This time around, I was the jerk! I guess we all have our shot…about a year and a half ago, I stepped into Atlanta restaurant Yebo to celebrate an exciting transition for a dear friend. In typical colored people fashion, she was late lol. As I waited, a gentleman (we’ll call him Donald) approached and engaged me in conversation. He was new to Atlanta so I took it upon myself to school him on the scenes and types of people to watch out for here.
The conversation was pleasant and easy. I can’t say that I was expecting anything more than conversation at the time. I was sort of shocked when he moved in for the kill, but I obliged because he was attractive and seemed well put together. This chance meeting occurred right before New Year’s. I sort of assumed and resolved within myself I wouldn’t hear from him until after the holiday. To my surprise, he actually ended up reaching out on New Year’s Day to say, “Happy New Year!” I, of course, offered the same in return, and that was the extent of the dialogue.
About two months later, this fella was completely out of sight and mind. No worries though. He sent me a nice “checking in” text along with…a selfie. Ok sooooooo, I’m going to let you know right now. A man taking and sending me a selfie (unsolicited) will quickly result in me giving them the side-eye. That is not attractive to me at all.
But I digress…I decided not to respond right away to give myself some time to do a little digging in order to see what he was about. Yes, I will google someone in a heartbeat! There were several videos that he appeared in. They were all geared toward highlighting his success in Multilevel Marketing (MLM). I’m not knocking anyone’s path to professional greatness. I will just say that MLM’s are not appealing to me.
In one of the videos I watched, Donald was encouraging a room full of mentees to think and dream bigger. He undergirded this with the message from Proverbs 29:18 and Hosea 4:6, which paraphrased says, my people perish for lack of knowledge or vision.
A quick aside…I was not always a Christian. In fact, prior to becoming a Christian I was unconvinced that Jesus was THE (only) way. At that point in my life, I had far more questions than answers with regard to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I eventually found myself totally surrendering to Christ. Because I am an investigative person by nature, I had an insatiable appetite for learning God’s word and finding out the answers to my questions. In addition to my personal reading, I signed up for classes at church and sought a mentor to help me truly dissect and absorb the written Word of God. I say all of this to say, I care a lot about how scripture is used and applied.
Now onto how I became the biggest jerk ever…
When I heard Donald buttress his message with this scripture, it made me cringe. My chest got all puffed up, my attitude became indignant, and I was ready to “put him in his place.” Ugh! I’m so embarrassed every time I even think about this. In my fired up state, I responded to his text. I told him our first date should probably be at a Bible Study because clearly he doesn’t know how to properly use scripture. OUCH! What nerve! I then went into this long drawn out explanation of how the scripture was misused. Here’s the thing, I still stand by the core of what I was saying, but I COMPLETELY disagree with my attitude and delivery. It was so abrasive and arrogant. So incredibly unloving, and exactly what I am against. That poor fella! He was not prepared nor did he deserve such an onslaught from me.
I realized later that once I saw he was involved in MLM, I’d already made up in my mind he was not for me. Thus, I justified attacking him the way I did. Not cool! I did catch myself and attempted to offer sincere apologies, but it was too late. The damage had already been done. He was gracious enough though to accept my apology yet he wanted nothing else to do with me and understandably so.
Since that exchange, I developed a new philosophy toward dating relationships. I now charge myself with being a good/noble steward over all interactions. In other words, my goal is to be as honoring, as respectful, and as loving as I possibly can. The fact of the matter is,
there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to part as friends with someone just because we’re not continuing in a dating relationship.
With this shift in my approach, I no longer find myself in situations where parting ways is intense and or nasty. I have become really good friends with a couple of guys I was previously getting to know. One guy in particular is now in a wonderful relationship and will likely be proposing soon. He attributes some of his being able to “man up” in this current relationship to the way I approached things when we were getting to know one another. So while I absolutely hate and am grieved by the way I handled Donald, I learned so much about myself and grew as a result.
That’s what it’s all about, right?