I was talking to someone one day. Here’s what happened after the “business” talk finished:
Guy: So how’s the love life? You got something going on?
Me: Huh? Me?
Guy: Yeah, I saw you sitting with some guy by the church. I never come by ‘cuz looked like something was going on and I didn’t wanna interrupt.
Me: Oh, no, that was Minister. We get together every so often to pray; pray for the church, pray for our friends…. We don’t meet regularly but next time you see us, come join us.
Guy: Oh, okay. Yeah, I’ll come by next time. See, I didn’t know so I wanted to ask and now I know. I know I can join you guys.
Me: Definitely join us. And I truly appreciate someone asking me directly.
I really do appreciate people asking me directly questions which pertain to me. I had Trumpet in high school ask me if two of my friends were lesbians. For some reason, the answer out of my mouth was, “I don’t know. If you really wanna know, why don’t you ask them?” I don’t know where that answer came from, I hadn’t thought about it prior to speaking, but I remember that every so often to keep me from much gossip. The answer was also true; I did not know the sexual preferences of my friends and I didn’t care because it didn’t change how much I loved my friends.
A few years after high school, I found out from a gossip that those friends were lesbians. Once words are out, it’s difficult to say to someone that they shouldn’t gossip, isn’t it? But it can be so important that we do, especially if reports are wrong and/ or lacking information.
On the other side of the equation, if I want to know something, I tend to ask the person directly involved.
I have a friend who likes to mention sex quite often. She doesn’t describe sex or anything but things like how one will say “This is better than sex!” when eating a delicious chocolaty dessert. She’s married now and she’s also talked about various times that she and her husband had broken up when they were dating. I don’t know why, because it didn’t really matter to me and I don’t usually ask such questions, but I asked her if her husband is the only guy she’s had sex with. She answered my question, and then asked why I asked. I just wanted to ask so I told her that if I want to know something, I’d rather ask the person myself and that I didn’t want to simply assume what the answer might be.
Regarding myself, I’ve had friends consider me “too pure” that they wouldn’t talk about their boyfriends in front of me. I’ve had another group of friends ask and be surprised by the answer. Someone else thought that I was so pretty that I couldn’t possibly be “pure.” I thought that was odd so he said that it was because I must have had plenty opportunities to become impure.
Perceptions can be misleading. I try to be mindful that what people say about someone else might not be completely true or true at all. So even when I have an opinion of someone, I keep a door unlocked for firsthand personal experiences that allow me to see the true soul of a person.
In my junior year of high school, I met a freshman who was the younger brother of a friend. Due to being in MB together, I saw him a lot. Stinky got on a lot of people’s nerves, and surprisingly, mine too [he wasn’t stinky but I don’t remember how we came to nickname him that]. After some time, I just couldn’t stand to be in the same room as him. It’s rare that I would go out of my way to avoid someone.
Later in the year, Stinky got into some kind of tangle with some of the varsity baseball players, some of them I was friends with. They came looking for Stinky after school. When I saw him next, I remember the fear in Stinky’s eyes.
I don’t remember much after that on the day. I don’t think the varsity did anything to Stinky, that I know of. When you see someone in need, how can you not feel compassion for them? How can you not reach out to them?
Well, I couldn’t let things remain as they were between Stinky and I. My heart softened towards him. We became friends. He changed. We never talked about what happened. To this day, I can’t really speak about why it was that I couldn’t stand him before because he’s not that person anymore. When I was desperate for a prom date, Stinky was there for me. He gave me a hard time first, but he showed up in a tux, his parents’ luxury car, and we had a great time! He even danced with me.
We’re still good friends today.
I know that doesn't have much to do with asking questions, but it is about finding out stuff.
Tenor’s first impression of me was that I was stuck up. He thought I was uptight and probably boring. Then he started talking to me directly and found out that I wasn’t what he had thought at all. I give him a lot of respect for getting to know me personally. Well, I suppose he had motive to, but still….
I know some of the things that people say about me. Not all of it is true and I’d like to believe that if they took the chance to get to know me, they’d find that they’ve gained a good friend.
We can’t know what goodness is in another person. Too often we magnify the worst we think we see in others; it’s easier to do than to have grace with them. If you want enough to know about a person, spend time with them, talk directly with them.
Appearances are not everything. Sometimes things can change in an instant. Many times do we just misunderstand another person. We wonder, but what do we do about it?
Or even, we think we already know someone, even our closest friend and they can surprise us. I like waiting for the good surprises.
If you want to know something, ask.