Honesty. Some claim it’s the highest ethical good. Especially in a romantic partner.
Honesty however, isn’t always appreciated.
Ever been in this situation?
You’re out with your friends, and all of a sudden, this person comes up to you, right, this I don’t know, this twenty something girl, let’s call them Iris. So Iris goes; “Oh. My. God! You’re here too?”
But you have no fucking idea who Iris is. They sure know who you are. Remember your name and everything. Embarrassing. So you take a guess and go; “Heeeeey… Sophia?“, and laugh awkwardly. So, she goes like “No. No. It’s Iris, remember. We met at this party, like, last month?”
“Of course. Right. The party at…”
Because, mercy oh my, please no, you still have no idea who this person is. But they don’t fill in the blank. So you’re left with;
“Jezus, Iris. I’m so sorry, but, I’m afraid I don’t remember you at all. It’s been a bit crazy lately, you know, I went out a bit too much and well. Gee I’m so sorry.”, you squint.
So, Iris goes;
“Oh? Really? That’s weird, though. We’re in this facebook group together too, you know. We talked about it last time?”
And then you finally remember and you’re like “Oh my god that’s right! Yeah, of course. How are you?”
So. Iris and you talk about this and that, but, with every passing question, she moves in a bit closer. Maybe accidentally touches your arm. Makes a lot of eye-contact. They’re giving you the look.
As it happens, you’re not attracted to Iris. There’s not anything wrong with them, Iris just happens to not be your type.
“So. Like. We’re here together, isn’t that weird?”
“Yeah. Totally” You nod, awkwardly. “We seem to share the same circles?”
The conversation keeps dragging on, but, you don’t really want to look like anymore of an ass, so you don’t say anything. You’re starting to feel a bit uncomfortable, though. You kind of want to go back to your friends, who, at this point, have migrated to the bar. Because they don’t know Iris. And actually, you’re not entirely sure you know Iris, either.
Just about as you’re going to finally make an exit, Iris goes: “Say, can I get your number?”
But you don’t really want to give Iris your number. You want to go your friends, and party. So you tell them; “You know what, actually, I’d rather not. You seem nice and all, but, I don’t feel like we have much in common.”
But then, Iris gets all pushy.
“Not much in common? I see you everywhere!” And she smiles, and touches you.
Then, she starts asking completely irrelevant questions like;
“Why not? Wasn’t I being nice to you?”
“I can buy you a drink, but I can’t have your number?”
“Do you have a relationship?”
So, you explain yourself.
“Well, I’m not all that attracted to you. I don’t really know you. And I don’t feel the need to get to know you. If we happen to bump into each other again, I don’t mind, but, I don’t want to schedule a date or anything like that. You’re coming on a bit strong. I’d rather not give you any personal information.”
So then, Iris calls you a fat, rude, ugly bitch.
Ever been in this situation?
If you identify as female, you probably recognize this scenario. You probably saw the end coming, too. You’re rolling your eyes at the screen, right?
If you identify as male, you probably don’t recognize this. Chances are, you totally haven’t been in a situation like this at all, ever. You’re thinking; who the fuck is this crazy lesbian, how rude. Actually, what probably has happened to you is this;
You see this girl, right. You recognize her, from work, or an event, or facebook. And you think she’s rather attractive, maybe, you even kinda like her a bit. You want to ask her out. So, you gather up your nerves and you go up to her. You make polite chit-chat, flirt a bit, you know.
But all of a sudden, you turn your back to order a beer, and when you look back, she’s gone.
And no matter where you look, it’s like her and all her friends have gone up in fairy dust. Odd. But oh well, you have a good night non the less, and you go home. However. Next time, you see the same girl again. And you know what? The exact same thing happens. Just about as you’re going to ask for her number, she’s disappeared again. Weird, right? Fuck, it’s like you can never get a hold of this girl.
Let me tell you why this happens. It happens, because that girl you like is afraid of that previous scenario. She’d rather not be called a fat, rude, ugly bitch. So she lies. She slips you a fake number. Her friend has to go to the bathroom with her, immediately. There’s a jager shot emergency. It’s someones birthday. Her non-existent boyfriend is the jealous type. It’s girls night. Any other excuse? The result remains the same.
She disappears into the crowd and hopes you’ll forget all about her, and she doesn’t run into you again. Because if she does, she’ll have to reject you at some point and hope she doesn’t get called a fat, rude, ugly bitch, or worse, is followed home. Stalked. Or spit on. Or beaten.
Of course, you would never do that. You’re a good person, fuck, all this exaggeration.
Just because something may have happened at some party, doesn’t mean you should just be ignored, right? Or lied to? What the fuck. That’s not fair.
She could just have told you no. You value honesty, as much as the next person.
And this is where it gets funny. We all say we like honesty. But as this story shows; it is often considered more appropriate to lie, rather than to be be honest with someone. It’s considered perfectly appropriate to text your friends “Total. Creep. Come help me.”, and smile, rather than to say “Not interested.”, and leave. Interaction trains us, honesty is often not the best course of action. So we learn to tell little white lies, and sail on with our day, or evening, untroubled. However. Doing this, over and over again, we sustain a climate where our opinion isn’t heard, or valued. We’re scared to be honest sometimes. Especially women are thought to be polite first and foremost, and to be honest, second. When the time is right. When you’re sure you’re not offending anyone. When you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way.
Which is completely understandable, given our sexist surroundings. One could say it is valid, for us, to lie. Every woman alive has suffered harassment, by the time she’s of date-able age. Yes. Every. Woman. Probably more than once, actually. And this creates an environment of fear, panic and self-protection, in which we hope tonight is not the night we get raped.
But, we should not let fear rule us. So ask yourself.
Do you have the opportunity? The guts? The safety net? Then, maybe, try to be honest. Train yourself to be honest. Train yourself to not say “Sorry.”
You are entitled to your opinion, just as much as anyone.
Trust me, in most cases, it really does pay of. Not only do you spare yourself the complexity of a lie, you’re also being true to yourself and your values, and that always feels really good. It strengthens you, as a person to do so. It builds confidence, self-knowledge and communication skills.
If you’re ever rejected, — I get it, it sucks– try to bite the bullet.
Next time, when someone says “I’m not interested.”
Maybe, try to reply a little bit more this;
“Oh. That’s a shame. I appreciate the honesty though. Hey, I’m going to go back to my friends, then. I hope I get to see you again sometime at one of these things, enjoy yourself.” Maybe even throw in a compliment like; “Oh, and, that top looks really good on you.” Wink. Wave. Make your exit. Wish them a good night.
Now that response is very likely to get the object of your affection to a– go to their friends and say “Oh, yes, that was Iris. They’re really nice. Wanted to go out with me, actually. Cute, right?” and b– feel confident and sexy “This top was such a good buy! I look fucking great.”, and everyone’s night is better because of your conversation. C, they may actually reconsider, at a later time, and maybe you’ll be friends. Or even more, who knows?
When you call them a fat, rude, ugly bitch, however, because you feel hurt, you do not only a– erase that possibility entirely, you also b– get them to go back to their friends and say something like this; “Oh, no, that was Iris. I hate that they’re here. They’re, like, everywhere. Obsessed with me or something. Ick. Like, don’t talk to them. Total creep. Ugh.” , and everyone’s night, and reputation, is worse because of your conversation.
So don’t do that. If you want people to be honest with you, you’re going to have learn to respond to honesty with grace.
Live up to your own moral code, society. You can diss out honesty all you want, and claim you think it’s important, to the point where you’re willing to break up with a lover when they lie, but it takes a big person to take it, too.