Drew tends to be very open about his beliefs. A few Thanksgivings ago his mother, a devout Christian, asked him to lead the family in prayer before we ate. We all bowed our heads and he began to pray, “Dear Buddha, please bless this food….” His sisters and I failed to stop laughing before their parents opened their eyes again.
Neither Drew nor I are Buddhist and I don’t know why he chose that particular teacher as the focus of that family prayer. He has always been honest about his convictions with everyone he meets, though, which often leads an ebb and flow of discussions about faith, philosophy and other topics over the years. One of the things I really admire about him is how eager he is to discuss and debate these things with anyone willing to join the discussion.
I prefer to stay out of these debates and to reveal my beliefs and other aspects of myself over time as they pop up in conversation. If a certain topic happens to come up in our first conversation, great! If not, no worries. This isn’t about hiding anything…I’m just much more comfortable letting people figure me out over time rather than handing them the official list of Things You Didn’t Know About Me ™ the first time we meet. Many of us, myself included, carry around strange, preconceived notions about certain groups, especially if they haven’t known very many people from that group before. It’s easier to dislodge some of these ideas if others can begin to know one as a friend and as an individual before they figure you that you’re also [fill-in-the-blank ]. As always, I reserve the right to change my mind if I find a better way of making new friends. 😉
How do you decide when, where and with whom to share personal information?