It’s been awhile, and I apologize for leaving you hanging. My day job tripled in size for a few weeks, and I could bear neither staring at a screen any longer nor staying up later than I have each day this week. Luckily, I believe the immediate craziness has passed, so that I can lull you to sleep with dull observations and lazily-drawn conclusions about relationships.
That said, here’s another: I have long espoused the general belief that unequivocal honesty is always best, particularly in intimate relationships. But the truth is that women and men lie to one another.
I can overhear the movie the children are watching downstairs: “Men lie; they can’t help it.”
Should I be allowing them to watch this? Should I at least be providing some commentary to refute that? I’m not.
And women lie, too, mostly in ways we think are harmless:
What, these? No, I’ve had these shoes for months.
No, this was at the back of my closet. I’ve only just rediscovered it!
Who? Susan? Oh, you know, she’s out-of-town visiting a sick relative.
Sometimes our desire to keep peace and protect overrides our honesty.
Is that okay in the course of a long-term committed relationship? I think many couples know each other well enough to enjoy a tacit understanding of what types of things each other lies about, under what circumstances and why.
Are you honest in the absolute sense? How much dishonesty is okay? Is any okay?
I tend to be pretty direct in my communication. Yet I’m also an eternal optimist, the one who sees the silver lining, whose glass is always more than half full. And I try to be kind. Add to those that my job often requires me to portray difficult messages in the most positive light.
Add these qualities, habits and conditioning together and sometimes I end up coming off a bit like a spin doctor.
So I’d love to hear what you think: Should I continue to be kind and “spin” the message — or would it be better, more instructive in the long run, to be completely, blatantly, directly honest?
Consider the fellows I went out with last weekend. I mostly blathered something about not feeling any magic or chemistry between us. But if I shot from the hip, like this?
- To guy A: “Honestly, you dress like you come from an outer-ring suburb, you’re a stingy tipper and you eat like a caveman. That’s why.”
- To guy B: “You’re a whining infant, and I cannot wait to get as far away from you as humanly possible.”
- To guy C: “It’s because you wore shorts with an elastic waistband. The gulf is too wide for me to cross.”
As an aside, I’ve found it very amusing that, in telling my dating stories to male and female friends alike, the men I know actually had stronger reactions to the dude wearing elastic waistband shorts than the women. A girlfriend sympathetically said, “Oh dear.” The guys came up with questions and comments including these:
- “Did he take you to a buffet?”
- “Was he planning on gaining a few pounds?”
- “Wow. That’s not even trying!”
But I digress…
Like I said, I don’t want to be known for spin — and I don’t want to be known for being a bitch. But there may be a nugget of helpful information in my brutal examples for these fellows…
How much honesty is too much? What do you think?