So to understand the inspiration for this post you must first read the most recent post on Dooce.com (click it -- it does tricks!) Go ahead and read it, I'll wait... (and now I'm humming and checking my cuticles for hangnails.)
See, now I couldn't have agreed more with her husband's take on the importance of petting the dog. It may seem like such a small thing, but those small things are the kinds of signs I think everyone should be on the look out for. Here are some others that, to me, seem like important red flags:
- being rude to the serving staff at the restaurant
- laughing at the misfortune of others
- accusing complete strangers of low character
- loaning or borrowing money right away
I had a guy I dated for far, FAR too long and I remember that I was completely oblivious to many of these kinds of warning signals. That's probably the only thing I regret or am embarrassed about from that train wreck of a relationship. I tell stories to friends of things that he said or did and I can see them looking at me and thinking "how the hell did you continue to date this schmuck for 2 more years???" Once they hear them it makes it really hard to convince them to loan me their car or let me care for their children.
Best example story I have of this: Having lunch with the guy (whom we will henceforth call Irish Boy, though that's not any slam on the Irish. He was just a terrible representative for them) and with my parents. He's telling a story about a time he played some vicious trick on a close friend in the Air force, and he's laughing and laughing (and I'm trying to crawl, head-first, in between my shoulders and disappear entirely.) Finally he finishes his story (completely oblivious to the fact that he's the ONLY person laughing) and my Dad says to him an old family phrase: "It's easy to fool someone who trusts you."
Irish Boy's response? "yeah, isn't it great?!"
And yet, 2+ more years until I finally figured out how much of a mistake the whole thing was. I stopped telling that story to friends who generally think well of me, because I always had to follow it up with "I swear, I'm really not stupid. I think maybe I was distracted by something shiny that day?"
Anyway, this time I'm determined to pay much more attention! And at the same time I'm hoping that anyone who tunes into this blog (where are you guys anyway? anyone? anyone?) will chime in if you see me missing a big ol' red flag. Send up smoke signals, use semaphore, or hey, anybody else notice that comments thing down there? Cool!