One thing I have learnt about myself the past couple of years is how I am a budge judge of character.
I've known this for a while and keep thinking "I'll be better" or "I'll learn from that mistake" but I never do.
I far too often let my guard down, in fact, I don't think my guard is ever up at all.
I trust people too easily. I open myself up too easily. I let people get close too quickly.
I cling on to the hope that I may have found someone who is exactly as I have judged.
I think it's so easy to picture what a person is like, or what you think someone is like. Not only by how they look, how they act, how they talk to you, look at you or their body language, but also because of the internet.
Blogs, articles, photos and so on all help to create this image of what someone is like. Added to your experience of them (so far) it can easily build up this wonderful image of an amazing person. Someone who is friendly, funny, interesting, interested in you, someone who you can bounce off, someone who gets your humour and allows you to be you, and accepts you for that. You feel you don't have to be someone else around them, and you are so comfortable and confident.
But then the cracks appear. This can be a slow process, over a year or a couple of years maybe.
Or it can happen pretty quickly, and one day everything is perfect and lovely and the next...
The next day the person has completely changed and you are left confused and hurt.
You feel angry at yourself for putting your trust in that person, and also for getting your hopes up once again.
You feel angry for straight away assuming the best in them, which seems a silly thing to be angry about because surely it's a good thing to assume the best in people and not the worst?
You realise that you spend so much time protecting other people, protecting their feelings and not wanting to (even though they wouldn't realise it) prejudge them and getting it wrong and end up feeling guilty.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover", we tend to assume this in a negative way, right? But I think so often, for me anyway, I assume the good in so many people and get it completely wrong.
I don't protect myself enough. I don't think about my own feelings.
It's easy enough to say "Well, just don't judge anyone at all" and I suppose judge is probably the wrong word. We all have assumptions of people when we first meet them, or even looking at them across a playground, across a street, across a room. That's what attracts us to people, either in a friendship form or more than that.
I suppose for me, I have to live with the fact that more often than not, I will get my assumptions wrong.
And it's all about taking risks.
And getting hurt far more than I should.