It might take a little while to like you

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What are first impressions comprised of? What cements an impression, or turns it on a dime? What forges an instant camraderie, what creates an illusion of uncertainty?

I don’t know. I know these questions hold a certain fascination, particularly online.

Cus essentially, when it comes to a ‘blog’ first impression, you’re physically/mentally/emotionally reacting to a digital presentation of selective thoughts or graphics. You’re reacting to what a specific brain chooses to reveal of itself.

In real life, and this is just me, but in real life I have an unreasonable bias toward people I already know. Those who have won my affections can take rather freakish liberties and still find me in their corner. But to strangers? I am squinty-eyed and horribly unfair. In fact, I’m not unlike Cleveland Armory’s cat Polar Bear who thinks the number of people he knows is exactly the right number of people, and adding more to that number is excessive and very possibly dangerous.

New people, for the most part, arouse in me suspicion. For example, my daughter’s school teachers: It takes a teacher about 7 months to convince me that he or she is actually a good educator with my daughter’s best interests in mind, and not a slacker or a cruel, busy-work demon just clocking in wearily till that blessed day that they can retire and move to Florida. By the time I’ve given one of her teachers my stamp of approval, it’s usually only a few weeks till the school year is over with, and then I go through the process of borderline hostile skepticism all over again.

Is it merely a trust issue?

Maybe, but I’m not really sure, because I’m not very consistent. Every once in awhile I meet someone whom I take an immediate and senseless shine to. This can be anyone at all, from a stranger on the street, to someone’s great Uncle Marvin visiting from Chicago. It’s like lightning strikes, it can happen anywhere: Random Like.

What about here on the net, though?

There are people over there to the right, on the blogroll, that I loved that way, immediately. There are some whose words please me to such a degree that I require no reciprocation, no acknowledgment whatsoever in order to remain a loyal reader, a die-hard fan. Others won a place in my attention over a period of weeks, a slow building trust and admiration.

And there are some that I would eject without a moment’s hesitation if I sensed the slightest hostility or underlying agenda in our exchange.

There really isn’t a definite reason why. I mean, not a consistent one. There’s no particular trait, no font that strikes my eye as more trustworthy, no reason maybe to value this person’s time and attention more than another’s. It’s just one of those crazy things.

So the constant is that there aren’t any constants. I might take things differently coming from a man or a woman (but you can blame the culture for that one). I might, have, and would again forgive someone with whom I’ve suffered online misunderstandings, simply because their devotion to me or my words seems completely sincere.

There’s another who despite many signs of good will and inter-blog communication, I’m still convinced on some basic level that we do not and probably will never genuinely like each other.

And there’s at least one that may or may not like me, but I like them insensibly and will probably continue to hang around in dopey, indefatigable good cheer until the day they say, “Um, fuck off, do” in no uncertain terms.

It’s fascinating how these impressions develop, how we build relationships, whole exchanges, dramas and friendships that are at least 75% percent internal, arising from reactions in our heads.

New people have been dropping by lately. Most of them I recognize from the blog of someone I wasn’t sure of right at first but came to like, and truly admire very, very much. It’s nice to see new faces, though I hafta soothe my inner Polar Bear who is at least a little freaked out by signs of change.

Like any egotistical biped, I tend to think my own overtures more likely to net good weebles, but I’ve been repeatedly, agonizingly wrong. It’s a surprise and a delight to be so thwarted, and real writery relationships will hopefully ensue. Just understand, it might take a little while to like you.

But I’ll really like you, once I do.

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21 thoughts on “It might take a little while to like you

  1. I’ve wondered about how we figure how who we like as well. My own theory (though this doesn’t apply quite as well to virtual relationships) is that you kind of make up reasons after the fact. Sure they are funny or smart or hot but so are millions of people you don’t like. And then you can end up having close friends with only the two of you being the common element. Why the hell does that work?

