Wednesday, June 29, 2011


There are two types of people: those who come into a room and say, "Well, here I am," and those who come into a room and say, "Ah, there you are" - so says Frederick L. Collins.

While I don't know Mr. Collins and my online investigation of him came up with nothing, I agree with his observation. A person entering a room may not be aware of the impression he or she is making. Others may draw lasting conclusions by a first meeting. I have jumped to conclusions based on an initial reaction and held onto it for unreasonable lengths of time; often in spite of subsequent interactions which could have altered that first impression; I stuck to it like a bug to flypaper. Certainly the opposite is true as well. I recall being positively impressed with a newcomer and allowing that person great leeway before seeing the meanness and selfishness which outweighed my first impression.

It is difficult to see oneself as the newcomer. What is the first impression I make on others? I may not want that impression, good or bad, to have long-lasting effects. Here is my dilemma: I am both the "Well, here I am" person as well as the "Ah, there you are" personality. I don't always know which one will take over as I cross a threshold. Like a tightrope walker, I seem to be balancing a split personality. Some days my Auntie Mame self steps forward and announces "Here I am." On some occasions my confidently reserved Eleanor Roosevelt persona grants"Ah, there you are." Some days entering a room is like a spin of the Roulette wheel; will it land on red or black? And the grand entrance is totally out of my hands!

Even having a checklist to confirm I am a good person, have a good sense of humor, am reasonably intelligent, clean in thought word and deed, thoughtful, helpful, kind and loving, I can be irritating, angry, snarling and feeling sorry for myself, too. Becuase the positive group of behaviors is more comfortable to live with than the negative, I choose comfort. I try not to rock someone else's boat - unintentionally, and I try to make a good 'first' impression.

I see myself as an ordinary person, doing ordinary things. I hope to make a long-lasting positive impression everywhere I go. I am surprised, however, when somebody takes time to offer special kindnesses. Isn't that funny? I consciously offer kindnesses and kudos to others because I know just how important these tokens of appreciation are to all us mortals. We teach children to say please and thank you, yet we forget to do the same as adults. In the olden days, friendships were maintained with letters and considerations and thank you notes. It is still important to maintain relationships and friendships with consideration, and it is easier to compose thank you notes in this fast-paced age. The old-fashioned pen and paper is still personal and more appreciated but e-mail is the fast-paced answer. A few simple words can mean a great deal: So glad you liked it. Thank you for the ride (cookies, recipe, info...), I look forward to your Saturday morning telephone calls.... Thank you for checking up on me during the ice storm..... Let's get together for tea Wednesday 1 pm. (I had to put that in because it is a highlight of my day, week, month, friendship to enjoy the company of a particular friend at teatime.)

Be clean, look presentable, put a smile on your face before stepping into the room and ... whether you say "Here I am" or "There you are," be respectful, have fun, take the good feelings home with you and leave the rest where you found them. Split personality or not, keep your balance!

I'm so glad I heard of Frederick L. Collins's quotation. It got me to appreciating good thoughts about me and about you. What did you think of Collins's quotation? Tell me. I'd like to know.

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