The Gift of Personality

I have a hard time being late. Not that I am late to most functions, mind you, but rather, I try to schedule my trip to get somewhere on time only to be sitting there 15 minutes early — double that for a job interview. I’m a straight-laced kind of guy who strives for order and timeliness.

But I confess: I’ve always found chronically late and disorganized people to be more interesting. The frazzled, scatterbrained friend whose last to the table and first to say, “Sorry I’m late guys!” always makes me envious. When I watch them come in, I think to myself, Man, my life must be boring. I have nowhere else to be but here. I even have friends that we joke about being on their own clock, and we schedule social functions accordingly, but we wouldn’t dream of not inviting them because of the liveliness they bring.

To me, there’s something fascinating about the person who flies by the seat of their pants. You get in their car and before you can sit, they are tossing things from the front seat to the back. While you wait, you notice their car’s clock is 12 minutes fast (I calibrate mine once a month), the dash has wires everywhere for the tape adapter to their iPod (I use an FM transmitter) and there are a half a dozen wristbands around the stick shift. Then you carve out a place for your feet among all the burned CDs on the floorboard, apologizing for stepping on an old Green Day album as they tell you, “Don’t worry about it!” There’s a part of me that loves that because it’s so not me; my car is downright boring.

But maybe “boring” isn’t the right descriptor here. That friend may look at my life with equal fascination and think I’ve got it all together, that they are a mess who needs to be more on top of things. Similar to how we compare ourselves to the apparent successes of those around us, we also compare our personality traits to friends and family. Differing traits can be frustrating, of course, just as I can be with my rigidness, but they are God-given personalities that add something tangibly real to everyday life.

It’s easy to admire the personality traits we don’t have and overlook the ones we do as being equally beneficial. Every time I think I’m too orderly to add anything interesting or fun, someone always tells me otherwise. And every time a friend apologizes for the mess on their front seat or for being late, I just smile and say, “Don’t worry about it.” I wouldn’t change a thing.

What are some personality traits in your friends that you admire, despite them being sometimes frustrating?

Copyright 2012 Nathan Pyle. All rights reserved.

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