I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I am a naturally curious person. If you have ever had the displeasure of sitting across from me over coffee you are fully aware that I will pepper you with questions about your life. Don’t like to share? Too bad. I have honed the ability to make people unknowingly share their secrets and troubles. Because while yes, I am curious – I also like feeling that I might be able to make a little bit of a difference in your life.
She sat across from me and briefly told me about her dating life.
“And one guy had a girlfriend.” She said, “I even asked him if he had a girlfriend. I gave him a way out. I gave him a chance to be honest.”
I responded, “You didn’t give him the chance to be honest, you gave him an opportunity to lie.”
I asked her if she would have left had he admitted he was dating someone and she said yes so I told her that of course he would lie. He was sitting across from an intelligent and beautiful woman who would most likely walk away if she found out the truth so yes, he lied to maximize the potential of getting something out of her. A relationship, a hook up, a friend – whatever it may be, he wanted something from her and if he needed to lie to keep her around, he would. Is it morally right? Well, of course not. But people lie every day. Most of us lie between 10 – 500 times a day. And people feel less of an obligation to be truthful with someone they just met on a dating site. Especially if they simply want to just hook up. And it is crucial to understand the motives of people, especially in the dating world if we ever want to truly have a shot.
I told her about online “baiting”. A tactic people use with online dating where they add a sentence they know people will respond well with. Like, a guy will say that he’s looking for a relationship or a family if he sees the woman has children. Single mothers respond better to men who they perceive as honest and down to earth. It is playing a game and using the right pictures in the right light and saying the right phrases to attract the right women is how people succeed. Again, I’m not saying it’s right – I’m just pointing out these tactics exist and are more prevalent than we might believe.
I was sitting at my kitchen table asking my friends how I was going to break some bad news to my girlfriend. I was asking for opinions in the delivery and finally one of my friends said, “You could easily avoid all of this.” I said, “How?” And he said, in the most compassionate way, “How hard is it to just lie?” He didn’t mean to sound malicious. In fact, he meant it as a way to save her feelings but I guess I had never thought about it like that. Just tell her what she wants to hear. And from then on, it set a dangerous precedent. When a woman would ask if I was looking for a serious relationship, I would think, “How hard is it to just lie?” And I would. I would say what I knew she wanted to hear. And over time, I got good. I concentrated on really selling the lie. On the little inflections, on lightly touching her shoulder while looking into her eyes. Really setting the hook in deep to make them believe whatever it was I knew they wanted to hear. And yes, it really is as evil as it sounds. It is selfish and dishonest and awful to give someone false hope of a future. But this happens on dating websites, friendships, and marriages. It happens at school and at work and when we get pulled over for speeding. We think, “How hard is it to just lie to get what I want?” And we do it because we are selfish.
But the idea is that there is someone out there that will make us not want to lie. That we won’t feel the urge to lie to them because they not only accept, but are excited to be in love with who we truly are. Bumps and bruises, ugly history and all. Someone we can talk to about the old days and our baiting tactics and will share an embarrassing head shake and say, “Thank you for helping me realize how badly I never want to go back to that again.”
Because you know there is that person, right? There is a person out that that will help shine the light on the right spots in your life. Someone that becomes a partner and a team mate. Ride or die. You and them against the world. And no one will get your inside jokes and you will have a signal that you can flash from across a crowded room to let them know you love them and you will have a language all of your own that is based upon grunts and hand gestures. And you will love them hard and they will love you hard and it will feel fair and you will never have to use shitty tactics again because this person will remind you that while that may have been who you were, that is not who you are.
And you will never be happier.