Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Cold Hard Truth

We all know its better to be honest with the person or even the people you're dating. After all, you'd expect the same treatment and let's face it, no one likes being lied to. But exactly how honest should you be? Is there a time when you can be too honest? Exactly how cold and how hard should you be when telling the truth?

Let's assume here that all of us are going to be perfectly honest with the people we date. We want to open up, share our lives, interests, thoughts, etc. And of course, we want the guy or woman in question to do the same. This is all well and good. Things start getting a little tricky when it comes to opinions. Again, there's really no sense in lying but what if you really think along very contradicting lines? What if, and this is more pertinent to the guys, she asks you what you think of her outfit and you hate it? Wat if one of you loves cats/dogs/fish/ferrets/iguanas and the other freaks out at the sight of them?

Not all is lost. There are some nifty little ways to maneuver your way around these conversation killers. Okay, let's be honest and call them what they are: white lies. Otherwise known too diplomats everywhere as tact and diplomacy. And while it does take some practicing to pull off convincingly, its not as hard as you'd think. Here are some scenarios and the little diffusers which you can try.

You're talking to a guy/girl and your mind's been wandering and you've not actually heard a word for the past five minutes. And they've noticed it.

You're definitely caught in this one so don't try lie your way out and say you were listening. Whatever you say, do not mention the word bored. Graciously admit that you weren't really listening and apologize. You don't want your date to think you're being overly rude. Say something along the lines of you having a lot on your mind, work or personal problems can often cause this anyway. Don't spin some outrageous yarn, keep it simple. If you did switch off because you don't feel yourself clicking, then wait for a bit and say that due to these problems, you've also been getting very little sleep and would like to excuse yourself early. Make sure you let them know you've enjoyed yourself before taking off, but add that you're not sure if you can see anything coming out of it. You can add that age old, "its not you, its me" line but its so cliched, is doubtful if its that believable anymore.

She (or he) asks what you're thinking. You're thinking of sex with her/him/someone else.

Well, if you're thinking that you'd like to hop into bed with your date, then that's great. Especially if the attraction is mutual. However, that does not give you carte blanche to just say, "yeah, I'm thinking of screwing you senseless tonight." As flattering as it may seem, in some twisted way, its incredibly tactless and will either illicit a laugh or a slap. If its a laugh, you may still have hope of having that romp but if its the latter, you can kiss your chances goodbye. But back to matters at hand, you can make up some completely fabricated thing that you were thinking of. Or if you were thinking of shagging him/her, say something like, "I was just thinking that you're very nice, I find myself very attracted to you and I was wondering if this could go somewhere if you felt the same way." Compliments never fail to help one's cause. But depending on the person, you may be able to get away with saying you'd like to have sex with them. I think most people would take it as a compliment. I said most, not all. If you're thinking of sex with someone else, its time to make up some story again. Or just say you weren't thinking of anything in particular and leave it at that. I would suggest of thinking of an excuse to leave at this point, since you're obviously no that interested in the person you're with.

You feel that he/she has crap taste in music/movies/books

This is really an easy one. Just don't say that whatever they like is pure, unadulterated shit of the first order. Simply state that you're not that keen on whatever it is and then give examples of what it is that you do like. You may suggest that they try it but don't force them. Just don't come across as being superior because that will not win you any brownie points and will most probably result in an argument.

She bought a new outfit. You absolutely hate it.

Probably the bane of every male out there. What does a man do to not get into trouble but to also ensure she doesn't wear that again? Okay, I admit, pretty tricky. We all know what women can be like when it comes to her clothes, especially a new outfit. Firstly, don't trash the outfit. Saying something like, "its interesting" or "its not bad" probably won't be enough to keep you out of trouble. You'll have to decide if you want to full-out lie on this one or if you want to go with the truth. For those of you with the balls to take the latter, but prepared for a little sulking. But butter her up as well. Tell her how gorgeous she looks in (insert other outfit) and how you love her wearing that. Then compare it with the clothes you hate and say they don't flatter her as much. Or something along those lines. If this is the first time your meeting, my suggestion is to say she looks nice after greeting her and say as little about her clothes as possible. Then pray she doesn't ask you about it.

You love dogs, she loves cats.

This is common and not that hard to get around. So long as you don't say you absolutely despise cats (or any other animal in question) you'll be fine. Most people are either more partial to cats or dogs anyway. Just treat the moggy nicely when you do meet it. Expect the same when your date meets your pet. If he or she stays as far away from it as possible and shrinks whenever it comes close, then maybe its not going to work out. While we're on this subject, when it comes to insects as pets, all bets are off.

You meet his/her friends and family for the first time and you didn't really get along very with someone close to them.

Before this molehill develops into a mountain, keep in mind that it takes time to get to know someone. Its okay if you and the cousin, or sibling, or best friend, etc didn't really get along at the first meeting. Besides, its never that easy meeting everyone else in his or her life. If asked, just say you didn't feel there was enough time and opportunity to really get to know so-and-so. If you've already decided that whoever-it-is hasn't a clue and is close-minded and judgmental, just say that you feel you have a rather different outlook compared to them. Don't sling insults, its immature and will not paint you in a good light.

You've been dating a month or so and go out for a night with the girls or boys. You get absolutely trashed and share a drunken pash with a stranger. Or, to go a step further, you have a drunken one night stand.

Don't you just hate it when this happens? Let's tackle this a step at a time. First, the kiss. I suppose that is forgivable. Not that anyone should make a habit of doing it. You haven't been dating for very long and I guess it depends on whether or not you were exclusively dating or still seeing other people. If its the latter, then all is good. If it's the former then make sure it never happens again. If you have to tell the person you're dating, make it clear to them that it was a one-off that you regret and be prepared to take steps so that you won't actually repeat it. For instance, try not drinking so much when you go out. Or make sure you have a friend who will not be getting plastered who can keep an eye on you.

Now, what happens if you wake up in bed with a stranger? Again, if you are not dating exclusively then its not so much of a problem. Though you might still want to watch the drinking as you never know who you'll wake up with and more dangerously, what you'll wake up with. If you are a 'proper' couple, explaining this one away is going to be very, very tough. Personally, I'd never accept being too drunk as an excuse. If you're going out with someone, you have a responsibility not to do anything to hurt the other person. That includes knowing when to stop drinking, especially if you know that you are liable of losing control over what you do when you are drunk. So do you tell or not? I can't answer this one for you. What would you gain in telling your partner? If you know its something that won't ever be repeated then maybe keep quiet about it. If you feel the need to come clean, be ready to accept that you're going to be in the doghouse for a fair bit of time. Things like this cause the lost of trust and that trust will have to be built up over time again. So my advice for this one is to not get into the situation in the first place. If you do, it may be best to say nothing and make sure you behave from now on.

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