Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Excuse

What is it about honesty? People say that they want honesty, but when they get it, they're not happy about it. So the kind of honesty they want is not really honesty at all. They just want to hear things that they LIKE to hear. In relationships honesty is in some way a tricky thing. I had quite an intense discussion about this the other day. The other person was set on absolute honesty. He thought that you always need to speak the truth, no matter what. And not just in romantic relationships, but in all kinds of relationships. My counter argument was that telling the brutal truth might not always be the best solution. Why would you want to tell someone something to deliberately hurt them, if telling isn't absolutely necessary. Afterwards I got to thinking. How would I like to be treated? And I came to the conclusion that I don't agree with myself. I do rather want to hear the truth, no matter how brutal it is. But it is not really a matter of whether you tell the truth or not, it's about HOW you say it. Well, many might disagree about this too, but then again sure, I do prefer brutal honesty, if the other option is lying. Maybe the only way to actually create a good, lasting relationship is to form a safe environment where telling the truth is wanted and appreciated. The kind of environment, where you feel that you can tell the truth and solve issues through conversation.

How about some brutal honesty? (Borrowed from Frankentoast)

When it comes to dating and not dating "I'm really not that into you." seems like the most difficult thing to say. And I do think that this is the only truth. Everything else is just excuses. Whatever it is. "I need to focus on my career." or "I'm not ready for a relationship." Or how about "You seem like a great person, but I don't want anything serious at the moment." Then there's the situation with no excuse at all, the one where the other person disappears without an explanation whatsoever. That might even be worse. But how come is it so hard to say: "I'm just not interested."? If you meet a person that you really want to be with, you wouldn't need an excuse. Telling a white lie to get out of a dating situation may seem harmless, but telling the truth saves a lot of trouble for both you and the other person.

I'm not saying that I'm any better than this. Sure, I've used one or two of these phrases myself. But more and more often (after hearing all kinds of excuses myself) I am coming to a point where it just seems better to tell the truth. Even if it is brutal. "I am not interested." Or "I just don't see the two of us in a relationship." I'm a bit of a dweller myself, so it surely would save a lot of trouble for me to hear the truth. The few times I have been told the straight truth, I have really appreciated it! But when saying something like "You're a great person, but I just have so many issues of my own that I need to solve at the moment.", you're not just lying to the other person, but also to yourself. Even if you seem to believe yourself when saying it, at least you’ve convinced yourself. But I believe that no matter what your life situation is, if you meet a right person, you will want to try to make it work. You don't need an excuse.


  1. Well written! I have just had the same kind of discussions with a few friends of mine and I strongly agree on the importance of honesty. It's not easy, but usually it makes everything easier in the end. It makes things CLEAR (or as clear as possible). And of course there are different degrees of honesty; it's different to say "I'm sorry, but I cheated on you" (I see this as necessary) and "Wow, you look like hell today" (this I don't find that necessary) even though both of them were "the truth". And also, some people don't want to hear the truth. Some people don't want to know if their partner is cheating on them, and that is fine. But it's pretty important to then find a partner who agrees on this with you! Whatever the opinion is. This is all now of course from the view point of a relationship, but sure you can apply it to a friendship as well. (Although I don't see it that crucial in a friendship, important though. Or maybe the situations are just quite different.)

    Oups, sorry about such a long comment... Maybe I should start writing a blog of my own on this issue. :D

    1. Yes, you are very right. I wanted to emphasize that I think honesty is very important, but it's HOW you say things that matter. The "wow, you look like hell today" comment might be in place, if there is a strong confidence between the one saying it and the other person. Otherwise you might rather want to say for instance, "you look tired, are you okay?"

      And again yes, surely there are people, who don't want to hear the truth, but that makes me wonder about the reason for avoiding it. Nevertheless it is a never-ending topic, just as any topic when it comes to peoples' opinions. Like you said, finding a partner that thinks alike about the matter is crucial.

    2. Yes, you are right about the "how you say it"-thing! It makes a huge difference.

  2. I agree that if you meet the right person, there are no excuses. There is no right or wrong timing either. There might be more or less work, but that is a whole different thing. The right person is worth the work.

    I feel like sometimes people don't want to tell the truth, because they want to keep their options open. Open doors are nicer than closed ones. Maybe they are not interested of anything more than just temporal excitement and that would be gone with the brutal truth. When the excitement is gone, so is the person.

    I also feel that many people think of relationships as too black and white: its all or nothing. If you meet amazing person, but know that it is not going to evolve to anything romantic or deep, why can't you just tell that to the other? You can still have that amazing person in your life, but that is something that requires the brutal truth.

    1. I get your point, but don't you think it's unfair towards the other person to "keep you doors open"? I'm not saying that it's not okay to have a temporary exciting thing, but I do think it's unfair towards the other person not to be clear about your intentions. I think it's important to be on the same page, to understand each other.

      I'm not saying that you have to know what you want right in the beginning of getting to know another person - that is impossible. Knowing in which direction something might evolve requires spending time together and getting to know each other. But if you know that you are not really interested in something more than a short affair, you should be clear about it. Level with the other person, because there's nothing as frustrating as getting your hopes up and developing feelings, if they are not returned.

      Any kind of relationship is okay as long as both parts are on the same page, and this can only happen trough communication.

    2. Yes, I definitely think its unfair. It doesn't people doing it though.