Honest - to be or not to be

My post about friendship last week is only one of many around friendship that I’ve been ruminating about for months. Another issue I have with the relationships around me is honesty. And this time, I’m going full on into a Sex and the City (SATC) correlation because I think friendship is just like dating and SATC was a show that was all about dating and even more about friendship. (And also, I just re-watched the episode that applies.)

Think about this: If you give your heart to the wrong person, they will break it (if you’re dating). But who here hasn’t had their heart broken by a friend as well? (Full disclosure: I’m not raising my hand.)

In Season 6 of SATC, there is an episode where one of Carrie’s boyfriends (Berger - the post-it guy) tells the girls that the reason guys don’t call is because they “just aren’t that into you”.

This new information was liberating to Miranda, who was happy to finally know the truth. And apparently a lot of real-life women agreed, because a book was written and now there’s a movie, too. (I would like to clarify that I am not endorsing either of these works by mentioning them here. Read or watch at your own risk.)

I wonder if men have actually turned the tide and started being honest instead of going for an easy let-down. 

Because, you know what? I’m thinking we need to start an honesty crusade. But I don’t care about the dating angle (I am married, after all). I’m more interested in transferring this honesty into the friendship realm.

Not too long ago, my husband and I ran into someone that we hadn’t seen in quite a while. Frankly, I’ve gotten into the habit of avoiding this person. They’ve made it crystal clear that they have no use for us by being as rude as possible nearly every time we have a conversation. This individual belittles my husband and makes fun of him in a not-so-witty way that eventually gets uncomfortable and we aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed the unfunny, even bordering on mean comments. The bottom line - this person isn’t that into us and I can live with that.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we stopped beating around the bush with people and just came right out and said, “You know, I don’t really want to be friends with you.” No need for a reason - just say the words. It saves a lot of time and effort when you don’t have to subtly “get rid” of someone you don’t want to talk to. If you don’t click, you don’t click. End of story.

I guess this goes against the social niceties that we’re brought up to practice and I suppose there are people out there for whom this direct approach would be devastating and hurtful. For myself, I prefer a direct approach. However, it’s probably considered acceptable dishonesty to put up a polite front even when you meet someone you don’t feel any connection with. But I can’t understand why. It’s much more hurtful to be strung along (ah, more dating correlations) and then dumped when the dumper finally can’t stand it anymore. 

It doesn’t bother me that this person doesn’t want to know us, but the pretense that has degraded to awkward and uncomfortable interactions for all of us makes me wish they’d said those words years ago. Then we wouldn’t have developed mutual attachments that have locked us in to this state of awkwardness until it finally fizzles out and dies. There’s no malice. No anger, no hurt or disgruntled feelings on any side. Just excruciating discomfort when we meet.

What do you think? Is honesty a better policy when you know you don’t want to associate with someone (no matter how shallow the reason)? Is it a case of “cruel to be kind” or just plain mean?