by Kenneth Justice
~ The other day at coffee I found myself in an awkward situation. The regulars and I at the particular café I was at have been privy to the fact that this one particular young man comes into the café all the time with the various women he is out on a date with…..the only problem is that he’s had a ‘steady’ girlfriend living with him for the past three years.
Thus, this serial cheater is quite open with everyone at the coffee shop about his indiscretions and when people have tried to confront him about it he just laughs it off. So yesterday….after seeing this guy with many different girls over the past year, he brought in the ‘real’ girlfriend………things got even more awkward when he and the girlfriend sat down at my table to chit chat.
Everything in me wanted to tell the young woman that her boyfriend was nothing more than a cheating bag of s*** but I bit my tongue…….this was my first time meeting the girlfriend and the guy is really nothing more than an acquaintance of mine….its simply not my place to get involved in their personal business.
“So my boyfriend is telling me all the time about this café and all the interesting people that hang out here” she said, “I bet you see some pretty crazy things around here, huh?” she asked
So was that my window to say, ‘Sweetheart, a crazy thing is occurring right now; I’m sitting with the girlfriend of this dude who can’t keep his pants on around every woman he meets!”
But I remained silent. I didn’t tell the girlfriend about what her boyfriend was really like. When I was younger I tried telling a friend of mine that I caught his girlfriend cheating on him and my friend ended up resenting me for telling him the truth……..ever since that experience I’ve been very cautious about opening my mouth about delicate subjects such as infidelity.
Was I wrong? Is it my place to butt into the business of other people who aren’t even my ‘friends’? Should I be the waking voice of ‘truth’ who tells girlfriends when their boyfriends are cheating?
There have been a lot of times in my life where ‘omitting the truth’ is the course I chose. Sometimes I have omitted to the truth in order to protect people’s privacy, other times I have omitted the truth to spare people embarrassment.
Some people, as Jack Nicholson put it, “Can’t handle the truth“.
Many years ago, in another life, I told the Pastor of my friend’s church that his daughter was addicted to heroin. I thought I was ‘doing a good deed’ but the Pastor wasn’t happy about me coming to him at all. You see, it never dawned on me that the Pastor’s first impulse would be ‘fear’……he feared losing his job and income if the congregation found out about the daughter’s drug problem.
I was trying to do right by the young woman; after all she was barely out of puberty and hooked on a vicious drug…….but the Pastor didn’t give a damn and the entire situation ended up being one big nightmare for me.
I guess there are times in life where parents do not want to know what their children are doing. Perhaps I was totally out of place for telling the father about his drug addict daughter….perhaps it was simply none of my business.
It’s not that some parents want to live in denial and pretend that their children are ‘perfect’….I think that they simply don’t want to have to deal with difficult situations. There are parents out there who would rather live without the knowledge of what their children are doing, ‘ignorance is bliss’.
Yesterday I read an article about bullying and in many ways that is another example of parents living in denial; because if your kid is a bully…why the bloody hell aren’t you doing something about?
There are a lot of us who want to live lives totally blanketed in honesty at all times. But I’m not sure if that is the best way to live life. After all, if your friends always told you what they were thinking you may not like to hear it,
—-) “Janet looks kinda fat today…I wonder if she ate too much over the weekend”
—-) “Dude, David is as boring as ever, that guy tells the dumbest stories”
—-) “Holy cow, every time Marsha looks away her husband starts checking out other woman!”
Just because the ‘truth’ is that people think those kind of things….it doesn’t mean those things should be said out loud…..sometimes omitting the truth is the best course of action. Sometimes biting our tongue is the best way to love others….even though it means we don’t tell the ‘whole story’.
Many people don’t agree with me on this. I have one particular friend who believes blatant honesty should always be the rule of thumb no matter how much it hurts someone or how bad the outcome could end up being.
But for me, ‘blatant honesty’ doesn’t sound very loving…does it? I mean, its one thing to be honest….its another thing to be ‘blatantly honest’. Perhaps its merely an issue of semantics, but I personally tend to believe that sometimes the best course of action is to ‘delicately‘ tell someone the truth; always being gentle in our words and approach….and other times the best choice is to bite our tongue.
I think I’ll have another cup of coffee and think about this a little longer…