I am all for civility, manners and politeness. I was raised with courteous values and to believe that kindness costs nothing. As such I think I am pretty well-mannered. I am not rude and there are few times that I have said something out of anger that I later thought better of. I smile at people when I speak with them. I laugh if they tell a joke. I offer help where I can and I am here if someone needs a shoulder. But one thing I never do is “put on a face”.
My father did. I never trusted him because of it. He would talk nice and sweet to you, pretend to care and act like you could confide in him. He could be quite charismatic. As a child, he seemed to know everybody. We couldn’t go out anywhere without running into someone he knew. His second wife was just like him. She would be your “best friend” to your face, offer to listen to your worries and help out if you were in a jam. They sound great don’t they?
They were not great. They were two-faced. They would betray your confidences at the first available opportunity. They would manipulate you with the knowledge you had given to them. They would gossip behind your back yet still maintain a caring façade in your presence. It made me sick.
Through them I learned very early on not to confide in others. When I was young and not so adept at spotting their sort, I would “test” people out. I would entrust false secrets to someone and see what happened. More often than not, they proved to be unworthy of any real confidences. As I grew up, I learned to spot the signs to identify people like my father and stepmother. There seems to be an invisible veil enclosing them – it is hard to describe. They are often full of bravado. Thinking about it now, I believe, for me, it is a gut instinct that I have learned to recognize. Alarm bells ring in my head saying “Bullshit artist” or “Fake” or something similar.
I don’t like these types of people. I see no need for their pretenses. What do they get out of pretending they care when they really don’t? Does it boost their own sense of importance somehow? I myself have self-esteem issues but still find the idea of behaving in such a way deplorable. Perhaps they see it as a game … the person who deceives the most wins? I just don’t get it.
Okay I am not perfect (well I am the perfect version of me but that is another story). One thing I have never done is pretended to be someone I am not. I don’t put on airs and graces and if I don’t like someone there is no way I can pretend that I do. There is more than enough twaddle to deal with in life – I don’t need to complicate mine any further.
Simplify. Reduce stress. Cut out the bullshit. Be open. Stop pretending. Be happy.