ROSE NOLEN: It's easy to profit from meeting new people

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Some people are born with an excellent sense of timing. They have an uncanny instinct for knowing when to come and when to go.

I had an aunt who was like that. She would show up unexpectedly for a visit when I needed a shoulder to cry on, and then she would depart just as unexpectedly when I was steady on my feet again.

It seemed to me, the woman was psychic. When she was needed she would be at my side, and when I no longer needed help, she would disappear. It was hard to let go when she finally went away.

There have been a few other people in my life who were like that. I had a female friend who always knew when it was time to make a change. She always decided to move at just the right time. Somehow, the perfect job would be at her future destination. She met her husband on a vacation she won in a lottery.

And there are people who are just the opposite. Nothing they do seems to work out right. Mostly this happens to people who make snap decisions. They decide overnight to join the Army or move to Australia and wind up in all kinds of difficulty.

Most of us are somewhere in between these kinds of people. There are those who are always in a state of indecision. They are standing in the wings when life happens to them. These are people like my cousin who met the man she ultimately wed on a bus she rode to work. My sisters and I were still walking around with our mouths open when the happy-go-lucky couple sailed down the aisle and were married. The marriage only lasted a few weeks, of course, but according to her, the honeymoon was wonderful.

And then there are those who do the darndest things. Men and women who keep marrying the wrong person over and over. Like my friend, who never touched an ounce of alcohol but in the course of her life married three drunks. Or the man I know who remarried and divorced for the second time the woman who drove him to bankruptcy court. Or the woman whose sister stole her two husbands.

And there are those that are always going up or coming down the ladder of life. One week they own a business, and the next week they are in the unemployment line. She can’t wait to tell you about the great job she’s gotten or how she got fired for being late every day that week. He got promoted to management in April and by November his job had been outsourced. In other words, it’s hard to keep up.

Some people are very good at meeting people where they are. They have no preconceived ideas about others, and therefore they are never disappointed. And every now and then they are surprised to find that people are better than they had reason to expect.

Meeting individuals for the first time, you can never be sure of what you’re walking into. Most of us are willing to give it our best shot, though. Learning how to get along with other people is a wonderful lesson. It makes you good to go on this planet.

When you consider the number of human beings you might encounter in your life, being aware of the fact that you can learn to live with them is a blessing. You don’t have to walk away. You can hang around awhile and profit from the experience.

I’m a people person. I don’t mind moving so that other people can walk around me. I’ve met some nice people that way.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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