Does the past matter?

When we first get to know people socially and professionally, we always ask them about their past, e.g. where they lived, studied, worked, how many gf/bf's they'd had. The past seems to matter a great deal. So much so that the present seems less important to them. There are people whom I got along well with but when I told them about my past, they didn't want to be friends with me anymore. Perhaps they were upset that I didn't tell them right from the start - but who tells their life stories the moment they get acquainted with someone?

It's true that our past experiences shape our current lives and perception. The past does show us patterns of behavior, e.g. whether someone is a job hopper. How much weight should we place on the past?

Would you stop being friends with or think differently of your friends if they told you about past spousal abuse, white collar crimes, bankruptcy, petty crimes, drug abuse, depression, alcoholism, homosexual behaviour, giving or receiving paid sex, abortion, divorce, promiscuous behaviors such as ONS, threesomes and swinging, or being the rapist or victim of rape?
I won't stop myself from being friends with them but I will only go to public places and won't get into a car with someone who committed rape. I will treat them like I treat everyone else. If they had confided in me especially about something which I wouldn't have known otherwise, e.g. an abortion, perhaps I would regard them as a closer friends because of the trust they place in me.

For a serious partner however, I would consider the reasons behind the actions and the person's current attitude towards the incident - some people learn from the past while others just don't. But a person with a clean slate isn't necessarily better off than someone who made a mistake in the past; it could just mean that the person hasn't done it yet.

I'm sure people evaluate me according to my actions in the past. There are things that people would never know about my past unless I tell them myself. I believe that in order to build a true friendship or relationship, it's important to be open and honest. Of course, it takes me a period of time before I decide to tell them. If the person cannot accept my past, then it's better for me not to have him/her as a friend.


David said...


You are into a series of interesting social/physological topics.

"It's true that our past experiences shape our current lives and perception. The past does show us patterns of behavior, e.g. whether someone is a job hopper. How much weight should we place on the past?"

The first two statements above are absolutely true!

What you nor anyone can deteremine is how or why people react differently to say a common acquaintaces past. You are will not get into a car with a person who has committed a rape, while another female may be willing to do so even if she is uncomfortable with the person.

Each individual is so completly unique that uniqueness alone is enough to explain different reactions to an individuals past history. If I man tells you that he has been a big jerk towards womem most of his life and that his behavior has changed little, would you go out with him even if he is handsome, clean, and very appealing superificially?

Some people make quick judgements of others based soley on first impressions, others like you do not rely entirley on that first impression.

What form of analyzing anothers past yields the better result?

You will have to tell us your personal experiences for that question and contrast with others who have shared thier stories with you.



~Pink Miu Miu~ said...

Hi babe, yeah agreed "a person with a clean slate isn't necessarily better off than someone who made a mistake in the past; it could just mean that the person hasn't done it yet.."

Who dun have a past? Cant expect everyone to be as clean as a piece of white paper.. what u call a regret in life or a blemish in past is an experience which will make the intended become wiser and learn to cherish...

在乎你过去的爱人, 可以一起面对彼此的伤心过往吗? Confirmed NO, so...

爱你的人肯定不在乎你的过去, 在乎你过去的人肯定不爱你..

其实有故事的人, 才会听得懂你心里的歌.

Anonymous said...

Past experiences r learning curve in our life which brave our future. Everyone will have to go thru and is our alarm bell to wake and stand up. Always look forward and stay out of the box.

Yu-Kym said...

David, I've done some things which I was uncomfortable with doing to avoid offending people. Too many people do this and put themselves at risk. I remind myself to be more "selfish" nowadays.

I will not go out with a handsome guy who claims that he's a jerk, unless I think and feel that he isn't. Because some jerks might not think they are jerks at all, while some non-jerks may think of themselves as jerks.

Our own history affects the way we look at other people's history. As much as I'm trying to draw my conclusions about a person based on his/her past, he/she is doing the same with me.

Rock Hard said...

It's because of our past, we are what we become in the present state. If we do not learn from our past, we will not have any future to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Yu-Kym's blog on this subject.

Part of what we are is of course shaped by our experiences in the past. With this experience we hope to be a better person and a better judge of others or events. But it is a never a matter of 1+1=2 situation where human beings are concerned.

Good or bad we must never let these previous events completely cloud our judgement for the present or future. To do so would be a lost opportunity, folly or harm we do to ourselves. But not to bear the past in mind is equally foolish.

So what do we do in such a dilemma?

I've always abide by this rule:

Remember the past; look at the present with objectivity and clarity; see if the lessons learnt from the past necessarily applies to the present.

If it applies fully, make a decision.
If it does not apply at all, make a decision.
If it is somewhere in between and there is room for further thought or consideration, grant a stay of execution.

Where it is a matter of relationship with a potential man, no where does it state that you have to let your guard down and cause harm to yourself whilst you give yourself some more time to assess him.

That's why i say to Yu-Kym...let not your past weigh u down so much that you have to take a non-negotiable stance soon as you form a conclusion about him. If there is some grounds for reconsideration, nothing that u have learnt from the past teaches you that u cannot wait a little longer and see if he is truly nothing good at all. No matter how many times you have been proven right!

curious cat

Yu-Kym said...

It's not that the past weighs me down but rather my past experience has helped me understand Myself in terms of what is negotiable and what isn't.

Anonymous said...

hmmmmm..i think i get what u mean when u explained it this way...but would be interesting for an actual situation to really understand you...exactly what is negotiable and what is not! ok gotcha!

curious cat