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I Told You So

January 4, 2010

Yesterday I came to the sad conclusion that I am a terrible judge of character.  For years my brother has been telling me that I need to open my eyes and see that most people only care about themselves.  He constantly lectures me that most of the human species is inherently selfish and most people have no problem taking advantage of others.  I can’t remember how many times he’s lectured me about the fine line between believing the best in people and being naive.  Grow a thick skin, he always says.  Stop worrying about what someone thinks about you, he insists.  Look out for yourself first and others second. 

I’ve always countered that I don’t like to make snap judgments about people.  Instead I like to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me otherwise.  I cannot be mean to someone just because I think they are going to be mean back.  I physically cannot do it.  But as a result many people do end up taking advantage of my trusting nature and have no problem doing so and walking away with no regrets.  And when they do my brother simply shakes his head and says, “I told you so.”  Usually followed by, “When will you learn?”

I think I’ve finally learned.

Last night I found out that someone I have known for more than a year is actually a completely different person that I thought he was.   The gist of it is that this person promised me something and completely reneged on his word.  Actually, he not only went back on his word but he did it in a mean, vicious way.  Remember when you were a kid and you gifted someone one of your toys but then thought better of it and took it back a few minutes later?  Well that is exactly what happened.  He owed me something, gave it to me, and then took it back.  Talk about harsh.

I am not confrontational by nature so it took me a long time to work up the nerve to email this person to find out what exactly happened.  That was when he turned the entire situation on me and made it my fault!  I was so shocked that I literally stared at the email he sent for a good 10 minutes before it finally sunk in that he wasn’t kidding around. 

This has been consuming me for the better part of 24 hours.  Ridiculous, I know.  Why do I let people and their actions affect me so much?  Ali and Maya tried to make me feel better but it was one of those things where you just have to keep dwelling on the situation until you can’t dwell on it anymore.  And dwell I did.  I couldn’t sleep last night because I kept vacillating between being very hurt and extremely angry.  I think what bothered me the most about the whole thing was that for an entire year I thought this person and I had a great relationship.  We chatted, joked around, and learned from each other.  Or so I thought.  Despite other people warning me about his character flaws, I believed that this person had only good intentions and I defended him relentlessly.  So it was like a slap in the face to learn that the whole year was just one big joke and our relationship, or the relationship that I believe existed, was really only a figment of my imagination.  I am not only angry about what happened but I am even angrier about the fact that I now feel like a complete idiot for being on his side all this time.

Naturally I called my mother today for advice.  I mean really, who else knows you better than your mom?  She told me that I am who I am and I can’t change that.  So if that means that I believe the best in people and they prove me wrong, so be it.  But I will never think like my brother, even if he is right, because it just isn’t in me.  She also told me that it is better to be the person being hurt rather than the one who hurts, no matter what the consequences.  And she is absolutely right.  I’ve written before about how I have a problem with feeling guilty about everything as it is so I doubt I could live with intentionally hurting someone.

So that was yesterday’s drama and I am trying to move past it.  Of course I am still thinking about what happened and it is still driving me nuts, but I’ve had some time to reflect and I know I have to move on before I drive myself crazy.  So I must ask all of you: Are you able to determine what someone is like the minute you meet them?  Or do you take your time before you develop an opinion?  Do you consider yourself a good judge of character?

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2010 8:04 pm

    I have to say I am more like your brother- only because of experiences like the one you just had.

    I am really sorry this happened-its kinda like a bad breakup 😦

    You will feel better in your own time and hopefully blogging about it did help.

  2. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce permalink
    January 4, 2010 9:37 pm

    i’m sorry to hear that you were let down by someone in your life yesterday, that is so disheartening! i don’t think you need to take on such a jaded outlook as your brother, but there is some truth to what he says. i do believe people are inherently good though, as evidenced by the random dude at the farmer’s market who flagged me down to tell me i had left my wallet on top of a crate of lemons (ahh! where was my brain?!) but anyway, hope you feel better soon!

  3. traynharder23 permalink
    January 4, 2010 9:38 pm

    i’m so sorry. that happened to me awhile ago- check my archives. i thought that people were my friends but they really weren’t. extremely lame.
    i trust very easily. i give my friendship very easily. thus, i get hurt VERY easily. someone i thought that was a friend actually turned on me and personally attacked me and how i did my job ( it was a coworker.) i’m sorry and here’s a HUG

    • January 5, 2010 8:23 am

      Thanks for your kind words…mine was actually work related too…just didn’t want to blog that little detail! Never know who might be reading.

      I trust too easily as well so I know exactly what you mean.

      Hope you have a great day today!

      Ameena

  4. January 4, 2010 9:56 pm

    It’s entirely human to pre-judge people the instant you meet them– I think it’s not possible to ever fully “get” what someone else is about, given that they are, well, not you.

