Honesty: Why Is It So Difficult?

But I don't want some pretty face to tell me pretty lies. All I want is someone to believe. -Billy Joel

Honesty: Why Is It So Difficult?

I did online dating in 2007 and 2008, and I started online dating again in January, 2015. I am one of those guys who actually reads profiles; I don't just look at the pictures. There are a few things that appear in profiles repeatedly:

1. Single women wants to take long, romantic walks on the beach;

2. Single women want to vist Paris; and

3. Single women all want a man who will be honest with them.

Walks on the beach: Yes, I enjoy it when I do it, which is about once every 2-3 years, and I live within 25 miles of the beach. If all those women were walking on the beach as much as they claim, there would be deep ruts in the sand, access would be rationed, and the beach would be closed once a month for repairs. Perhaps this has been a bit overstated in some profiles.

Paris: I've never been. If I do go to Paris, it will probably happen once in my lifetime. That's the way it is for most people. When you are looking for a mate, why would you make a fuss about a one-time occurrence when there are so many more important things that are in the daily landscape of our lives?

Honesty: This is what I have come to talk about. Virtually every woman says she is looking for an honest man. Why wouldn't a woman say that? Is she going to have a profile that says, "I want a man who tells me big lies so often that I never know what to believe."?

Why are you entitled to have a partner treat you with honesty in a relationship? There is nothing in the Bill of Rights, nothing in the Constitution, nothing in statutory law anywhere that requires a person to be honest with their partner. When the law required that you prove your spouse was at fault if you wanted a divorce, "he lies to me constantly" was not sufficient grounds to have your marriage dissolved.

Honesty is a moral and ethical obligation. You need not be a pious saint nor even a religious person to accept some code of ethics or morality. There are certain aspects of morality and ethics that are universally accepted with any paricular culture and those minimum standards enter into our social contract. That is the understanding we all have that our culture will accept us and allow us to derive the benefits of living within our culture if we, in return, agree to maintain certain minimum standards for our conduct.

Honesty in personal relationships is one of those things that we have some expectation of receiving because that is how our society is constructed. But, by having that expectation, we also assume an obligation to give honesty to our partners. This is one of those rules that seems to be remembered more in its violation than in its observance.

Male: "Hi, this is Troy. Would you like to go see a movie with me Friday night?"

Female: "I'm sorry. I need to wash my hair Friday night."

* * *

Female: (in a text after the first date) "I had a great time! I hope we can do it again soon."

Male: (replying to text) "Me, too, but I'm going be out of town for the rest of this month."

* * *

In both examples, one of the two has no interest in seeing the other one and they use "little white lies" to "avoid hurting the other one." What's wrong with that?

1. Every time you tell a lie, you make it that much easier to tell the next lie.

2. By justifying the lie, you maintain the self-deception that you are an honest person.

3. You have not really spared the other person's feelings. Not only have you rejected them (which is an unavoidable part of the dating experience,) but you have also lied to them, and they know it.

If you justify lies because it is more convenient for you, why should anyone listen to you crying after your next breakup when you caught him lying about his relationship with his previous girlfriend? Guys, if your girlfriend knows that you justify lies when it is convenient for you, you are going to get the same treatment from her.

Most of us will not change the course of human events in this world, but each of us can improve our little corner of the planet. Stop accepting the excuses you give yourself and start being honest - completely honest - in your relationships. It takes a little more effort initially but it becomes easier with practice, you'll feel much better about yourself, and maybe you will become a role model for your friends and acquaintances.


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What Girls Said 6

  • Good one. Sure, we should all strive to be "completely honest." Let me give you some honesty on that. This entire world is built on a pile of lies. There are 23 lies staring you in the face right now in whatever room you're in that you've already consciously accepted. On a global scale, people lie so much and so frequently that sometimes you are even unaware you are lying. It's that deeply ingrained in us as human beings. What people really want is not pure unbridled honesty flowing from their partners; what they want, and what they accept is you not lying about say wanting to get married, or that you have an STD, or that guy you ran into was really your ex husband. People should strive not to lie about things that will definitely F-up your life, like cheating. Better yet, just don't cheat. You and your partner may think you both are the most honest people in the world, but the only person you can ever truly be truthful with and honest with is yourself because you know what you can handle and understand... and even you and everyone else lies to yourself, so what does that tell you? If you need further proof, how many times have you been asked by your partner, "how are you?" and how many times have you simply replied, "fine," rather then explaining how you really feel, and that's not even a hard question.

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  • I wish I was 100% honest but it is so damn difficult, actually, I've never met someone who is totally honest.

