I learned yesterday that one of my colleagues (fellow grad students), judges whether people are worth his time, based on whether or not they like me. I am the only TA for one of the undergrad required courses, so I have worked with nearly every undergraduate in the major at my school, and a number of the grad students, so a lot of people know me, at least in passing. This person noticed that people who didn’t like me, he didn’t get along with, and people who liked me, he also liked. So now he uses me as a barometer of whether people are worth his while to get to know. “Do you know E?” “Oh yeah, I don’t like her.” “Thanks for your time, I’m leaving now.”
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Kind of amused, I think, because, well, I do think that whether someone likes me or not on “first glance” is kind of a pretty good judge of character. I think I’m a pretty benign sort of person. I’m pleasant. I go out of my way to be helpful and nice to people, but I’m also no-nonsense, especially when I’m teaching. And of course, I’m the first to admit, I’m a little bit peculiar. I move and dress and talk a little bit differently than most people. While I’m not openly autistic, it is pretty obvious that there is something a bit different about me. This means that most people who meet me once don’t quite know what to make of me. It’s those who take the time to get to know me before judging me that recognize my personhood and my kindness. Those who judge immediately and never think past it are the ones who dislike me.
So to me, it is very interesting that my colleague has determined this pattern. I suppose it makes sense, and I think, in a strange sense, I’m flattered, because this colleague is a really thoughtful, mature person, and I respect his opinion quite a bit. And thinking about it, well, obviously I’m a biased judge, because I don’t like it when people dislike me without getting to know me first, so I tend to judge those people a little bit more harshly, it is kind of nice to know that other people recognize that I am a good person, and that those who don’t like me probably aren’t worth their while either. It is somewhat validating, to be quite honest.
Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing?
Also a note to my regular readers – this month started off strong, but unfortunately, between health issues and life issues (I’m moved!!!!!!!!! into a safe house, with a roommate who is utterly amazing, and let me tell you it is awesome), I haven’t been up to continuing the autism acceptance in action posts. Hopefully I’ll pull something together for the flash blog on April 30th. Hope everyone is surviving April better than I have. (It is getting so much better already, though.) I’ll probably write something about my awesome new roommate at some point, just not entirely sure when.