    Our brains are amazing, but they’re amazingly feeble too. That’s why I think we prefer to give people static titles and characters– but in reality people are dynamic and multiple-faceted.

    What I’m getting at, is that perhaps you were not all wrong in your judgment of this person. Perhaps you got some parts miscalculated. In which case you have a right to be angry and hurt, because you were also moat likely misled.

    I’m sure your mind will make a note for the future. In the meantime, you have your life, healt and family to cheer to!

  5. January 4, 2010 10:01 pm

    oh boy Ameena, could you and I drink gallon of tea and talk about this one.

    Sounds to me like this person didn’t like you calling him on his broken promise and created a crazy tree. I have a very first hand experience with the uglier side of humanity and it’s an education I wish I didn’t have but am a lot more wary of people now. I don’t trust easily because of it but, like you, I am “nice” by nature and caring and giving. I just have learned to keep an eye out for the “do as I say and no as I do’ers”
    it’s helped

    big hug to you m’Sweet!
    xo
    OH and I am a FIRM beleiver in KARMA. you reap what you sow!
    it’ll bite him in the butt someday! always does.

  6. January 5, 2010 4:49 am

    I’m sorry this happened to you, hun. It’s always the worst to be let down by people you thought were close to you and cared about you. It’s hard to be a good judge of character because people rarely show their true selves; so many put up a mask and an act. Maybe it’s because the world we live in is harsher than not, and people would rather be the one’s hurting others than being hurt themselves.

    I’m sweet and caring by nature, but too many experiences like the one you’ve just had have taught me not to give out my trust too easily. I’ll never hurt another person straight out, but it takes me a while before I feel comfortable enough letting someone in.

  7. January 5, 2010 5:34 am

    Wow, this is a great post. Judge of character? No. I don’t think I am. I find I am judged and stereotyped a lot…and I probably do the same to others. Your situation though…dwelling…don’t I know about that…I have been so shocked at the way someone in my life has treated me and with no acknowledgement of it…they act like they are the “victim” when they don’t even understand what I have been through and going through. It hurts…it angers me…but more so it shocks me…just can’t believe such people who are so selfish and self-centered exist in the world.

  8. January 5, 2010 6:54 am

    It’s always hard to lose a friend. Very similar to a break-up and sometimes harder. I’m sorry you have to go through this and someone would take advantage of your trust. Maybe this is for the best. You don’t need people like that in your life.

  9. Danielle permalink
    January 5, 2010 7:17 am

    I’m sorry this happened to you 😦 But I’m so glad you said that even given the circumstances, you won’t change the way you think. It’s so sad when good-hearted people get discouraged when the world starts throwing stones at them. I think it’s admirable that you want to see the good in people. I always take my time to evaluate a person before letting my guard down

  10. January 5, 2010 8:03 am

    Sorry to hear about your frustration. I recently went through sort of a similar situation.. I am also starting to learn that I need to be less trusting of people.. I hate to actually say it like that. I have also learned that as much as it hurts to lose a friend, it is better sooner than later specially when they are not honest.

  11. whydeprive permalink
    January 5, 2010 8:35 am

    Aw, Im so sorry this guy let you down. Sometimes people just arent who we thought they were.
    I dont know if Im a good judge of character or not. There are some people I meet and just dont like them. There wont even be a reason, its just a feeling I get. I think trying to see the good in people is wonderful. I wish I was better at it!

  12. January 5, 2010 10:00 am

    aaww sweetie! So sorry this has happened to you! It totally stinks when you trust someone and they let you down. I tend to always see the good in people and am overly trusting. Its just my nature too. I tend to judge people in a positive way. But sometimes that can bite you. I havent changed though and never will…its just my personality. So keep your head up high girl. It will be ok. If he did something crappy then thats his problem. Karma! I hope you have a better day!!! Take care!

  13. January 5, 2010 11:15 am

    So, so sorry that you had a friend turn on you like that! It’s the worst feeling in the world, and it’s perfectly normal to be upset over it. I can remember one close friend who turned on me in my freshman year of college, and it really stung for a long time.

    (p.s. thanks for the kind comments on my blog. But I have to say, your photography is awesome! I’m in love with your picture taking skills. 😀 )

  14. louisianagrown permalink
    January 5, 2010 12:40 pm

    A person that I have been friends with for a LONG time just did something like this to me. I knew she was a bad friend, and all of our other friends know it to, but she has those little shining moments that make us stick with her.

    DO NOT let this harden you. For every person that has done something like this to you, how many people HAVEN’T? No offense to your brother, but no one like a cynic. Keep your positive attitude about people; it will get you far in life.

  15. erintakescontrol permalink
    January 5, 2010 1:45 pm

    I try not to dwell on first impressions as a total judge of character, but I do sometimes look back on those experiences when needed. I try to observe people closely when I’m interacting with them. Do repeat conversations about a certain topic match previous conversations? Are details of their life consistent with my observations? Dealing with so-called friends can be challenging, and I hope you can pull through this without *too much* worry and stress!

