Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.
– Natsuki Takaya
Words are powerful. Words touch your heart and make you think and feel things based on what other people say. I usually take people on face value and believe what they say. Is it naive to do that?
As I have been going out on dates with different men, I notice that they are telling me things I want to hear. Or things that they think I want to hear. First dates are about creating an impression and flattery and moves, it seems. Of course, flattery makes everyone happy, at least in the moment. But what about the longer term? Pretenses create distrust and make me apprehensive. I often find myself thinking if I can trust someone for what they are saying, or if they are saying something just for the sake of it, or to make me think or feel a certain a way.
When I go on a date, I am forthright about who I am and my life. I have a ‘this is who I am, take it or leave it’ philosophy. I also talk about my vulnerabilities because I feel that that’s the only way to create genuine connections. I don’t want to pretend to be someone I am not to impress the other person or to make sure that I get to see them again.
My online dating profile says that I’m a feminist. It’s intentional. I have noticed that people come with their own assumptions about who I am and what I am going to be like. I have been called dominating and uptight. If someone knew me for a considerable amount of time, that’s the last thing they would say about me. Next time, if a date brings up feminism, maybe I should ask them what they think feminism or being a feminist means. Sometimes, people ask me that when they chat with me. It’s mostly been men who think that feminists are ‘man haters’, but at least they say something about it, and we don’t waste our time and energy on trying to talk or meet.
Thankfully, there are some people who mean things they say. My best friend N always stands by things that he says. When we met in college, he made a few promises but made sure that he kept them. He wouldn’t commit to something that he was not sure about. This holds true till today – I know he is someone who will always be honest and I can count on him when he says something. Another person I can think of is B. My sisters thought that B ‘sweet talked’ me and I believed things he said. As I meet other people, I notice how different he was. How deliberate he was in choosing the words he used and how he thought about the impact that it would have on the other person. With B, I could trust him for what he was saying because he was always genuine. Interestingly, I recently realized that B never said a straight no to anything. He didn’t force himself to do something he didn’t want to, but he had a convoluted way of saying no. When I asked him about it, he said that he does that for the people he cares for. If someone doesn’t matter, he would say a straight no to their request. But for people that matter, he found polite ways to convey how he felt. I struggled with that a bit towards the end of our relationship. I sometimes like to hear a clear no so that I know where the other person stands.
In my close relationships, I am a blabbermouth, I say whatever comes to my mind. I am genuine and honest because I think we are all already fighting enough battles, why add to them. Instead, I choose to be polite, respectful, and genuine. If the other person appreciates me for who I am, great. If they don’t, then we’re both being saved some time, emotional investment, and heartache. Another thing that I clearly convey is a no so the other person knows where I stand. Since most people don’t think about or understand consent, it’s so important for me to be clear when I communicate. But that is another conversation for another post, I suppose!
What’s your preference? Do you prefer people to be straighforward and call a spade a spade? Or do you prefer a more diplomatic way of things being said?
Ending the post with this cheesy song from my teenage years – Words by Boyzone