13 January 2009

fake niceties vs. keepin it real

I threw up a very informal survey on my Facebook status: "which is worse/better: fake niceties or keepin it real?" I was very intrigued by the response that followed. It's a question I've been pondering off and on for almost two years now. Casually at first, but recently it's been on my mind pretty consistently. I like to think of myself as pretty straight forward. So when various answers on my status started reinterpreting my terms, it got a little crazy for my brain, but the points that were made were worth making.

I am also one to consider the reasons behind people's actions. My brother could tell you why I'm like that but if I start going into personality types I'll get distracted, so I will stick to my point. Hopefully. So we know that some people like to "fake it til ya make it" and some like to "tell you like it is". Most of us can instantly claim which one we naturally fall into. So, the question that immediately comes to my mind is, why? Is it geographical? Is it a personality? Is it due to upbringing? Culture? Does God really care, one way or the other?

I will tell you, my knee-jerk reaction to this question would be, "keep it real!". I would much rather someone tell me what they are really thinking than to have someone butter me up with empty words. Or to say something out of habit rather than out of sincerity. For example, it's happened on many occasion where I am sitting at my desk and someone is on their way by and says, "Hey Susan how are you?" Nice, right? Except that by the time I look up from my desk (approx .3 seconds later) to give an answer, the person has already moved on, nowhere to be found. They really didn't care if I was well or not, they just threw it out there "to be nice". Another example, to borrow from my husband, is the crazy-eyed hopeful at the American Idol try-outs who swears up and down that they can sing because everyone they know - family, friends - have told them that they are the best thing out there and sound exactly like Josh Groban or Kelly Clarkson. Then when they open their mouth you wonder if this was really the same person who was just telling you of their amazing talent. Definitely a product of fake niceties. Of course, depending on how you interpret the terms, you may agree or you may disagree. For instance, to me "keep it real" doesn't mean that I totally abandon all tact and just spout off everything that's in my head. (yikes!) It simply means that I don't say things I don't feel or know to be false for the sole purpose of buttering the other person up, or to "keep the peace". We all know the saying, 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'. This is a good one to keep in mind, but obviously can't apply to all situations. But anyway, just something that was on my mind.

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