Learning to be Honest in Dating

23 04 2015
Photo: stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com

Photo: stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com

Honesty is something a lot of us talk about. We say we want folks to be honest with us. We claim we’re honest individuals. We even say cliché statements like “honesty is the best policy,” but I would argue that many of us tell little white lies all the time when we’re dating.

Lies about our actual interest level in the other person. Lies about how much baggage we’re bringing into the situation. Even lies about what we’re hoping or not hoping will come of the connection. We all do it or have done it.

And it’s something I’ve been actively working to stop doing in my life.

But anyone who has lived will tell you that putting something into practice is a lot harder than just working on it in your head.

And so a few weeks ago a situation came up where I’d given my number to a gentleman, but I’d realized I was no longer interested in him. Before me, I had a few choices — I could ignore him when he contacted me as many folks like to do these days, hoping it would get the point across without ever having to tell him the real deal (but I think that’s kinda petty, and I hope I’m more mature than that); I could go into disconnected and cold mode, hoping that he would become disinterested and stop calling me (but interestingly enough, whenever I’ve done that, the guy has always stayed around longer); or I could just be honest and say “hey listen, you seem alright but I’m just not interested in seeing where this can go anymore.”

I chose the last one.

I know that probably seems like a small step for some of y’all, but it was a huge deal for me. I’m so used to trying not to be the bad person that I’ve definitely allowed relationships to last much longer than their natural expiration date, and this was my small way of saying no more. I could clearly tell me and dude weren’t going to work out, so why waste his time or mine.

I’m hoping to continue to put my honesty in dating into practice,  but I know I’ll have stronger tests still. It’s one thing to tell a guy you’ve known a couple weeks you’re not interested;  it’s a different story entirely to have the courage to say things to a person you’ve known for years.

But I’m getting there. I’m learning that what I’ve always believed really does hold true — you can say just about anything as long as it comes from a respectful and genuine place, and honesty (like forgiveness) is sometimes less about the person you’re being honest to and more about saving you.

What do you all think? Do you find that you sometimes tell little white lies in relationships? And what’s the hardest things you’ve ever told a partner? Pretty sure mine was when I told an ex boyfriend who wanted to marry me that I didn’t see a future with us. But right after that, I dated 2 guys back to back for months when it should have been over in weeks.

So clearly your girl has work to do lol


Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

10 02 2014
Photo: thescoutmasterminute.net

Photo: thescoutmasterminute.net

Last year I found myself in a situation that I’m sure many people who have dated more than one person can attest to — I’d gone on a few dates with a guy who was really nice, really sweet, clearly liked me and explicitly said he wanted to court me, and damn it, I felt absolutely no connection with him.

And I tried to — trust me.

Every time we went out and I had no desire to kiss him, I chided myself when I got home. “Hello,” I would say. “THIS is what you’ve been saying you wanted! A guy who’s respectful, who treats you nicely, who lives in your city, who has drive and ambition, and who even loves music as much as you do. What is the problem?”

The problem, I determined, was that as much as he checked off my criteria list, I just didn’t feel anything between us other than friendship. So after three dates, I decided I could no longer put off the inevitable. I needed to end things with him.

Now, I could have done this in several different ways. Some of my girls offered the suggestion of simply no longer responding to his calls and texts, making it clear through the process of Fading Out (or going ghost) that I was no longer interested. We’d only been on 3 dates, they said. So I didn’t really owe him anything. (And before you get on them for offering that suggestion, please note that both men and women engage in this practice.)

Still others suggested that I tell him something to the effect of “you know I’m just not in a place to date right now” or “I’m not really looking for anything serious right now.”

I could have even continued texting him but never making good on any plans, thus letting him know without ever saying it, that I wasn’t all that interested in seeing him again.

In the end, I chose to do neither of those. I picked up the phone and engaged in what I like to call a “hard conversation” — one of those uncomfortable talks no one really wants to have with someone else. I chose to tell him the truth. That as much as I wanted to like him because of how great of a guy he seemed to be, I wasn’t nearly as interested in him as I felt I should be for someone I was dating.

To his immense credit, he took the conversation in stride, and by the end of the call, we found ourselves laughing about something silly. But when I relayed the story to some of my friends, many of them felt that I was being mean or rude by saying what I said.

In fact some of them called me things like “bold” and “cold-hearted.”

I was caught off-guard by their responses, mostly because I’d grown up believing that most women felt like honesty was always the best policy. “Sure the truth may hurt now,” we’d say. “But I’d rather know the truth now than to become invested only to know it was based off a lie later.”

And so, if we expected honesty from others, then I assumed that meant we always engaged in the truth ourselves.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wasn’t all that different from my friends in my past approaches to dating. Hadn’t I given the excuse of “not having time to date” before when really I meant “I just don’t want to date you”? Hadn’t I excused myself out of relationships with people rather than ask the hard questions that I was afraid to get truthful responses to? Hadn’t I chosen to let a guy down “nicely” in the past as opposed to telling him that I just had no interest in being with him?

Heck, I still have a hard time telling the nice, but not cute guy on the street that I’m not interested in giving him my phone number — so instead, I say that I have a boyfriend. A lie.

I choose on a consistent basis to lie to someone when I walk down U Street as opposed to saying, actually sir — I’m not attracted to you. And I do that because I’m concerned about the same thing my friends chided me on about my conversation with the guy last year — that I will come off as rude or mean. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Which begs the question — while we say that honesty is the best policy, do we actually believe it? Or is it more accurate to say that honesty is the best policy unless it will make either of us uncomfortable?