Honesty is the best policy. Or is it. I have a friend who is so unabashedly open and honest that it’s startling. No secrets; the good, the bad and the ugly come out with equal ease and what anyone thinks about it doesn’t matter. Until you meet someone like that, you don’t realize how little you know about anybody, family and friends included.
We live in a society where personas are based on deception. Social media is filled with only the glamorous aspects of people’s lives. I’ve seen girls’ go from a scowl to a beautiful smile as they take selfies and back to a scowl as they post the shot and go back to their Chico’s tacos. The internal turmoil is rarely displayed and we outsiders like it that way. No one wants to hear someone elses problems. People loathe hearing others’ real thoughts and feelings and are guarded and defensive if you probe too deeply into their own.
Years ago I went to a party and a friend asked how I was doing, I replied “I’m hangin’ in there” and her head jerked back and eyes got big, like “Oh shit! I hope he doesn’t start telling me his problems.” I didn’t and she got out of there quick, but I went back to answering “STUFUCKINGPENDOUS!” We only want to hear “Good” or “Fine thanks” or “Doing well.” We don’t REALLY want to know how you’re doing.
My friend’s openness and honesty was so refreshing that I decided I would live my life that way as well. It only took a week to realize that was a big mistake. People worry. People get angry. People judge. I quickly understood why instead of being open and honest, we put up a façade or deceive those around us.
And once you tell people what is really going on in your life, they tell you what they think about what is really going on in your life. And what they think you should do. And what they think you should think. And how they think you should act. And how they think you should live. And who they think you should associate with. And it’s rarely constructive or affirmative. Because everybody is smarter than everybody else and knows exactly how they should live their lives.
It was recently brought to my attention that I did all of those things when someone I love dearly was completely honest with me and I lashed out at what they said and how they felt instead of accepting it and appreciating their honesty when they knew it would not be a popular point of view. I will now be cognizant of the risk and trust it takes to be completely honest with another and will never attack someone willing to go there with me.
As for me, after that gut wrenching week of honesty I’ve decided I’m going back to lying and hiding all aspects of my life.
But at least now you know I’m telling the truth.