One new friendship seems to be working well, three people never responded at all but it the fourth one that raises the most questions. We did an initial exchange of emails but then it all went quiet. It was her turn to contact me so I waited patiently but eventually I sent a short note asking her if she had received my letter - still silence.
Then I received what - on skim reading - seemed to be a "thanks but no thanks" email ending our new friendship. Basically cultural and religious barriers were going to be a too much of a problem. I was fine with that because I agree 100% that it is best not to start exchanging confidences if one partner feels incompatible with the other.
It was only when I re-read her letter when I noticed that she was critical of almost every aspect of my life. My blog, my hobbies, my lifestyle, my friends and even my deceased Mother seemed to displease or concern her. I have no idea why she wrote this letter. A simple, "I don't think we have enough in common" email would have been an honest and kind way of dealing with the situation. A thinly veiled attack on almost everything that makes me who I am is a different matter!
With hindsight the warning signs were there - ending her first contact with "God Bless" being #1 on the list. This is the third, or is it the fourth, time in the four years since Mum and Dad were killed that a religious person has extended the hand of friendship to me knowing that I was an orphan. Every single time, sooner rather than later, they would try to make me "see the error of my ways".
I am not religious myself but I accept that some of the kindest people I have ever met have been religious so in no way am I automatically "anti religious people". But, and it is a big but, it seems to me that some religious groups see it as their mission to target the lonely, the sad or the vulnerable in an attempt to achieve their quota of converts.
I attempted to find common ground with a 40 year old Malaysian stay-at-home Mother thinking it would be a valuable experience for both of us - I was wrong.
So now I move on with another entry in my hard lessons learned file. :)