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  • White lies are all about ego, from the white-liar. This is true for men and women. If they go out on a date or one person shows interest, for some reason, the person uninteresting thinks that have to protect the poor person's fragile little heart from breaking because they're just soooOOooo desirable. This is all sort of going through their heads in a fleeting moment, so to save potential heartbreak - which is usually what people do and often say, "I didn't want to hurt the guy! He seemed to really like me," they will say something to get them out of the moment that has nothing to do with actual rejection.

    Men do it to, and will say something equally as belittling to women because they are fearful the girl's heart will be broken. That's when you get in to the big dramatic stuff afterward like, "Hey you are such a great person, and you will meet someone who really cares for you because you're just so awesome in so many ways..." Like, please, spare me the syrup! People who are rejected from first dates or not even given a chance for first date don't need to be treated like poor little souls who are incapable of moving on.

    But for the egoist, they think they have to make this effort to save the person's feelings and heart from breaking because they figure they were the hopes that that person had.

    Now.. aside from all of that, it could also be fear from the person that they don't want to reject and get stalked or harassed right after, so letting them down easy so they can fizzle out of the situation might be a defense-mechanism. But they don't even know the person, so it's hard for them to assume that someone just trying to be nice is automatically assumed to be a lunatic.

    Great myTake, and I loved your reasoning with Paris. What an idiotic thing to put on a profile. I remember one time making up a profile out of frustration with making "real" ones and just described myself as someone who snores, tends to be indecisive, may want sex on the first date, hogs the blankets, and doesn't want to be a mommy to any single dad's kids and a few other things I thought for sure would be dealbreakers. You'd be surprised how many hits I had on that description, and what's scary is that it was all honest. I thought if my negative traits were just aired out there right away then it won't be a shock when they find them out. Plus, why list all your good shit? Like, who cares? We all can handle good shit. What I wanted to know is what drama and flaws am I in for?

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    • Sorry my error in the second sentence should be "the uninterested".

    • Show All
    • I have spent a fair amount of time on those sites and most of my time was spent separating the wheat from the chaff, but I have found a few gems that I treasured very much. I thought that women spent way too much time talking about their love for travelling, which makes them sound like high maintenance women. If I see one more picture of a woman standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, I'll barf!!!

    • Well, being a woman, I hadn't browsed too many women's profiles. I did only very little of that when I wanted to see what other women were doing for profiles, in order to make mine stand out. Basic rule of thumb was DON'T do the pouty duckfacing, and don't mention walks on the beach. I was pretty sure that's what did it. I looked and sounded nothing like those women just by being normal.

  • I went into my first ever relationship with a full disclosure policy. The boy I was seeing at the time clearly did not have the same idea. On several occasions he told completely transparent "white lies" (geared towards a particular outcome), and then expected to be forgiven because he later owned up to doing it. In fairness, I wasn't entirely honest myself because I didn't tell him where to shove it and that lying (poorly) had been the dealbreaker. He later lied (again, badly) to try and "get me back", coupled with borderline stalkerish behaviour. It was a very unpleasant way to end something and for a while I was petrified of what somebody could do with the amount of personal information he had on me. Let's just say that cured me of having to be honest. (I did, eventually, end up blurting out that I would never like to see or hear from him again thank you very much.)

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    • Are you saying that you have justified not being honest in relationships now?

    • I no longer feel the need to be so open that my guts fall out, or to give people information which gives them a hold over me. I suppose in that way I'm lying by omission, giving out the need-to-know information only. I like to think that I'm otherwise honest, but maybe that's self-deception. At any rate I never give a compliment I don't mean!

    • Okay, I wasn't sure what you meant initially. Now I know, I can respond.

      There is a difference between simply being honest and telling your darkest secrets on a first date. Being careful and discreet about how soon you confide secrets to a new love interest is smart and that doesn't require lies. If you don't want to go out with someone, you don't need to tell them because they remind of the uncle who molested you when you were 14, but you don't need to lie and say, "Oh, I'm sorry, but I need to shampoo my hair Friday night!" You can just say, "I'm sorry but I know enough about you to realize that we wouldn't work."

      As long as you are not telling lies, or omitting important facts in a way that deliberately misleads someone, then you deserve to think of yourself as an honest person.

  • You hit the nail on the head here. i don't know how many times I've tried to emphasize the importance of honesty especially in relationships. My father always taught me to think of a relationship like a house. Every house needs a foundation. This foundation may vary but typically consists of honesty, trust and mutual respect. And, just like a house, if you have no foundation, the relationship will crumble and be no more

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  • I wish people were more honest because I hate being led on. There's a difference between being honest and being brutally honest, if you're not interested then just tell them.