  2. I was reading it carefully to try to figure out which category do I belong in, haha, I don’t care I will continue to come here to read your writings cos of the writings not because of the relationshshfjhthingy. I was reading somewhere that a big study was done on social networking sites and they discovered that just like in real life people can only sustain about five genuine relatidouifgshipthingys and all the rest is just g’day how’s it going. But then again, you are special,

  3. I think I’m feeling distinctly paranoid about one of the lines here ;) …..but this was all very well said. You know I’ve known people for years, in real life, and I don’t get as intimate a glimpse into their heads as I do in one read of a page here or there GRIN……it all depends on how good a writer you are and how good at sharing :) . I got slammed last week for referring to online people as friends, well okay it’s a loose term in most cases, though not in all, but I stand every day and chat to women who know me pretty well and who I socialise with but they don’t write, don’t read much, aren’t interested in the arts, so I need people like you and others for that……..thanks be for blogging and cool bloggers :)

  4. Interesting subject. I’ve often wondered what draws us to some blogs/bloggers and not to others.

    I’m the same way about adding new friends to my life. But I’m glad I get past that discomfort with change and allow new people into my life. It enhances my experiences on this planet, getting to know new people.

    And allows me to “meet” brilliant writers like yourself. :)

  5. Yes, what is it that draws us virtually? Interestingly I was led here thanks to one of my August mom friends who simply loved your name and ended up highlighting a post of yours. Turns out that was by way of Robin. So I wandered over (ha ha, such a clever tie in eh?) and really did stop and enjoy myself. I love your creativity – am jealous of it really as I am such a typical dry accountant that it’s pathetic.

    I need to add more male voices to my blogroll. I only have about 5 right now. For some reason I am much pickier about them.

  6. Oh man, am I ever paranoid now. I know I suck as a friend. I even suck as an acquaintance, just circling around my own navel when I’m not sleeping the days away. I’m surprised and deeply touched that anyone still has me on their blogroll, though I can’t help but notice I’m just a hairline away from falling right off yours. Does it make it ok if I tell you the only person I visit with any regularity is my mother? I’m shutting up now and going back into my cave. It’s all paranoia talking.

  7. I woke up really late, hard night. I probably didn’t write this post very well, if it makes people paranoid.

    The negative example, actually that person is not on my blogroll. I think we both tried really hard to bridge the gaps but there was too much stuff that happened and… well. No one who reads and comments here should think I’m hinting that I dislike them secretly. It’s not the case. Usually feelings like that, that ‘off’ feeling is two sided, in my experience.

    Smiler- Don’t be paranoid, people on the bottom are no more likely to be executed than people on the top. My groupings are kind of an organizational way of knowing who to visit when. Bad beat are kind of my relief group in a way, because those tend not to visit me more than once a week or two so I kinda know how to alot my time reciprocally. I probably shouldn’t even say that, but it’s hard to know how to parcel out blog visiting time. I get overwhelmed.

    Christina- You say that, but I don’t ever get that impression visiting your blog, that you are typical or dry. And accounting! I couldn’t do it, because I don’t have the number mind or the discipline, but don’t you buy into the stereotype. I’ve seen your vivid flower pictures, your passionate posts about issues you care about. Dry and typical? No, trees flowers birds, dammit! Vivid and passionate.

    (Thanks for the kind words :)

    Robin- I’ve sort of been witness to you blogging as long as I’ve been blogging, and it is kinda fascinating. I think it’s amazing how you keep such good relationships with such a wide range of people and they stick. In comparison my list has been a lot more volatile. I don’t have near the gift of maintaining relationships, and have had falling outs with several, and drifted apart from many others. You’re kind of like an anchor in the blog community. I don’t know how you manage. It’s kind of amazing.

    jo- I know exactly what you mean, writers sometimes ‘get’ things no one in my daily life can. And I do count people that I spend a significant amount of time with willingly as friends. It might be a different kind of friendship, but I don’t like someone less or feel less sensitive to their merits simply because they’re online instead of in ‘real time’.

    Paul- I guess the temptation to do that is kind of irresistable, huh? You are the tigger in my hundred acre woods. I hope that doesn’t look like some sordid metaphor. You are though, best when playful, always bouncing about, hard to fathom, easy to enjoy. That’s where you fit in.

    aos- I don’t know, maybe. And you might be right, but I’d also say that doesn’t explain why you’d keep an online friend. Why you’d go the extra mile or try to understand someone who isn’t part of your every day life when there are so many others who could stand in their stead. I know that once I get to know people somewhat, they aren’t interchangeable. Some of them I couldn’t bear to have upset with me, others… y’know… I survive just fine even if they do something awful and tell me the truth.

    Cus that’s always what rankles the most. People who don’t like you for legitimate reasons.

    Hard to rationalize that away.

  8. it’s odd how i appeared on your blogroll, and i have no recollection of Random Like from this blue skinned belly dancer knocking on my door. pray kiss and tell?

