Have you ever drawn up a conclusion of someone you have never met based on what others have said about them? I’m sure you have… everyone has at some point in their lives. Especially in grade school. “Ugh! That new girl is such a slut! I heard blah blah blah blah about her!” Gossip and rumors.. childish shit. Yet first impressions are always such an important thing it can really distort your view of someone whether you mean to or not.
In the 7th grade a new girl arrived at our school. Her name was Shannon. I remember she had a mouth full of metal, wore bright red lipstick , her hair curly and pulled back in a barrette . Almost to the day that Shannon started there the rumor mill (aka the henhouse of popular girls that didn’t have anything else better to do than start up drama) started in on her. There was rumors flying everywhere as to WHY she had started at her school (she was pregnant? Runaway? She was kicked out of her old school? She had MONO?) every single possibility flowed from lips to ear of the kids in my class. Whether it was true or not, her ‘reputation’ at my school was ruined before she got to say hello to anyone. Kids whispered behind her back while she walked around with a bright smile just as friendly as she could be to everyone. Eventually she must have caught wind of what people were saying about her, but back when I was growing up there wasn’t any Jerry Springer style smack downs out on the playground, so she held her tongue. She had a small group of friends that she hung out with (the ‘outcasts’ as dubbed by the henhouse) Now that I look back on it, Shannon didn’t last at my school for very long… I wonder what happened to her.
Once you graduate and leave school that same hen house mentality follows you out into the adult world. In work places people tend to form cliques and that can either make or break YOUR future in that company if you don’t measure up. I’m sure everyone has been given the run down on the employees to watch out for on a first day of a new job. “So and so is trouble! He/she lies! don’t trust so and so!” I started one job and felt so threatened by a fellow employee that I hadn’t even met yet because of my co workers who wanted to warn me about how awful they were. Funny thing is, after I did meet this person we became quite close friends with over time. They weren’t as evil as everyone made them out to be… it was just that typical drama llama bullshit Gossip, rumors. I’ve been on all sides of the spectrum with that. I’ve lead, followed and been ‘voted off the island’ because I just wasn’t good enough.
Through the years I’ve become more reserved around people. I used to be very outgoing and social, wanting to join in on team building events, social gatherings, etc. Nowadays I’d rather just do my job and go home, distancing myself from the drama. Many mistake it for being angry or aloof when I sit quietly. I’ve lost count of the times people judge the look on my face as something bad when all I am doing is trying to stay in the background (“Geez! Look at your face! *horrified look*). I used to try to explain to people that’s just how I am but I’ve since given up. Those that care enough to get to know me KNOW the real me. It’s like most people would rather just rely on their own opinions of you rather than trying to get to know who you are. It’s that which is making this world a very very unhappy place.. 😦
This topic came to mind lately when someone new arrived where I work. This person has had daggers for me from day one and I have no idea why. I know gossip (especially amongst an office full of females) runs rampant everywhere and I’m sure since I have developed the title of ‘angry aloof’ that conclusions are being assumed that I’m not a nice person. I’ve overheard everyone talking about everyone so that doesn’t surprise me.. what bothers me is it feels like I was the topic in a ‘watch out for this person’ discussion. Part of me wanted to take this person aside in the beginning to try to find out why I’m being treated like I have a horn growing out of the center of my forehead. Getting all of this out of my brain and onto these pages though, I’ve decided that it’s not worth my time. People nowadays are going to think exactly what they want to. You can’t please everyone in this life and so it’s more important to focus on those that DO appreciate you for who you are.
Bottom line.. to hell with them, it’s their loss.