Guilt By Association: Never Invite The Vampire In
Originally posted 2015-02-23 06:00:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.
“There are none so blind as those who will not see” – The Bible
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” – Every vampire, ever.
Recently, I’ve had a very valuable lesson hammered into my head.
It’s not something I didn’t already know, and it’s even something that I tell people on a regular basis.
But I still fell victim to it myself.
I ignored warning signs, I blew off my gut instincts, I chose not to pay attention to key signals.
And now I’m stuck in damage control mode, because you are not judged solely by your own actions, but also of those with whom you choose to have around you…
Do you watch True Blood, by chance?
You know how it seems really way cool to have vampires as friends? Like that would be an awesome thing?
And so you go ahead and invite them in?
And then it hardly ever winds up working out very well for the human in the equation?
Usually because the human gets all caught up in being glamoured, or something equally stupid?
That’s pretty much what happened.
See, I invited the vampire in. Not just into my house, but also into my circle of friends and trusted relationships.
And the vampire brought me into his world as well, and introduced me to some fun, cool people.Sure, a lot of them were night owls and I was more of a day walker…but we still crossed paths and had some fun together.
The crazy graphics guy with the mohawk. The people capable of standing in front of a crowded room, taking control of things with a mic and getting even the hardest of souls to laugh. The bar owners and staff.
More people. More variety.
I was distracted from the frustrations of my actual life by diving into this world populated by creatures of the night.
My friends tried to warn me…they did. They warned me that he couldn’t be trusted, that I shouldn’t be so heavily involved in his business dealings and should absolutely be more careful about this particular association. That he talked a great game, but came off…a bit oily.
I saw none of it, and defended him.
But then…well, I’m not sure if the glamour started to fail, or if I just started coming to my senses…but then I started noticing a few things.
People that he had introduced me to started disappearing one by one. They just simply weren’t around any more. I asked, and got told “so and so turned out to be a loser”, or even just a non-committal shrug, which I naively accepted at face value.
And then…then things started to go even further sideways, and like some insipid teenage girl with a crush, I kept on ignoring the obvious signs that were painfully clear to others around me. I continued to ignore the advice of friends who flat out told me he was sketchy and shouldn’t be trusted.
After all, I knew him better than they did, right?
When the venues where he ran his events with were suddenly and without explanation off the table for him…I should have asked more questions. But I didn’t.
When those people started vanishing, and the explanations didn’t quite sit right with my gut instincts about them, I should have dug deeper. But I didn’t.
The repercussions of which I’m now dealing with from a number of directions…because now some of those “losers” and “deadbeat venues that didn’t want to pay” are now coming out of the woodwork and viewing me with an awfully skeptical eye.
Like the hall where he started his events…but apparently never paid them. Or the member of the Chamber of Commerce that reached out through the Facebook page I’d set up for him demanding a phone call from him over a bill for car repair services that he’d skipped out on.
Or that cool graphics guy who was always around at the beginning…and as it turns out isn’t really a “deadbeat loser” after all…but got tired of getting taken advantage of and never paid for his work and so distanced himself and cut off all ties.
The vampire had been feeding all along…and I never saw it.
And oh, so many more stories now that the floodgates are open and people are realizing that I’m not him, not like him, nor even connected to him any more.
Because even if the rest of the stories that are now coming to light aren’t true…it’s too much.
Are they all true?
Perhaps not. But perhaps they are.
And more importantly, I’ve learned over the years to keep things in context. A jilted girlfriend may have unflattering stories to tell. A spurned business partner might have nasty things to say. There might have been a misunderstanding with a business owner over a bill.
But I’ve also taken the blinders off, and so I also know that where there’s smoke…there’s almost always fire.
In this case, it’s more likely that there’s a raging inferno going on…because there are too many sources, too many stories, too many things that never added up before that suddenly make sense. Too many things that I’ve now taken the time to go independently verify.
And all the while, as I’m shaking my head in stunned amazement at the stories I’m hearing and the things I’m being told…I still notice a look of skepticism in people’s eyes. Because this was, after all, someone I was close to. That I had introduced as my friend. That I had hung out with and dove in with both feet to help out.
I’m the one that invited the vampire in.
I’m the one that brought the vampire into my world, and let myself get brought into his.
With time…that skepticism is fading. As they take the time to ask around about me, learn more about who I am and what I do, they’ve started coming around. More and more, the conversations are starting with “He duped you, too, huh?” instead of “Weren’t you a part of…”.
As someone pointed out to me during one such conversation: “Dude, you meet hundreds if not thousands of people a year. The good news is that from what I’ve learned about you, you’re by and large a great judge of character and figure things out pretty quickly. The bad news is that you just used up all of your ‘wrong’ judgment on a single person all at once.”
I guess I can live with a relatively solid batting average…but this one’s going to have me a little more jaded and cynical for a while.
And you can be damned sure that the next time…I’m going to look for fangs before I go inviting someone in the door.
So learn from my mistake, people. Take a good, hard look at your connections on LinkedIn and your friends on Facebook. When someone goes looking, are you confident in their ability to represent who you are and with your best interests in mind? Are they the ones with whom you’d trust your personal and professional reputation?
Because whether you know it or not…you already are.
That’s all for this time…go read something else: http://www.itinthed.com/read/ while I go stock up on garlic and silver.