Honesty is such a vital part of relationships.    It is the foundation for what people build their trust and comfort level on.  At least those who do not come through the door with massive trust issues to begin with.  But not just in deep and committed relationships is honesty a good thing.  With just passing acquaintances, honesty lends itself to a directness that people can appreciate……  Or at least they claim to appreciate.  When I appreciate something that someone has done for me I usually say Thanks..Good Looking Out….I appreciate It.  But when someone is delivering honest words that happen to not be so much what someone wants to hear, we never really see people respond with any measure of “thankfulness”.  Usually it turns out to be more like feisty, furrowed brow vitriol! 

By my own admission I am a cream puff when it comes to having to deliver bad news.  Especially to a woman.  With guys I take their sensitive feelings with much less compassion.  But when it comes to ladies, all my life,I have struggled to tell her that I am not really interested.  It is literally an anxiety thing.  My heart rate elevates, my palms get clammy and I generally just avoid it as much as I can.  I am being totally and shamefully honest when I say that I will play dumb to a womans advances quick, rather than to tell her NO straight out.  I will be short over text and not return calls with any frequency in the hopes that she will just get the hint and fade to black.  I have even had women verbally drop their papers right in front of me.   Only to  act blind like I am Stevie Wonder in front of a stop sign.  A large part of that comes from some strange desire that I always have to not be viewed as a bad guy.  As someone who initiates someone else’s discomfort or pain.  And in my younger days that  “Mr. Nice Guy” routine got me strong armed into a few situations with women that I really did not want to be in.  I was Deebo’d into a couple of dates that I wasn’t quick enough to get out of.   And in an all time low moment in my life I had a girl jump in my face and shove her tongue down my throat.  (Just to type that brings up the remembrance of that mouth to mouth violation for me and now I feel dirty all over again)   But the things that I have put up with at the sake of avoiding honesty seem to really be worth it.  Because some of the things that I  have heard in response to being honest have been so crippling to me.  What you mean You aren’t interested!  Who hell do you think you?!  You definitely ain’t all that!  What the fuck, are you gay?!  What kind of man are you?  I should have known….who has a name like Jackson!  Now you’re laughing right now but I have heard all of this type of stuff before.  I have gone from having a woman talk to me with the sweetest voice with the  kindest intentions to sounding like the actress Tasha Smith in one of her stereotypical black girl rants in a buffoonish Tyler Perry flick.  And those sorts of encounters unnerve me.  I am not gonna say STFU and kick rocks bitch!  I am not gonna say, you are lucky I didn’t bang your mediocre ass for sport and never call you again.  I am not going to say, I have dated girls that blow you out the water.  Did you really think you had a shot?   Those are harsh and evil words that make me feel like an arrogant prick.  And I never want to come off as it if I think I am better than anyone.  But they are certainly some of the choice cliché’s that come to mind when I am attacked for being what I thought was respectful and sensitive to a woman’s feelings.  Delicately honest, in the hopes that she can see it as me not wasting her time.  Because time after time this is what I hear women say that they want.  They do not want someone to waste their time.  That is sensible and practical.  No need for a woman to have delusions of what could possibly come to pass if she wants forever and he’s thinking more like tonight.  But as usual there is often times a disconnect between what people say that they want and what they actually do when they get it.  After a couple of dates with a cool girl a couple of years ago, she started to put her foot on the gas and move in a direction that I was not cool with.  She was a nice girl, and instead of me feeding into her advances and taking things with her to a physical level I bowed out because I was not really into her like that.  So I delicately said to her, “Listen Keish…. you are a great girl and super cool but I just don’t see you like that.  I don’t really want to go there with you because I think it would send the wrong message about where it would go after that…….”  True story…I said those exact words!  And me thinking that I am a wordsmith of Christopher Marlowe proportions, I was literally thinking that I would get a thankful response to that. 

Keisha:  Well….thanks for telling me that.  I am a bit embarrassed but I appreciate the fact that you were honest.

Perfect world, that’s what she would have said and to this day we could still be cool.  But that was just not my reality that day.  The words that she said to me are not worth me repeating because sometimes my mother probably reads this blog.  Let’s just say that the tongue lashing was fierce.  And despite the fact that I had a barrage of equally scathing words to throw back in her face, my built-in gentleman switch kicked in and I just walked away while she was losing her cool. 

But those encounters are so unbearable for me.  They shouldn’t be but they are.  I haven’t figured out whether I hate those moments so much more so because I do not like feeling like the bad guy or because I cannot bring myself to scream on or curse out a woman.  Either way I stay trying to duck those situations.  Ultimately though it just calls to question the validity of those cliché opinions that we throw around about honesty.  We all want the truth but we all can’t handle the truth.  And we do not make it any easier for people to tell us the truth when instead of thank you responses we give off manifestations of our shame or hurt.  Who wants to ever tell the truth when people give you grief instead of thank yous for your trouble? 

Before I get dirty emails about condoning people being dishonest, let me state directly that such an opinion is not my message.  But we all have to foster an environment where honesty is not met with disgust and defensiveness.  We all get bent out of shape when we hear ugly truths about ourselves but control yourself.  And don’t wait until a week has passed by for you to see the benefits of that honesty.  Otherwise you are going to get less and less straight answers and more and more sidestepping commentary with people who are scared of your Kanye-like outburst that is sure to follow when your girlfriend gives you an honest assessment of your sex-game.  #imjustsayin

Jackson.Bracey@gmail.com

@jacksonbracey

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