I was exposed to a most peculiar experience today, and I want to share it with all my readers. Perhaps some others have had similar experiences too.
As I have written earlier, I go for a 3.6 Km walk every evening at our local joggers’ park. I normally go there fairly early so that I can finish my walk and spend some quality time with some of my friends who come later and do not walk or jog as much as I do.
For the past few weeks, I had been seeing a lady walking at the park. She would be there walking, when I arrived and leave before I finished my walk. As I am wont to, I tried to smile at her when we crossed each other, but could not get a friendly response from her and I decided that she was shy and so let her be.
Today, she landed up near our bench accompanied by an acquaintance of mine. I was formally introduced to her and my friend wanted me to spend a few minutes with them a little away from the others.
It turned out that the first time that this lady laid her eyes on me at the park, she felt that I was a ruffian, with who it was better not to get involved in. Every time she saw me, this feeling was reinforced and when I tried to be friendly and smiled at her, she almost had a heart attack! Luckily for me, my friend who is her neighbor was taken into confidence by her and she told him that she was afraid to go for her evening walks. She told him about her being mortally scared of me. When she told him about this huge menacing fellow who walks at the park every day, he could not quite place who it could be, as he has been in our colony for perhaps the last ten years or so. He therefore decided to accompany her today to see who this menace was and when he saw that it was me, removed her fears and insisted on introducing her to me and my friends. She was quite relieved and has assured me that henceforth she will not be afraid of me.
After she left, my friends and I discussed this matter, and I was the subject of a lot of ribbing for being considered as a ruffian! Any way, it was felt that in some cases we make snap initial judgments about people we do not know and that impression stays as a permanent impression.
For me, this was an unprecedented experience. I have always found it quite easy to make friends with strangers and have never consciously done anything that could have given an impression of being a violent fellow or one capable of hurting someone. I have also never judged anyone like this lady did me. To the best of my recollection, I have never made snap initial judgments about anyone.
Have you had such experience/s?