Full Disclosure?

As I washed my hands, I stole a cursory glance at my reflection. It was 10 a.m. and there was a glob of mascara on my brow bone. I had interacted with at least a dozen people and no one had mentioned the wayward lash enhancer which got me to thinking about niceties in today’s world. If there was something “wrong” with you, would you want to be told about it?

I grew up in a rural area where people play by a different set of social rules. I guess because it’s a farming community, people didn’t take time to exchange small talk and even today many people bluntly say their piece and go about their business. This social abruptness rubbed off on me, and is one of the biggest detractors in my professional life. I’m not mean, I’m honest. I don’t beat around the bush. I call it like it is. And sometimes people have a problem with that. Who’s wrong? Me for being honest? Them for being thin-skinned? Don’t get me wrong, I can kiss ass with the best of them, but I don’t feel the need to sugarcoat every damn day.

Last week I caught up with a friend who I hadn’t talked to in more than six months because she messed up. When we saw each other last week, I was “good” and only mentioned the cause of our strife in passing and then it was laughed off. I also asked if she was still seeing that guy. No, they broke up a while ago, I forget why. Because he is a jerk? Well, yeah, but no one except me told her that they didn’t like him. Only after they broke up did people start breaking their silence about what a douche he is.

Do we not speak up because it will create an awkward situation? Does taking steps to preserve a relationship negate the possible side effects of not speaking up? Observers typically have a different perspective than those caught up in the heat of the moment, but the last thing you want to hear when you’re IN LOVE! is that this guy? Really isn’t the one.

I was head over heels for this guy but he just wasn’t that into me, although I had our lives all planned out. We were kind-of on, totally off, rinse, repeat, for about two years, until it all came to a head one night as a redneck dance. Everyone else knew that the relationship wasn’t going to work, but if they said anything I KNEW they were wrong. We were meant to be together! Or he was meant to be with that girl who financially supports his lazy butt. Either way.

Lose weight and people won’t be shy about commenting. I kind of hate it when I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they make a big deal about how different I look. “How’d you lose the weight?” they usually ask. I always want to go for shock value in my reply, but I always chicken out. About a month ago I ran into a friend who lost a few pounds and what were the first words out of my mouth? “What did you do to lose weight?” Then there’s the woman who’s not shy about speaking up in groups to tell me that I need to stop losing weight because I’m getting too thin. While it’s kind of a compliment, it’s still kind of inappropriate. Plus, while my clothes are still in the double digits, I still have weight to spare.

The blunt approach failed me in my quest to help my sister. After she broke into tears one night when I volunteered to shuttle my nephew to his father, I felt so much compassion for her and the horrible situation she’s in. But then later that night I found out she’s being irresponsible with the baby and frequently asks my sister to watch him on her days with him. Fed up with her lies and feeling used, I called her and told her she needs to put her son before her next, well, boyfriend. She didn’t like it, told me never to call her again and hung up. I haven’t talked to her since. I’m hopeful that before she does much more damage to the relationships she has left, she’ll smarten up and realize that a guy can’t make her happy. That she has to make herself happy and then she’ll find a man to be happy with. But she’s not ready to hear those words of wisdom.

I am able to recognize situations where it’s better to keep my trap shut. About half way through a photo shoot for my company’s annual report, I noticed that the president of the board’s zipper was down. Should I have said something to the septuagenarian? He probably would have passed out from embarrassment (and I knew the photos would be cropped) so I let it go because I didn’t want it to get awkward.

What do you think? Would we save a lot of time and energy if we stopped trying to be nice and started being honest? Do you tell people what they need to hear? Can I tell that girl on the treadmill next to me that she needs to slap on some deodorant?

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2 Comments »

  1. Nicole P. Said:

    Wow, I wish I had the power to tell someone exactly what was in my head instead of totally chickening out or softening the comment 200% to the point that it has no effect (or blogging about what I should have said).

  2. I about died laughing at that last line. I never say what I feel like saying, that’s why I blog. People don’t want the truth, they want to hear what agrees with what they are thinking/doing.


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