Thursday, February 22, 2007

Disclaimers (15 Things They'll Find Out Eventually)

When meeting new people I sometimes wish I could hand out disclaimers. Tips. Little bits of information that take forever to know about a new person. Things that you can be told, but that it takes a long time to KNOW and understand about a person. Practical guidelines. It’s a slow process, getting to know someone. And sometimes that is part of the wonder of having new people in your life... but sometimes I think about printing out little cards.

They would say:

1. I’m allergic to cats and cigarette smoke.

2. I don't like chain restaurants or "superstores". I don't go to Wal-Mart unless they are the only place on earth that carries something and even then I hesitate unless there's a gun to my head.

3. I forget birthdays and holidays. This is no reflection on your importance. Same goes for mail. I have stacks of cards that have never been sent.

4. I hate to be tickled. Not in an “It bugs me.” way... in a “I will look for the nearest thing to grab and bludgeon you over the head with until you stop.” way.

5. I always show up for movies at least half an hour early. I find it stressful when people are not willing to accommodate this.

6. I will never ask how you are to be polite. If I ask it is because I am genuinely interested in knowing. Conversely, don’t ask me how I am unless you actually want to know.

7. I flirt. With everyone. And I make a lot of eye contact. It’s part of how I interact. Don’t read too much into it.

8. Like most redheads, I will never tan. Don't make jokes about me needing some sun.

9. I don’t mind listening. You don’t have to apologize or be embarrassed when you realize you’ve been doing all the talking for the last half hour... This is because I am also a talker. If you can’t handle me babbling about nothing without acting uncomfortable or bored - we won't become friends.

10. I have a filthy sense of humor but am reserved about what circumstances under which I will indulge it. I don't curse around people I don't know very well but am capable of cursing like a sailor. It's ok to curse or tell a dirty joke around me - I won't be offended.

11. I won’t tell you personal information until I’ve known you a long while. If I do tell you something personal, I have a good reason. If you share personal information about me with anyone, I will never confide in you again.

12. I will never judge your interests, no matter how geeky or deviant they may be. I have no patience for people who judge mine.

13. If we’re friends you can call me at 3am and I will wake up, sound as if I haven’t been asleep anyway and will listen patiently for as long as I can stay awake. I will never complain about this later.

14. I am completely calm and competent in a crisis. I get upset over little things.

15. I don't keep people in my life if they lie to me. I will not lie to you. Even when you don’t like what I have to say.

So what would YOUR card say? Not intimate personal details. We’re talking 15 basic, practical instructions here. What would make life easier if people knew it from day one? There are so many things you would never think to SAY to someone, but that they learn by trial and error. Things that people who have known you for years just take for granted.

For example - SO many people apologize for cursing in front of me. Because I so rarely do. And then I end up getting into this long explanation about it. And a lot of people don't realize how serious I am about honesty. If I find out you have lied to me I will no longer socialize with you, pretty much without exception.

It would save a lot of time to just hand out cards.

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