A class I once took assigned me to find a few people I knew and have them write down ten attributes they saw in me. The people I chose consisted of my best friend, a roommate, and one other person at school. It surprised me how similar their responses were. The first attribute they all wrote down had to deal with intelligence in some way. Other common responses were about kindness, confidence, or about being a gentleman. None of these people knew each other, but they all had the same impression about me.
When I say impression I don’t mean how we appear to each other. Appearances can be deceiving. I’m referring to the affect we have on each other. Leaving an impression on someone creates a change in that person. You won’t make much of an impression on anyone if you don’t make an impact on their lives.
Having a behavioral disorder can make leaving a good impression on others a struggle. Who wants to be best buddies with a guy who has trouble speaking, thinking, learning, feeling, adjusting, behaving, associating, or just plain living? We all want to be with people who make us feel good. No one wants to get stuck with broken goods.
Pity the Fool
A classmate I know has some serious issues. He’s a nice guy and all, but it doesn’t take you more than one minute to get the impression that something is awkward about him. He often invites himself into my conversations with friends quite unceremoniously. He never puts a period at the end of his sentences so that I may get a word in. I’m sure you’ve known people who are like this.
This guy doesn’t hang around with a lot of friends. He tries hard to come off interesting to others. I’ve often asked myself what’s my responsibility towards him when it comes to being his friend. Could I? Yes. Should I? Maybe. Would I? No.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to be loving and considerate toward all people. Everyone deserves a listening ear and a helping hand. However, it is my belief you can’t be a true friend to someone you look down on. I’ve had plenty of friends who only associated with me because they felt sorry for me. None of those friendships lasted.
My brother once tried to introduce me to people he knew that were diagnosed with Asperger’s like I am. I told him I wasn’t interested in meeting them. He was taken aback by my response. I didn’t mean to be antisocial. I simply felt meeting perfect strangers based on the idea that we “need each other” would result in nothing more than a pity party. Not my kind of party.
My brothers never invited me to hang out with their cool friends when I was younger. I suppose they didn’t think I would leave a good impression. It wasn’t until I started living out on my own that I gained a strong sense of confidence. I decided I need to have complete faith in my own attributes.
What makes us cool is a combination of our abilities, accomplishments, and affluence. If you got it, FLAUNT IT!
Some people would have us all be humble. Why? What benefit is it to me to make myself lesser? It is the responsibility of a man to improve himself in all fields. I want to show people how intelligent I am. I want to prove to the world how good a storywriter I can be. I want to make my parents proud of me. How can I accomplish this without something to show for it?
Let’s be honest, we want to be around people who are amazing in some way. I want the pretty girl in class to notice me. I want the smart people to think I’m interesting. It makes us feel good to be among the elite. You can’t earn these things for free. The payment is confidence in something real. Nobody wants to hang out with a guy who is unsure of himself.
Don’t get the wrong impression about me. I’m trying to come off arrogant on purpose. In reality I don’t talk a big talk. Didn’t I say appearances can be deceiving? I just want you all to think about how we come off to each other. I need you to recognize your own feelings about the people you associate with. How do they make you feel? Safe? Wanted?
I’ve told you nothing but the truth about how we treat others. All of the situations I mentioned happen to all of us at some point. Knowing what to do depends on what we are willing to sacrifice.
My mother played basketball when she was in school. One of the girls at her school had trouble playing. None of the other girls wanted to play with her because she wasn’t as good. My mother took time out to help her with her game. She slowly made improvement over time.
We help each other by the impressions we leave on those around us. A hero inspires greatness. A genius inspires thought. A true friend inspires love. I have full confidence that I can be a force for positive change in the world. It all starts with a pioneer. Someone has to be the first to leave the impression of their footprint in the dirt. It shows the others the way to go.