Someone in the online dating world received this note from a potential suitor:
"You should be an outdoors and nature lover ... did I mention you must like cats?
Exercise habits: Never
Pets: I have Cats
I have five cats and they are number one in my life. They own the house and yard. My job is to protect and care for them. Anyone who does not like cats is not welcome at my house. Period."
Now, I love cats as much as the next person. By which I mean that I actually love cats as much as I love the next person, which means that on some days, I just straight up prefer the cats. So don't get me wrong here, I relate to this guy.
But I don't think he is demonstrating much openness to all that a new relationship might bring. Word choices like "must," "number one, " "period," and "not welcome" and are not particularly inviting. This guy may be looking for a girlfriend, but he might be better off with a sixth cat.
Because relating to other people is hard. The apostle Paul understood that when he reminded us that "love is patient." There is a reason why so many people choose to read Paul's words about love at weddings -- we need the reminder. He didn't say "passionate," or "fun" or "easy." He said "patient."
In the end, I think we want to know ourselves well enough to explain ourselves, but not so well that we simply scare other people away. By knowing ourselves, we ought to be more open to others, not less. But no one should assume that relationships will be easy.
Other people seldom agree to our rules. Other people have their own ideas about things. Other people can be needy or they can ignore you. Other people can be warm and cuddly one minute, cold and aloof the next. Come to think of it, sometimes other people are a lot like cats.