Thursday, August 21, 2008

folk tell on themselves (just listen for it)

"i had no idea he/she was like this..."

how many times have you heard this from a friend or even said it yourself? you've been in a relationship with this person for months/years, yet when the break up happens, you're flabbergasted at how shit went down. the person you were with 'turned' into this creature you think you don't know.

hell, i said that very same thing to myself after my marriage imploded. i was like, "damn...i didn't know the cat had it in him". thing is, even after fifteen years of 'knowing' him (eleven as friends), i never paid enough attention to the things about him that clued me into what he was capable of. in my case, i interpreted his actions based on who i thought he was, not realizing i should have let his actions determine my interpretation of him.

frankly, it's a rare thing when the 'having no idea' turns out to be true. perhaps if the folk involved haven't known each other long it's applicable, and even then there are clues offered but can be lost behind the brilliance of the sensations found in a shiny new relationship. i mean, when it's new, folk want to get past the part of getting to know each other and get straight to the mental intimacy which is the prelude to physical intimacy. sharing inner thoughts and life experiences with each other is the fast way to get to the sex and especially in the beginning, the attraction is enough to make folk impatient to get there.

marathon phone conversations, texting from sun up to sun down, emails throughout the day...these have become the new ways of gaining the 'know' on someone real quick-like. words are suddenly more important than action. dude might not have taken you anywhere, but you talk to each other every day on the phone so his interest is believed to be genuine and his intentions are considered honorable. many of us color the 'wanted ones' with ideals they haven't earned, all cuz he/she took some time out of his/her day to text a few words or make a phone call, actions that require little to no effort and frankly, take about as much time as answering correspondence at work.

the point is this...if the words are being used for the monumental task of defining one's character as it pertains to the relationship, then give them the proper scrutiny. alot of this stuff comes over time (which i strongly recommend), but with the warp speed at which folk are meeting and getting together, it's even more important to recognize the intent behind the words. i mean, the actions can't speak louder when there simply isn't a large enough inventory of actions to interpret. the clues are there, we just gotta listen out for them and not get caught up in the extraneous shit like maneuvering to get into the pants or making the person the sun in one's universe cuz we're so very tired of floating out in space alone.

with this in mind, i figure i'd discuss one of the biggest tip-offs in the history of communication. here's the scenario:

she: so how do you feel about a woman making more than a man in a relationship?

he: honestly?


okay...first off, why even begin a sentence with this unless there's a tendency to tell a lie? how ridiculous it looks for a person, when solicited for an answer, to begin with "honestly" as if giving the listener the option of either hearing the truth or a lie. whenever i get this from a guy, i'm instantly on guard, especially if he uses that term alot. i want to just say to him "no, i prefer DIShonestly please..." the speech pattern suggests he/she has to constantly delientate the information communicated into catagories of truth and lies, like he/she's a waiter serving you what he/she wants you to have instead of what you ordered.

when someone uses the terms 'honestly' or 'truthfully', it can mislead the listener because hearing them almost gives one the sense that he/she is being given the key to the person's most innermost thoughts and secrets. i mean, don't you just wanna lean over in a conspirative manner when he/she says that to you, like "ooooweeee! he/she's about to tell me some deep, unknown tidbit about him/herself!"

unfortunately, it's actually the opposite. he/she is either:

a. looking for time to formulate a lie that can pass as the truth or
b. giving you the truth, but it's that rare nugget the person offers knowing it's harmless enough not to offer any actual insight into his/her character or sabotage his/her chances at getting in by making him/her look bad.

i don't think it's done with malicious or self-serving intent most of the time. protective gear is in place when folk meet each other and it doesn't come sliding off just cuz there's an affinity there. sometimes folk want to give all the right answers cuz they fear disagreement will upset the "we're perfect for each other" vibe going on. sometimes a person's self esteem is so low he/she might think if the truth is known the person is gonna bounce.

whatever the reason, best to recognize the tendency early on so you can decide what you're gonna do. some folk are fine with mates who don't tell the truth initially cuz they know how to get the truth out eventually. some folk like the fact that they've got mates who aren't forthcoming with everything because it lends an air of mystery to the situation and they get to 'crack the code' so to speak, thereby making the relationship even more meaningful.

however, if you're not into putting in that kind of work and want the truth with no chaser from jump, it'd probably be in your best interest to step away from the one who uses those terms judiciously. otherwise, be prepared for the end and the reason for it. (hell, some folk just in it for the sex and don't give a shit about the truth anyway...)