the wrong and I’d rather take people at face value than live my life being suspicious of everyone or trying to get folks to show me a side of them that may not even exist.