  9. I’m a horrible net friend! I know it. For as long as I’ve had a presence on the web I’ve had these waves of activity. Since January I’ve been in a low spot. My life has been filled with real life sorts of things that pull me away from my laptop and my mind just hasn’t allowed me to put thoughts together in the form of writing a post. I have all of these thoughts that wander around and go in and out and never put themselves together. It’s just me and it’s just how I am. I’m the same way in real life. I’ve never been able to maintain real life friendships with high maintenance friends because I’m low maintenance. My best friend and I go months without even talking.

    As far as who we like. I respect people that I might not necessarily like. I like people that might not like me. I’m fluid. I want to be liked and accepted but I don’t have the energy to maintain that with some people.

  10. I have always found it takes about three years to firmly cement a friendship in the reality show of life. That has been consistent in every new place we have moved. Is that just me? Am I too wary?

    Well, not so online. I fell madly in like with you from the first blog visit. Your writing talent, your ability to express your deepest thoughts blew me away–and still does. Only a few people in life have had such an immediate impact on first contact. I’m happy to say they all developed into dear friends and are so special I can’t believe my luck.

    I’m almost ashamed to realize how many men’s blogs I connect to. These guys are just so darn cool, crazy, intelligent, and interesting I must know what they are saying next.

    I think the key to our online connections is that we connect in such viseral ways we so often don’t with those we watch the Super Bowl with. We need both kinds.

    Good topic. You really made me think. That’s a good thing. :-)

  11. Chuck Full O’Blog is honored to receive your online approval.

    Now…I just hope we never run into each other in a bar after I’ve had 4 Sparks and multiple swigs from Lil’ Gibraltar. That first impression would most likely elicit a mixture of disgust and fright.

    Great writing…I really enjoy it.

  12. There is no question that I think I understand what I thought you meant, but when I re-examined, I realized that what you said may not be what you thought you meant, so am I being too quick in assessing my understanding of what I interpret to be what I thought you thought you meant.

  13. It’s weird how I have these blogs that I find, for whatever reason, and I’m instantly in love, and I want to read all all all…and then I lose interest after awhile. Or, in a few cases, they’ve written something that made me realize that I disagree with them on something pretty fundamental, and I try to discuss it, because if you post something aren’t you asking for some discussion, not just, “Yes, yes, me too!” and then they get angry and defensive and that’s the end of that, because it colors the way I read their blog from then on.

    Hmmm. That was long and protracted and hasn’t happened too often. But still.

  14. aefial- maybe it’s serendipity…

    I ran across you accidentally, and liked the way you put language together.

    Bob- Buy me a pony.

    Chuck- But oh, how memorable it would be! You guys have got some funny stuff goin’ on over there.

    anhinga- We’re not so very different, then. You know, it’s interesting you should mention the gender thing. When I first started blogging I had way more men than women contacts. Now it seems to be rather equalled out. I think it’s sometimes faster to spark from the get go with the opposite sex, but when I find like-minded, awesome women writers, those usually end up being enduring contacts, where the novelty of some of the others can wear off quickly. (it’s a mutual thing, that madly in like bit) ;)

    J- I do the same thing, it’s hard to maintain the attentiveness to the blog world in general, sometimes. Which is probably a good thing. When spring started poking its head out around here, I found it hard to keep up with reading.

    But I come back to my favorites. I always come back.

  15. You are so good at talking about these relationship things that we all can relate to. It’s fascinating to me, how trust and gut transcend the internet, or rather, work similarly in the blogosphere as they do in person. I mean, they probably work differently, but the end result is the same. At least for me. And now that I write that, I realize that writing is probably even telling than talking; thus, it might even be easier to intuit in blogworld than in real world.

  16. Thanks for taking the time to explain. I certainly understand about the time parceling on different blogs. I worked out my overwhelmness (not a word, I know) by just… not doing anything about it. So basically, I know my mom is #1 and everyone else is #2, with the occasional #3’s which are nobody you know. I just don’t want to turn it into a chore of who I should visit how often and on what days. That’s a surefire way to turn me off blogging for good. But that’s ok. I’ve always been that little bee buzzing just outside of that area where all the other bees congregate. Too busy daydreaming to realize I’m off on my own over there. That being said, I always enjoy my visits here, and yours over at my place.

  17. Just saw this again in my comment tray and yes, writing is more telling than talking……..there’s no body language but to counter that there’s how people behave in commentboxes which I think says a lot, that’s more of where the sense of personality comes from. Okay, I’ll shut up now :)

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