  16. January 5, 2010 1:46 pm

    I’ve never read your blog and I come into a very thought-provoking post! Love it.

    I find I am somewhere in the middle of your view and your brothers view. Which, in my opinion, is the best place to be.

    I also second what louisianagrown said…dont let this harden you. It sounds like you have a wonderful character and there needs to be more people in the world like you.

  17. January 5, 2010 4:44 pm

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I tend to be an in-between of you and your brother. I want to give everyone a chance, but make fast judgments, and am usually a pretty good call. I try to get all of those nasty people out of my life. We have the nicest neighbors who were trying to get us to be friends with another set of neighbors who are just bad people. We couldn’t understand it. Maybe they didn’t want to give up. I think it important to give people a chance, but closely evaluate the relationship.

  18. January 5, 2010 5:02 pm

    Aw, I’m so sorry you were let down! My husband always tells me I’m like that, too – but I’ve learned that as much as awful as it feels to be let down and hurt, I’d rather give people the benefit of the doubt, until they prove me wrong. I just need to make sure that I don’t let people walk all over me.

    Hang in there!

  19. January 5, 2010 5:52 pm

    Personally, I have to say that most of the people who have ended up being my best friends are ones who I did not have very good first impressions/internal judgments about whereas a lot of the people I “immediately” became friends with ended up being a lot different. I think it takes a while to figure people out since we’re so complex- sometimes years, sometimes you never truly know a person. Don’t beat yourself up over this- it is not your fault that this happened, and as unfortunate it is, perhaps it’s good because you know see the real person this guy is!
    Like some of your other lovely commenters said, hang in there 🙂

  20. Kate permalink
    January 5, 2010 5:58 pm

    i think i do a decent job of judging character. i usually give people the benefit of the doubt and give them some time. i refuse to beleive that people would intentionally do wrong. i just can’t live like that. maybe this makes me naive, but whatever. i just dont want to be like that.

    great post!

  21. January 5, 2010 6:04 pm

    wow… I hate that this happened to you. I feel that i’m naturally suspicious and think people will do the worst oftentimes, but yet, I can’t help but be nice. I get burned a lot. Ask my mother! haha This really did ring true and yes, your mother knows you best, and yes you CAN’T and SHOULDN’T change who you are just because mean people suck. Hang in there and take care, girl! I’m thinking about you – I know how disappointed you must be. boo.

  22. January 5, 2010 6:26 pm

    I tend to make snap judgements, but have usually been right on.

    *Check out my Nature’s Gate lotion giveaway @ monicaonthego.com*

  23. January 5, 2010 7:10 pm

    Who could treat such a sweet person like yourself this way? I am so sorry to hear this! I would be the same way – laying awake thinking it over and over again.

    I guess if you look at it like something better is always to come out of something negative, you can be excited for that?

    I wish you all the luck!

    XXOO

  24. January 5, 2010 7:34 pm

    That just plain sucks. 😦 Glad you have a supportive family to help you through.

  25. January 5, 2010 9:33 pm

    Oh Ameena, I’m so sorry. I understand the hurt and disillusionment you feel right now. It sucks, because it’s not just a betrayal by someone you trusted, but a dejection in the nature of the human being.

    But…In my experience, it is still better to be trusting, than to be always suspicious and cynical. I guess we just gotta build a tough skin, and be able to stand such disappointments…but at the same time, don’t label everyone as selfish and self-motivated, because you might be losing a precious relationship because of that, and that kind of negativity will only poison your mind and your relationships with people.

  26. January 6, 2010 5:05 am

    Hey sweetie! I totally get you. I’m the same way. I am WAYYY more the optimist when it comes to people than my husband. He sees the “true” side of people immediately. He has this gift of discernment that I just do not see. I have rose colored glasses on.

    BUT with that said…I feel like I’m a much happier person because of it. Sure I may get hurt from time to time. But that’s a risk I’m willing to take so that I don’t miss out on other opportunities with people that I’d be missing otherwise!

    Chin up friend. You know who your true friends are!

  27. Priyanka permalink
    January 6, 2010 6:03 am

    I am really sorry you feel this way. I am not a good judge of character but I am naturally a very un-trusting person. I can never completely trust anyone except my husband,parents and brother. I take my time to form opinions about somebody.

    Although I feel really bad that you are hurt, as your Mom rightly said at least you are not the one who is doing anyone any wrong. Not the best position to be in, but guilt will not consume you.

    Don’t be disheartened and think about it too much!

  28. January 7, 2010 1:42 am

    Hey Ameena, I love your mom. She’s just the best advice giver – I wish I could meet her.

    I am the worst judge of character. I don’t see the obvious signs of flaws. And invariably get bitten.

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