Is there a name for people who have a hard time accepting kindness from strangers?  What would the opposite of Blanche DuBois be?

I’ve been that guy on many occasions, and I’ve been the rebuffed stranger once or twice as well.

When I first moved into my present abode, a guy I’ll call Dave (because that’s his name) made several attempts at neighborly congeniality.  I made him feel like an ass for his trouble.  What was going through my head?  Something like, “you don’t know me, back off, don’t make yourself so vulnerable, for all you know, I could be a jerk.”  Which, as it turned out, I was.

Eight years have passed since those initial interactions, during which Dave and I have exchanged maybe a dozen words.  We see each other from time to time, trading guarded waves.  It’s a shame: he’s proven that he’s a perfectly nice guy.

He just had the misfortune of trying to befriend Mrs. Grey.

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