How often has someone recommended a show to you, but warned you that "you have to watch a couple of episodes?" This has become a defining characteristic for me in the past few months when I listen to people describe their favorites. Give it a chance, they say. Watch a few episodes.
As a communication major in college, I learned how hard a pilot is to put together and film. You have to have enough excitement to the story to sell the show, but not so much that you have nowhere to go with the storyline. You have to want people to come back, knowing you want the story to slowly unravel.
This past week I sold two great friends on Ted Lasso. Ted starts strong, but to me, the character development that continues as we get to know these folks is what just gets better and better. What started out to me as assumptions about Ted and others was turned around by the end of the first episode - it was clear I didn't have the whole story, and I was anxious to know more. By the end of the first episode, I could clearly tell there was more to Ted and others than initially met the eye.
I can't help but think we should apply these same ways of thinking to people in general. First impressions aren't usually a fair understanding of who someone is. Sometimes we need a couple of episodes to give someone a chance to let their character develop. I realize how many people I "know" in life but have not much more information about them. I know them on a pilot run level only. I want to be a person who invites more time and conversation so I can let their character unfold.
I realize I also want the same for myself. Many people know just a few adjectives about me and may develop an impression that is, or is not, who I am - and this is true for all of us. I hope others will give me a chance to have a few episodes before they decide.
As human beings we quickly create a lasting footprint of who someone is and if they are "worth our time." Once cemented, it is hard to change - the hero? the villain? the dreamer? the destroyer? the conniver? the caregiver?
Maya Angelou is credited with saying, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." These are incredibly wise and true words. I think the trick for us, however, is to allow everyone a fair chance to truly show us who they are. That length of time is undefined - but it calls us to own second chances at first impressions.
Where do we need to give space for a few more episodes? And where do we need to simply turn the channel? Not every show is meant for us, or maybe not in this particular season of life. May your decisions forward be made through the lens of love.