Several years ago, I was on a road trip and a comment was made about the leaves changing colors. I’d recently learned the science behind it and offered the information that the colors are there all the time; they’re just covered up by the green of the chlorophyll. Instantly, one of my companions said, “There she goes…correcting us again.”
I was stunned, and I was hurt. I explained that no, I just found the information fascinating and had thought they would too. She understood and apologized, and we were good, but the incident stands in my memory as a reminder that, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, your past will sometimes come back to haunt you.
You see, I used to be really bad about correcting people. I assumed everyone was like me, wanting to know how to use good grammar, properly pronounce words, use expressions correctly, etc. When this event occurred, however, I had been actively not correcting people for a long time.
It came about as a result of correcting a friend (with pure motives, I assure you) and offending her. On that day I decided that I would never again correct her in any way unless she asked for it. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was the best policy to use with everyone. I do still occasionally correct people, but when I do it’s a slip up and I try to apologize. I can’t stop the edits that go on in my brain, but I can keep them from passing my lips.
So by the time the “always correcting” comment was made it didn’t apply anymore, but she was so locked into the way I used to be that she didn’t even realize it.
I’m glad I remembered this incident today. It’s a good reminder, to me, to not judge people by what they used to be, to not be the one who brings their past back to haunt them, but rather to accept them as who they are today. Sometimes that may mean I have to really look at them, taking a fresh look and even getting to know them all over again in a sense.
It’s worth the effort. Friendship is that important.