As I addressed in my last post called “Companionship“, one of our basic needs seems to be companionship. We want to feel like others want to be with us, and we want to share our ups and downs with others. Finding a compatible mate is high priority, so much so that we are often very willing to overlook a lot of not so good traits that we shouldn’t be ignoring. When we meet someone, until we really get to know them, our brain creates an image of what we think the person is really like based on our first impressions. We see what we want to see. With any luck, we are pretty close, and maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out the person has even more good qualities than we first thought. Very often we are not though, and over time we see the things we chose to ignore, or we discover other traits that we may not like, either.
Part of the problem is that we can all choose what we want others to see, and we can be on our best behavior for a while. And then it becomes harder to maintain that, or we become more comfortable being all that we really are around that person, thinking they will not reject us if they know the good and the bad. This would be true for friendships or relationships with relatives as well. I think it is particularly true for romantic relationships though, because we often allow ourselves to be most vulnerable with those people.
So not only are we looking for more positives than may be there, but the other person may not be allowing us to see all of their shortcomings. Therefore, our first impressions of someone may be way off base. It’s easy to look back and see what the red flags were and what we should have paid closer attention to from the beginning. It’s looking forward that’s the challenge. But that’s what makes life so interesting. If everyone was an open book and we were all speed readers, then that would take the joy out of reading. Hopefully, the first chapter of any relationship gets us hooked, and each one afterwards keeps us coming back for more.
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