Friday, March 16, 2007

How Honest Is Too Honest?

Yesterday, Ryan and I took the Little Dude for a walk and we happened upon a miniature train. The Little Dude being a dude ran screaming with delight. When we caught up with him, he pointed through the gate and demanded a ride.

Three bucks later, we were seated right behind the engine. But then the train operator tried to get the Little Dude to smile at her. He frowned. She tried harder. His forehead looked like an accordion by the time she gave up.

Unlike me who has been conditioned to smile and always be polite, the Little Dude doesn't hide his scorn. You know right off the bat if he likes you or not. And while it can be a bit awkward, I secretly wish I could be more like him.

There have been too many times when I've "had" to be nice to a nasty cousin or a colleague who'd stab a pencil in my eye if given the chance. If I was more like the Little Dude, I'd avoid situations where the person thought I liked them and then kept asking if I'd be their friend but inside I was trying to come up with an excuse that wouldn't hurt their feelings.

I'm torn. How honest is too honest? Is it better to just shut people down, or try not to hurt their feelings?

I know what Mom and Sandy will say. But they're of that certain age where they just don't give a sh%$.

For the record, I can't wait to be a grandma like them!

But for the rest of us young-ins, how do you deal with these types of situations?


sdpenson said...

Mary! You are so know what your mom and I feel!

If the hair on the back of your neck raises..there is good reason for it. Run! If they run after you...trip them:-)


Erica Orloff said...

Hi Mary:
I just try to be graciously honest. How's that for an answer, LOL!
If I am asked to join something (I'm not a joiner) or to come to something where I know it will be all cocktails and gossip, which is not my scene, I will just politely say, "I'm really more of a homebody, but thank you for asking." I give a valid, true reason, so I don't have to keep track of lies, but I don't pretend to want to be part of the scene.

Unknown said...

Sandy: when mom read your comment she cheered, "that's right!"

Erica: I've been using your method and it seems to work much better than "pretending" to be nice. I've realized that aging is about untying ourselves from the lies we're told or the lies we tell ourselves and others. Thanks for the check!


Unknown said...
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ShoeGirl Corner said...

I used to be like you, and I still am sometimes, even when I encountered a mean person I was polite. Lately though since I became a mother I have found myself changing. I have become fiercely protective of them and find the need to defend them from unpleasant people. All within reason of course. If I see my children doing something wrong I have no problem with someone calling it to their and my attention.

Unknown said...

Hi Shoegirl!

It's almost funny what we'll put up with when it's just ourselves. But add a baby or a child to the equation and suddenly the mama bear in me comes roaring out!


Dana Diamond said...

When I was younger, I was always so polite and honest and sweet.

The older I got, the more I feel, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke."

Meaning: If they're negative/up-tight/toxic/humorless, then they can eff off.

Don't know where the saying originated from, but the first time Mom and I heard it was from a friend about ten years ago.

And yes, I'm far more vocal about this sentiment now that I'm a mom.

Still, I can't wait until I'm even *more* like our moms.

Oh, to have such wisdom and chutspah!

:) d

PS Good for Little Dude. (Wiping a tear) I'm so proud.