I hadn't received a response to my application to graduate school and was desperate to learn whether I was in or out. I went to an orientation and looked for clues. After the question-and-answer period I approached one of the deans and introduced myself. Upon hearing my name, she turned away to speak to someone else, and I was left looking at her back.
"Uh-oh," I thought. "I didn't make the cut."
When the meeting broke up a little later, I had just introduced myself to a faculty member. As I gathered my purse, books, handouts, etc.,he said, "Here, let me help you will that."
He walked me all the way out of the building and to my car, asking me questions about myself and my desire to become a social worker, and told me he hoped to see me again.
I was puzzled. The dean had made me feel rejected, but the professor seemed to indicate I was accepted. Which was true?
As it turned out, neither of those actions was really about me. The dean was rude (she lost her job shortly afterward), and the professor was kind (as I got to know later, as a student, when he became my faculty advisor). I have since learned that other people's behavior is almost always an indication of who they are, not about you. People who complain about you are complainers, people who smile when they see you are smilers, those who yell at you are yellers, and those who hug you are huggers.