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    • Right! If I don't feel any attraction to a girl, I can tell her that I don't think we are a good match. I don't need to tell her that I think she is butt ugly. But it's wrong to tell her "I'll call you in a few days" if I have no intention of doing so.

What Guys Said 12

  • It has been my experience that, the women that say they want an honest man. Are the one that, lie mislead and misrepresent themselves the most.

    I am at a stage of my life where I am honest and tell it like it is, I also call the bs when I see or hear it.

    I don't go for the white lie bs either, if I do not intend to see someone again I tell them. Leading someone on, to not hurt their feelings usually ends up hurting them more that being honest with them.

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  • All I know is that if a friend, date, or person in general says shit like I always tell the truth, I never lie, I don't bullshit, etc especially early on then you know they're full of shit. If people have to advertise themselves as something, usually they aren't.

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    • You got that right! And when their statement begins with, "Well, to tell you the truth, . . ." you can bet that what they tell you isn't the truth.

  • I concurr whole heartedly. Besides which I think there are usually more tactifull ways of expressing your thoughts then blatent lies. Maybe thats why people do it, they don't know how to properly express there thoughts with out looking mean.

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  • People feel guilty being honest, you know, how they really feel ^^. They can't tell that annoying person to leave them alone. They just continue to smile, and look happy to see you, just to appear nice. Some, if you ask for it, will hand out their number. The saddest part, especially if its a girl, that girl will hug you, even give you a small peck on the cheek, Just To be Nice. -_-

    People always avoid what is most difficult and its easier to create a lie and fake empathy then to really say "get away from me, or your fu#king annoying." Nope people have trouble doing this, because they feel obligated to be kind, to make the person they are lying to feel comfortable. Its all bullshit

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    • Do you think maybe it is related to how we teach children to get along and play together when they are little?

    • No. I think it has to do with someone not wanting to be known as a "bitch, or a douche." So they lead you on and fake something, so people will say "oh she's so nice," when in reality they are not. Its worse when a girl gets a boyfriend, and has a boyfriend speak for her... or another girl to speak for her. Its pathetic. And men do it now just as much as women. "Get out of my face" is a very rare reaction.

      That's why everyone is so "Busy" all the time. Busy isn't busy. Its the same as saying "Its not you its me." Of course its you... by saying they are busy, they are really thinking, "get out of my life."

  • I agree so much of this that I had to plug the movie "The Invention of Lying" to help make this case. Yes we can get hurt by pure honesty, but why lie your way to an even more painful conclusion?

    http://youtu.be/vn71hYvyqCA

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    • Is it easier to see this point at our age or has our culture changed that much? Looks like a great movie!

  • I'm always honest. When people ask me something i don't think they are going to want to know the answer to I give them a chance to back out, "Do you understand what you are asking and are you certain you want the answer?"

    People stop asking me questions after awhile, it's great!.

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  • Being honest with women has hurt me in the past. I find that most (but not all) women prefer to live in a fantasy land of unicorns and rainbows. Considering how so many of them are just running around getting their hair done, nails done and gossiping with their friends I know I'm not too far off the point.

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    • Certainly there are women who fit the pattern you described. How do you feel about women lying to you?

  • nothing wrong with lying. l

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  • Honesty is so difficult, because some people can't handle the truth, even/especially if it's brutal. "You can't handle the truth!!!" It's almost as if people really believed what Jack Nicholson said in "A Few Good Men".

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  • I agree it's much better to tell a guy you're not interested then to keep responding to his texts only for him to realize you either never plan to meet him or you just don't know how to tell him you're not interested so you decide to waste two or three more weeks of texting back and forth only for him to realize that 1. You're never going on another date with him and two he wasted tons of time and energy texting you for the last three weeks that he could have spent doing something else.

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    • And they try to justify it by saying they are protecting our feelings. But. . . guys do dishonest things, too!

    • I agree many men play games with girls, and that's probably part of the problem with how many girls treat guys, but there are a lot of guys out there who are truly looking for relationships and aren't just out there to fuck a girl over.

  • For me, it's really hard to tell the truth, but after I tell it, it feels good. It hurts a little but it feels good.

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    • Keep practicing the truth and become a man of integrity! It feels good to look in the mirror and feel proud of the man you're looking at.

    • Thanks. If I lie, I feel sick inside and the Holy Spirit convicts me, so I tell the truth to keep from feeling guilty.

  • I appreciate your writing. Thanks.

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