Let your guard down: when you give someone a chance


Laura Formisano Mug August 28, 2010. Photo by Britney McIntosh

by Laura Formisano

I’ll admit it. I’m guarded. Not in a cold or shy sort of way. I could talk to a brick wall if I needed to.I try to be outgoing and friendly, and expect people to do the same.

To really know me anyone else, however, is a more challenging task. For example, did you know I hate ketchup? I really don’t like it, and I think roses are tacky and cliché.

Most people are guarded to a certain extent. Some people are just naturally shy. So what does it take for people to establish a connection? . What is it that makes people take the chance? What causes a “spark?”

We spend so much time in the day going to class, doing homework and working hard in the hopes that the final achievement is something that makes us happy. We watch television because we enjoy the program, or the jokes or the hotties on the screen. We listen to music, eat food, hang out with friends, buy and consume because the end product is something we’re all after – happiness.

Since we spend the majority of our time searching for happiness, it could argued that the reason we let our guard down and enter into relationships is to make us happy. Yet the risk we take for happiness by committing to a relationship is a bit greater than settling down to watch the latest episode of “Jersey Shore” or purchasing the new Arcade Fire album.

So how do we do it? How do we let the sparks fly and the connection in?

When I first posed the question I couldn’t answer it, so I asked various friends what it took for them to let the metaphorical walls down.

For some, it was simply the promise of a possible and wonderful relationship. For others, if they had the same morals and the person in question seemed equally as interested, it was a go. One friend said, “Imagine your life if you had not had met them – would it be a little less happy not knowing them?”

The answer I’d been searching for came from another friend, who, when posed with the question of how to let a connection blossom, countered with another question, “Why not?”

Why not get to know someone? It may not be true love, it may not be what your heart desires, but it might be a new friend, it might be a new confidant. You never know.

And that’s the thing – you never know. So why live life at a “7”? Why spend time on the outside of your life, pressing your nose against the windowpane, looking in on what could have been?

The risk is worth it, even if you are shy or guarded. Most people decide to find out if somone else likes ketchup or enjoys “Jersey Shore,” just to have something to stand on in an effort to find out more.

The journey is nearly as exciting as the end product, whatever that product may be.