Looks can be deceiving, and even after knowing someone for a while, they can still surprise you. Here are 10 things I find that people don’t usually know about me.
Isn’t it amazing how long you can know someone and they can still surprise you? I remember catching up with some people last week I had known for several years, and finding out things I never knew about them. Jobs I never knew they had, fears I didn’t know they carried, issues they had faced in their families. It was a real surprise. I find it fascinating if I ask people the right questions, or have someone else around to ask different questions, how many times I find myself saying, “I never knew that about you”. In fact, one of my favourite questions now is to ask someone, “Tell me something I wouldn’t know about you”. Try that at your next dinner party. You’ll leave with lifelong friends.
Several people have also made those sort of comments about me recently. I guess all of us are full of years and years that if you weren’t around for, you would never know about. Everyone experiences things differently, and even people you’ve shared common experiences with will not necessarily remember how those experiences were to you.
So I thought it’d be a bit of fun to write about a few of those things that I regularly find people surprised to discover about me, or things they may not know. Here are 10 things people don’t usually know about me.
#1: I’m an introvert
This one constantly comes as a surprise to people. I’m a people person and usually pretty out there. I’ll organise events out and about and I regularly find myself as wanting to spend most of my nights out with others.
And so it seems to be a great contradiction that I’m actually very much introverted. Introverted in the sense that I recharge when I’m away from people, not with them, or only when I’m with very particular types of people.
Whenever anyone says “no you’re not”, I usually point them to the fact I live in a forest by myself.
#2: I’m a massive nerd
Okay okay, the people who’ve known me at least 10 years will be laughing at this, but to my own surprise, people react in shock when I tell them I’m a massive nerd. I think because the arenas I meet a majority of people in are far removed from contexts where my nerd properties are more on display, and I’ve definitely learned to dress a bit less nerdy than I used to a number of years ago. People in my work place, who have been to my house or have studied with me tend to know this fact quite overwhelmingly so. Those who meet me elsewhere, such as church or networking events, always tell me I’m not a nerd at all.
I think the older you get, the more you end up finding out that everyone is a nerd in some way or form. It’s a nice thing to discover. It’s also a nice thing to think that was once the reason people would pick on me is now the reason so many people think I’m actually “cool”.
#3: I’ve been to way too many weddings
I think a few people are aware that my life is somewhat like the movie 27 Dresses, only not staring Katherine Heigl, and not a terrible movie (I hated it). Actually, it’s more like 64 suits, which is my current wedding count, with 2 more this month. I’ve also been in the bridal party 4 times, I have MC’d 5 wedding receptions, and I’ve been a driver or a host about 3 times.
I do love weddings, and the jaws usually drop when people hear the number. I count every single one of them a true honour to be a part of in my life. One of my friends once said that the reason is because I love “together”. I think he hit the nail on the head.
#4: I’m slightly musical
I have an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, and a keyboard. I’ve played for a number of Scripture Union camps and church functions over the last 10 years, and when I was younger, I used to sing in a few of the choirs.
There you go. Now you know.
#5: I have struggled with my mental health a number of times
This is a fact I haven’t really hidden at all – in fact, I’ve written about it a few times, such as in 2014 – The Year I Didn’t Think I’d Survive and I’m Just A Man (2016 In Review). These have ranged from panic attacks to anxiety and depression. I also wrote quite a bit about facing those things when I wrote Facing Mental Health Issues.
Mental health issues do not discriminate. You can be the CEO or the janitor and you’re still susceptible to these challenges. I don’t carry any shame about these whatsoever, but I do find that people see me as someone who would never known what it’s like to go through those challenges.
All of us face hardship. Never be too quick to dismiss someone as not knowing what it’s like to struggle, because all of us have struggled with something. I have frequently had people see me on a surface level and dismiss what I’ve had to say because they don’t think I’ve ever been through anything and don’t know what I’m talking about. Well, there you go.
And I’d encourage anyone facing issues like that to know they’re not alone. Right there with you my friend. And come through quite a lot. It’s possible. Even the darkest hour in your life is only 60 minutes.
#6: One of my biggest pet hates is people thinking their time matters more than mine
I don’t usually go around making a big deal about this one, but I thought it would make an interesting piece of trivia regardless.
I’m a busy man. I have a lot of commitments to people, family, volunteerism, my writing, friends, career, at times part time study, and so on. And I think there are certain personality types that will resonate with this more than others when I say I absolutely get so devastated when someone cancels on me at the last minute and doesn’t think to reschedule or attempt to communicate. Particularly when I am aware of a person’s timetable and they make it out that they’ve been just soooooooooooo busy, that it’s too hard for them to work out an appropriate time.
Well, “I’m busy too” is my frequent thought in this department. And yes, things come up and we have to be flexible and all the rest of it. It’s more when I detect that the attitude is that their timetable is the most important one, whether that’s with me or with others. It’s not a good way to live your life and I think failure to respect people’s time costs people more opportunities than we’re willing to acknowledge.
#7: I have four main areas of focus with my life
Here they are: people finding their purpose, addressing Western poverty, assisting and supporting leaders, and relationships.
Go through any of my blog posts or any of the sort of conversations I have with people, and you’ll usually find those four themes aren’t far behind.
I honestly believe these four to be my primary purpose, and while I’ll talk about a great deal of other things, these four reside in the deepest places in my heart.
#8: I’m secretive when others are involved but open when it’s about me
Because I live somewhat of a public life, I can be very open about issues that affect just me. You’ll find if you read things I’ve written about myself before, which a lot less people tend to read than other topics (which is fine), I don’t really hide anything.
However, when someone else’s life is involved, I’ll pretty much hide everything.
Relationship status, love interests, issues with well known friends, disappointments around particular companies or groups of people – just a few of the many things you’ll find me talking around or speaking very far away from. One of the main reasons is because people in these circles have been affected by their attachment to me before, and I’d just prefer stability and confidentiality until such a time when it’s appropriate and stable enough for the whole world to find out.
#9: I feel disheartened when people just want to take from me
Another confession type one I guess. I love to give to others. I truly do. But when people end up forming relationships around me entirely around what they can get from me and what I can give to them, it can start to get pretty draining. When a relationship is unbalanced, I don’t really have as much energy for it anymore.
I think the best analogy to this end I have discovered compares relationships to bank accounts. If all you’re ever doing is making withdrawals, you’ll eventually bankrupt the account. Granted, I like to try to keep my own “personal account” well stocked so I can afford to give to people who really don’t have enough to give to others, but if it continues like that for years, I find that quite challenging. Give and take is the only way relationships can have any health whatsoever. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
#10: I write things like this so people will free to talk about themselves too
Why would I write something like this? Is it so I can talk about myself? Is it cause I love people knowing all my deep dark secrets?
No, it’s so that you my friend would feel liberated to share your own experiences. I think so many of the problems in our world day are much larger than they need to be because we keep so much to ourselves.
And so if by sharing my thoughts or personal experiences I can help someone else feel empowered enough to do so themselves, then I feel like I’ve done my part.
And if not, at least you now know a few more of my little traits and preferences.
So how about you? Those are some things people don’t usually know about me – what are some things that people don’t usually know about you?