Julie frowns. She just can’t seem to get her old friend to take her work seriously. Susan seems more interested in talking about her holiday: “We don’t need marketing people at the moment. We could do with some help changing the organization though, but I don’t think that’s really you. Remember when we worked on the new branding. You were really good at that. Anyway, wait till I tell you what happened to Mark and me in Rome.”
The bill is paid and Julie leaves with a heavy heart. She and Susan go back a long way though it’s five years since they last worked together. She’d hoped more would have come of the meeting.
Julie is hardly out the door when her phone rings. She can barely hear, the traffic is so loud. The caller is saying something like “I’ve been given your details by someone you met last week. We’re looking for people that can help us make change happen. That’s what you do isn’t it? What you’ve done recently seems very relevant. When can you come and see us?”
How often do we play a role in a drama like this?
We judge long-standing contacts on how we used to know them, but give newcomers the benefit of a fresh start and understand them as they are in the present.
We think we know old acquaintances better, but do we really? Maybe the character we perceive is a ghost from the past, and not at all an accurate picture of that person now, especially if we haven’t seen them for a while. Our knowledge of the newcomer may be incomplete and lacking in depth, but nevertheless more accurate.
When judging others, take care to see all of who and what they are now, not the person you used to know.
To be judged as you are now, you may need to make new contacts, to diminish outdated perceptions.
Others may expect you to act like you used to be, because it’s comfortable for them. But it may not be good for you. Be who you are now or the person you have chosen to become.