February 2, 2012

A Contradictory Life

I've been thinking lately.  I'm not a totally honest person. And I don't mean that I am a pathological liar or a thief. I just mean that sometimes, particularly hard times, I am less than sincere.

Chances are, if you ran into me and asked me how I was doing, my answer would be, "Good."  Even if I'm not doing good.  Even if two of my kids threw up that morning or we were completely out of money because of an unexpected expense or. . . or. . . . or

My list could go on but you get the picture. Why do I do that?  My justification is, Well, no one really wants to hear about the unbearable cramps being the reason that I am currently standing in the pharmacy section of Target, searching for Midol.  They just asked me to be polite. But here's the thing:  I have good friends who ask me the same question, and I'm pretty sure that they are asking because they care, rather than out of common courtesy, and you know what?  I give them the same answer.

Sometimes I feel like there is exactly one woman who truly knows me, and that is simply because we are living parallel lives.  I tell her things that I tell no one else, because she truly understands.  And sometimes I wonder if maybe, just maybe, when those friends ask me how I'm doing, if I answered fully and truthfully, that I might find more women who's lives are much like mine.  But, for now, I'm going to have to find the wizard first.  I don't know if I have the courage to lose those friends.


Barbaloot said...

I always answer 'good' automatically. And then sometimes I walk away thinking, "wait...that's not right. I'm not good. Why don't I think before I speak?"

heather said...

Dear Rachel,

Clearly I am being the crappiest of crappy friends because you are obviously going through something that I'm not aware of...

You can dump on me anytime you'd like. Seriously.


Melinda said...

I pretty much tell people how I'm doing if its about me, like the cramps thing, I would probably in a heartbeat tell my friends I was on my period. If we were flat broke I don't think I'd say that, money makes people uncomfortable. But otherwise I try to tell people how I feel without being whiney or complainy, more like jokey. ;) And this is why: when other people do that, get real and say they're not perfect and their life has problems, I LOVE them, I immediately feel connected to them. I get so tired of people pretending their lives are absolutely perfect and nothing even remotely uncomfortable happens to them. What, you don't get a period? Does that make me less than you if I do? Should I be ashamed? It took me a LOOONG time to start feeling good about myself and stop caring what other people think, and now I just don't care about being judged about who I am. (Sometimes this is still very hard!) :) But if I can help someone else not feel bad about themselves because I can be honest about who I am, I'll do it. If that makes sense? (Also, I'm not saying you are pretending your life is perfect by not telling people, I was meaning that a lot of people want to come off as perfect, so when people act real, I really appreciate it. I hope that didn't sound offensive. Yikes.)
And honestly, a lot of people really do want to know how you're doing, and I can barely believe you would lose people for being honest, if anything you would get closer because they could really know who you are. If they don't like you, you wouldn't want them as friends anyway. OR look at this way, if YOU asked someone how they were doing and they told you the truth, would it make you not like them? No, you would want to help them or be there for them, most people are the same.
Alright, novel over. ;)

Melinda said...

Oh p.s. I'm totally on my period right now. Just so ya know. ;)

Rochelle Brunson said...

Wow, can I just pretend I'm as eloquent as Melinda and say dido? Be yourself and tell the truth, if your friends don't stick around then they weren't really your friends in the first place. The " plenty of fish in the sea" phrase doesn't only apply to potential mates, but to friends as well.

SpencernAmy said...

I do the same as Barbaloot .... And once or twice, with close friends, I have ended up correcting myself and we've had a good laugh about how silly we humans are. I found a new "BFF" -- or the adult equivalent anyway -- by doing that. She appreciated my honesty and felt she could tell me how she is really feeling, too.

I have to say, though, that I am also guilty of using 'how are you' as a way to say 'hello'. So when the person answering lied and said, 'good' when obviously not, I didn't dig deeper.... I am a terrible person...

Lara said...

I think we all do this.

And I think it's okay. Nobody wants to be a complainer, and as long as there are one or two friends to whom you can REALLY lay it out, it's all good.

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