A friend of mine recently committed the cardinal sin.
I had met one of his friends and we hit it off. We started spending time together, and that eventually grew into a relationship. A pretty damn good one, too, if you ask me.
That’s a good thing, too, because it has been really difficult for me to find someone who won’t screw me over and play games with my heart. I may not be the greatest catch in the world, but I’m honest, faithful and I’ve got a lot of love to give. And that’s not all bad.
Jenny has been very good for me for a couple of reasons. First, because she makes me happy. Second, because her honesty and faith have somewhat renewed my hope in love.
We almost didn’t make it this far, though.
When I started dating Jenny, our mutual friend warned her to watch out for me. Fortunately, Jenny decided to look past that advice and give me a chance.
That warning is the cardinal sin.
You see, I’m not a big fan of people “warning” their friends about the people they’re interested in. I suppose if it’s a generic warning when you don’t actually know the person, it’s one thing. But when you actually know the person, it’s completely different.
When you know the person, it implies you know something about their character that makes them warning-worthy—something bad. But you can really only know part of the story, so even the bad thing might not be as bad as you think. Judging people based on appearances is emotional bigotry, and it’s patently unfair.
If you warn a friend to “watch out” for someone they’re interested in, and they decide not to date that person because of your warning, how can you know what you’ve prevented? Your interference might have prevented the love of a lifetime.
Funny story. A few years ago I met a girl at a dance. We weren’t interested in each other, but we got along well enough to hang out a bit that night. At one point, though, a mutual friend took her aside and told her that she should watch out for me.
The warning caught her attention. She was intrigued about why someone would feel the need to pull her aside and warn her about me. Apparently, she has a thing for “bad boys.”
We ended up in a stairwell for the last few hours of the night and dated for the next 7 months, and it never would have happened if she hadn’t been warned.
Most of the time, though, it doesn’t work out so well. Last spring, I was at Conor O’Neill’s and I met a girl. The chemistry was incredible from the first moment. We were talking, cuddling, dancing and having an amazing time! I couldn’t help but wonder whether I had found a once-in-a-lifetime.
That was when someone she didn’t even know pulled her aside to warn her about me. This was someone who barely even knew me. She left the bar and I never saw her again.
Now, I’ve got to wonder: what was it about me that she needed to be warned about? I would have called her if she’d given me her number. I would have asked her out on a date. I would have tried to establish a healthy relationship based on open communication and mutual respect.
Which brings me back to Jenny and our mutual friend. I’m not sure why he felt the need to warn her about me. I have my hunches, but I honestly have no idea. And, in the final analysis, everything worked out alright. She didn’t heed his warning and now we’re both happy.
But think about what could have been. Or, more accurately, what could have not been.
The moral of the story? No relationship is completely safe. When you give your heart to someone, there is always a risk it will get broken, no matter how carefully it is treated. Such is the nature of love.
But even people who have a history of hurting people, if they’re in the right situation with the right person, can find a lasting happiness.
That’s why, to me, interfering in a burgeoning relationship is inexcusable. Love is hard enough to find as it is, let alone if people are throwing barriers up in your face. If you really care about someone, let them find their own path.
Otherwise, you never know how much happiness you might be stealing from them.
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