Getting to know people takes time. They need to learn about us and we need to learn about them. It’s like a dance, both parties may know all the steps it is now a matter of learning how to do the steps together. Our puppies Biscuit and Gravy are very curious about our cats, it is not always reciprocated. As they get bigger and bigger they tend to stick their noses where they are not always welcome; hence the hissing cat on the ottoman.
Getting to know people means listening and paying attention to things like attitude, mood, and the stories they tell. All these things provide clues that help us get to know the real person that much better. If we plunge right in we miss the opportunity to know who they are and what they are all about. This photo reminds me that it takes time for people to get used to having us around. We do not often hear or see the cats hiss, but when they do they mean it.
That’s the other thing we have to know about getting to know people; we need to believe what they tell us and know when to engage and when to step back. If they tell us no thanks, then no thanks it is. We might think we know better yet in getting to know people we know our thoughts and we need to give them time to share their thoughts. Not everyone moves or thinks at the same pace and many people need to plan, process, and formulate their thoughts before they join in. When we rush them they usually retreat to safety and it takes that much more effort for them to be willing to get to know us. Enthusiasm is a great thing in the right place and in the right circumstances. Wisdom is knowing when to turn it on and turn it off. Our puppies are gaining wisdom, sometimes the hard way. Our cats are learning patience and tolerance sometimes in circumstances too close for comfort.
Eventually getting to know people means respecting their words and their boundaries and giving them the time and space they need. I once heard that friendship is like a cat. If you chase it, it runs away. It you wait and simply relax it comes to you and will never go away. Our hope is that eventually the dogs and cats will become friends…even if it takes a few hissing moments to get there.