While surfing the Web I will sometimes get a notification from my Web Browser telling me that I’m “attempting to access an untrusted site. Do you want to proceed?” At that moment I’m faced with a dilemma: Do I heed the warning and click “No“, or do I click “Yes” and hope that nothing maliscious happens to my software and/or computer harddrive in the process?
This is especially troubling when you’re accessing a site for the first time and you’re really not sure what you’re getting yourself into. On the one hand, if its a site that comes highly recommended by someone you really trust, than clicking on “Yes” really isn’t that much of a dilemma. On the other hand, if you have doubts and reservations about clicking on “Yes” because the referral was from someone you don’t know well or who is of questionable character you’re better off saying “No” and getting more information.
What I wouldn’t give for a “Trusted Relationships Alert” every time someone new comes into my life or some long lost friend from my forgettable past re-emerges and wants to be my friend. Or at the very least, on of those Easy Buttons from Staples How many headaches, heartaches and bouts with heartburn could you have saved yourself if you had something attached to your brain that automatically triggered an alert?
Some of you might ask, “But Seti, how many important lessons have you learned from those (failed) relationships?”
You mean, the ones where I’ve invested way too much time and energy only to be disappointed, disheartened and disenfranchised with the whole notion of cultivating relationships? Or do you mean the ones where I try to please someone even though I’m already getting the vibe that I don’t like them or they don’t like me (which is most often the case)?
Eh, I could have used that time to read a crime novel, or ride a roller coaster or kick a cat. After all, those are some of the same emotions and feelings you encounter when trying to cultivate a relationship with another human being.
My mom taught me to observe those ancient, time-honored and time-tested values most mom’s who aren’t crack addicts teach their children: 1) Be kind to everyone; 2) If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all; and 3) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
All fine and dandy until you run into that one dude who just gets under your skin and refuses to leave until he has left a scar on your soul that you can’t get rid of with a hot iron or a biopsy.
Don’t get me wrong, as far as I can tell (a huge margin for error here), I’ve been pretty successful at making friends and lasting relationships over the years. But sometimes my internal relationship meter can’t compute whether or not I should let down my guard and let someone in who may potentially harm me or worse, harm the people I love.
So rather than risk it, I’ve developed my own relationship litmus test. I won’t bore you with the details but simply stated, if you pass the test, I take the time to comment on your attire, ask about your family and invite you to have a cup of koko Samoa with me as I ask you more detailed questions about your life, your wife and children and the type of people who have made you the person you are today. Total time spent: Open/TBD.
If you fail, I’ll still smile at you, say hello and then disengage myself from the conversation by wishing you a good day/night before making my leave. Total time spent: 10 seconds max.
Potentional follow-up posts: 1) How you can get beyond a 10 Second Conversation with me; 2) Why our friendship doesn’t work; 3) A Needy Friend is a Former Friend.