01 October 2009

"Beautiful liar" --Beyonce & Shakira

(Yes, yes, I'm still here. Thanks for putting down some newspapers and a bowl of kibble. Mmm, kibble. By the way, that whole thing about adding water to make a gravy? Pretty much just wet kibble.)

I recently had someone I work with tell me, in confidence, that he really admired Mary, because Mary might hate you and you'd never know it as Mary would give no indication of her true feelings.

I find that bizarre. First, because I've met Mary and liked Mary and worked with Mary many times and now I find myself wondering what the heck she thinks of me. Guess I'll never know for sure. Secondly, the fact that he really admired this trait was more than a little off-putting. At least I had enough political savvy not to share my negative reaction with him. But I wasn't about to agree with him.

The whole thing reminded me of Shakespeare:
"Why, I can smile,
and murder whiles I smile,

And cry 'Content!' to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,

And frame my face to all occasions."

Where it is politically expedient to be able to do such a thing, I am not an admirer of all things political. Even in this town. Perhaps if I had developed Mary's capacity for duplicity, I might embrace lying more. Maybe.

But to what end?

I've had someone else tell me that no one sees the real her, except her husband. She told me this with great pride.

I can't relate. I am blunt. I am honest. Sometimes--oh, who am I kidding--often to a fault. Where I do at times exercise discretion, I don't really want to live a life where I'm hiding my thoughts constantly. But maybe that's a naive attitude.

Which brings us to today's question: How honest are you in your day to day life? If you had to put a percentage on it, what would it be? And, finally, if you had the power to be, would you be like Mary?


Hannah said...

Funny I was thinking about this earlier, because I'm very honest like you and don't hide things very well. But to have a peaceful work environment, you pretty much have to fake liking people you can't stand.

So to answer your question, I am very honest outside of work and am trying to 'pretend' better at work.

f.B said...

My face is apparently a dead give-away. So I've stopped trying to use discretion except when absolute necessary, because what I'm thinking is usually already known.

Mike said...

Honesty is the best policy. Right after keeping your mouth shut.

Kate said...

In AA they tell us to make amends only if the other person won't be hurt. So, if I actively despise someone (something that AA tells me NOT to do) it wouldn't be in their best interest to tell them.

However, I'm pretty sure my body language speaks all on it's own.

J said...

I am a terrible liar. But I am almost always *more* than cordial to people, no matter how much I dislike them.

However, sometimes I don't even fake it. Normally this is because I don't feel like it, but I think I may have been a little *too* open on a job interview once.. Sigh. if only they knew..

The Bug said...

I have no poker face - but that's ok because I can't remember anything either. I'll be "hmm - I think I'm supposed to hate her but I can't remember why - guess I'll just have to be nice until I figure out why I shouldn't be."

Alex said...

I much prefer people who say what's on their mind. Life's just too short.

Barbara said...

I'm just not a very good liar. My face and my body language would give me away every time if I tried to hide my true feelings. Who are those people really fooling anyway?

Bowie Mike said...

I keep it real with the people in my immediate group. We sometimes get annoyed with each other, and we laugh about it later.

When it comes to interacting with other groups in the company, my motto is that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. It's sometimes important to be in the good graces of the people in accounting, for example, when you need to get that expense reimbursement processed. But there is a limit to my cheery disposition when things start to go wrong.

Cyndy said...

I get very uncomfortable when I find myself disliking someone. I usually try extra hard to be nice, or at least polite, in the hope that they'll respond in a way that will help me to like them more. The other alternative is to avoid them altogether, which is a lot easier and often preferable. So I guess I'm not very honest with people I don't like and it's probably mostly because I don't trust them. Go figure.

Tina said...

I'm normally pretty good and hiding when I am hurt. The "softer side of me" does not get shared with very many people. But aside from that I'm pretty darn open and blunt. If I don't like someone at work chances are they know it. I am professional and polite (well mostly) but I do not make any effort to add friendly to that.

I do try to be careful of the feelings of people I cionsder friends and at least aware of the feelings of strangers but if I know and don't like you - well why would I waste my time?

Little Ms Blogger said...

I don't fake sincerity. Never had, never will.

My old VP told me I should try 'sucking up' more (he knows me well) and I said sure, but do you really want me to mess with someone or be sincere?

Like you, I am who I am. If truly annoyed, I just shut my mouth, but I won't lie. People know if they don't want to hear the truth they won't ask me an opinion.

Personally, I hate people I need a secret decoder ring to figure out their true feelings. I just want to lock them all in one big room and have them torture one another.

Liebchen said...

I'm all for having a "game face" if necessary. Or rather, I would be if I could. I'm pretty much an open book.

That said, I also don't believe in 100%, all the time, brutal honesty. I believe in little white lies, from time to time, even though it has potential to come back and bite me in the ass.

lacochran said...

Hannah: Are you the one planting these thoughts in my head? (Don't stop. I was just curious.)

f.B: It seems to work for you.

Mike: Your mother dresses you funny. What was that second part again?

Kate: I guess it's only really amends if you sincerely want to repair the damage.

J: You mean there was even more you could have shared?

The Bug: Lucky you. I never forget a slight.

Alex: Well put. It's certainly more interesting.

Barbara: You and me?

Bowie Mike: Everybody has limits.

Cyndy: Trust is the bottom line.

Tina: It does seem pointless.

Little Ms Blogger: Now, that would make entertaining television.

Liebchen: Probably wise. Brutal honesty can be... brutal.

spleeness said...

I tend to be pretty good-natured at work. It's rare that I just really dislike someone. Even if someone's off-putting, I'll give them space and stay away, but won't think poorly of them, just that we don't mix well or maybe they don't like me, and I won't take it personally. But all that said, no, I cannot lie. I have been blunt when necessary.

I would NOT want to be like Mary, and would feel uncomfortable working with someone like that!

Maya said...

I'm WAY too honest for my own good. That is why I don't do well in the political/corporate world! I tell it like it is and people often don't want to hear that.

Titania said...

I am definitely not like Mary. Actually, I don't even need to talk... many times, by bosses, coworkers and friends I have been scolded just because my face/eyes give me away right away. Can't fake it...