Recently I heard a radio ad about a new cell phone service designed to rescue you from a bad first-date.
It works like this:
At a preplanned time, a cell-company-automated-system will call you, and unbeknownst to your date, walk you through a script, making it sound like you have to leave in the middle of your date to handle something important.
When I heard the ad, the back-up DJ on the radio commented “That’s a great idea… really.”
My reaction was strongly negative.
Why not just be honest? I’ve written and presented a lot about honesty and I still believe that honesty is only painful when it’s withheld. Why not say any of the following during the date?
- I’m feeling uncomfortable being here, so I’d like to go now.
- I’m not feeling a good enough connection with you to want to stay.
- As we’ve spent this time together, I’m aware that I just don’t click with you.
- Meeting you has been great, but you are not what I’ve been looking for.
- It’s been nice meeting, but I’m gonna head on out now.
Those are simple.
Granted, they are not easy to do, but they are simple. And they are honest. I’m asking you if it’s better to string the person along to get a free meal and withhold and lie? I don’t think so.
I keep craving honesty to the depth of my being and keep moving toward it, and as I do, my life continues to improve and I feel more and more free.
Recently, a client, in a very tender place in a therapy session asked me what I thought about her. Without the specifics, I can say it was difficult to say what was true for me, but when faced with a decision of being honest or possibly having someone (my client) react to my opinion/statement/belief, these days, I want them to know the truth and who I really am. Yes, she did react strongly and with tears to my opinion, but in the end it worked out so much better, as she had the chance to go through a process of looking deeper inside and growing, instead of missing the opportunity because I covered up my truth, out of fear of her reaction – this is at the core of Humanistic Existential Psychotherapy and demonstrates the therapist’s use of self.
She was able to be in her pain and discomfort without being judged or abandoned by me, and as a result, she gained an amazing insight into her fear of judgment from others, and her self-judgment.
It wouldn’t have happened if I had withheld the depth of my truth.
Copyright © 2004 Russell Wilkie, MFT