“She told me explicitly that she didn’t want a gift. All she wanted was a nice card with some thought put into it.”
“Adam, you know how women are. She says that, but she doesn’t mean it.”
Over the past two years, it’s no secret that I’ve gone through a bit of a reawakening, to use a really douchey term, in my life. By relaxing my need to constantly control every aspect of my life, I’ve been able to enjoy myself in social scenarios significantly more (usually by drinking girly drinks). I’ve lost 150 pounds (and still need to lose another 60). I’ve started pursuing the potential of a career in comedy (and the potential of grossing out thousands of people instead of the tens of people I do now), and, most importantly, I’ve embraced the concept of honesty and trust.
It’s been said better by people who are better at self-analysis than I am, but this is about what I’ve learned and how I’ve decided to change the way that I live.
I am only responsible for my words, thoughts, and actions. I will be honest with others with regards to my motivations, desires, and needs, and I will trust that others will be honest with me.
That’s the simple way of putting it. Here’s the complicated way:
It is an absolute mind-fuck to live your life in such a way that you constantly interpret what people say through a filter. If you operate under the assumption that what you are being told is not the same as the intentions of the person telling you, you get caught up in a maelstrom of assumptions, suppositions, fallacies, and lies.
One perfect example of this is the world of dating. If you were to rely on Maxim or Cosmopolitan for dating advice, you, whether you’re male or female, would be inundated with tips on “how to play the game”:
- Don’t appear too interested
- Wait two days to call after a date
- Never be the last reply in a text conversation
- Let a guy change his FB status to “in a relationship” before you do
- He doesn’t want to hear the details of your entire day
- Be an asshole so that she’ll come crawling to you
I despise these rules, and as I wrote earlier, I think that open communication is the key to everything. If two people, whether they’re married, dating, friends, or even just two strangers on the street, can speak openly, trusting that the other person will be honest with his or her needs, wants, complaints, or concerns, we would be able to avoid misunderstandings and get a hell of a lot more accomplished.
That’s an impossible scenario, though, and I’m okay with that, because, as I said, I am only responsible for my thoughts, actions, and words. And I choose to be the type of person who will say what he means, mean what he says, and expect that same behavior from someone else. I will take you at your word when you say something, and I will not assume that you mean something opposite but are unwilling to be honest.
I never thought that I’d be someone who found value in honesty. I can read people extremely well and have the potential to be tremendously manipulative. But there’s a level of stress involved with maintaining a network of lies and half-truths in order to continue to control everything around you, and it’s not a stress that I want as a part of my life. I sleep like a baby, with a clear conscience, and I like it this way.
And in conclusion: Mom, I know you don’t read this (although you might, Dad), but if you tell me that you don’t want a gift and all you want is a card, I’m going to pick out an awesome card that has a nice sentiment and I’m going to write a nice message in it, and that’s what you’re going to get for Mother’s Day. Because I trust that you’ll be honest with me and tell me what you really want.