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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm Sorry for Hating You

Have you ever talked to someone whose self-concept was worlds apart from how you view him or her?
I have, too.
Then I wonder, if these people view themselves in such a contradictory way, maybe I do that, too.

Years ago when I was in college a friend and I were talking in the student lounge of the conservatory.
"See that girl with the red hair?" my friend asked while pointing at a young woman who was passing through the lounge.
"Yes," I said.  "D'you know her?"
My friend leaned in toward me and whispered, "She thinks you hate her."
"What?!" I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I've always been nice to everybody and would hate to be thought of as a snob or, well, you know.
My friend continued, "She said every time you walk past her in the halls you look so mean."
I stared at the departing red-haired girl. "I don't even know her. How could she think I hate her?"

This conversation with my friend bothered me for days. I simply had to talk to that red-haired girl and straighten things out with her.
I'm happy to say that I found an opportunity to talk to her, and before long we became good friends.
Later, she told me the reason she thought I hated her was that I didn't smile at her in the hallways.
I apologized for not returning her smiles and explained that I tend to be distracted with thoughts of assignments and go right by people, not even seeing them.

I'm a friendly person; really, I am! It's just that my head is in the clouds lots of the time.
I hate that about me: I don't see people even when they're right in front of me.
Classic introvert.
Over the past three decades I've tried to keep myself more in the moment, but I don't always succeed.

It's great when you can recognize an area about yourself that needs—for the sake of better people relationships— improvement.

I'm really glad my friend helped me discover how my distracted, serious expression intimidates people who don't know me well.

I'd like to apologize to all those people I've inadvertently snubbed.
I'm sorry, truly sorry. I'm really not a snob.
When I ignored you, my eyes were turned inward.
My brain was possibly having a conversation with one of my novel characters,
or I was working out a complicated scene.
99.99 % of the time this has nothing to do with how I feel about you.
99.99% of the time I really like you... even love you.

Now that I've confessed my problem, you have my permission to get right in my face the next time I walk right by you with glazed eyes.
Get right up close and shout, "Hey, I'm here. Come out of that introverted brain and notice me!"


  1. Hi Dena,

    I had two recent experiences along these lines. My conclusions regarding them were totally wrong. I'm glad I obeyed the Biblical command to go to the one I thought I'd offended and clear up the misunderstanding.

    Thank you for this timely post.

    Susan :)

  2. Susan, I'd hate to have that red-haired girl tell her grandchildren about the "mean" girl at her college who never smiled at her!