When I was young, I would run to the nearest AIC (Adult in Charge) and tell them all the tales of what I saw my cousins doing. I thought I was doing a service, showing those in charge how my counterparts were behaving badly, or were taking advantage of the system.
And I never understood why nobody wanted to play with me.
Then one day, my Aunt pulled me aside and explained that nobody likes a tattle-tale. And, much to my surprise, she already knew about everything I was tattling on, and she mostly didn’t care. Because, while I thought the wrongs I was witnessing were a big deal, to the people that mattered, it really wasn’t that important at all.
Tell the Truth
Growing up, I lied for a multitude of reasons – to make myself seem better/smarter/tougher than I was, to get something I shouldn’t have and, mostly, to get out of (or not get in to) trouble.
But after catching me in one lie too many (and somehow, she always caught me!), my Mom sat me down and told me, quite earnestly, that once you get caught in a lie, people start to question everything you say. You lose their trust. She finished up by saying that she will always be more angry to find out that I lied to her, than she would be to find out anything bad that I may have done.
And I always wanted to do whatever made my Mom less angry.
As a bonus, telling the truth is also a handy defence against tattlers – its hard to get someone in trouble when they are upfront about what they are doing.
Be True to Yourself
All through school, I wanted to be liked SO BADLY. I would tell people whatever I thought they wanted to hear just so they would like me.
It never worked.
Then, when I met Wilzie, we resolved at the very beginning of our relationship that there would be no weird mind-games that couples play with each other to get the upper hand. Amazingly, we kept that promise; and that resulted in us showing each other who we really were - I didn’t laugh if his jokes weren’t funny (though they usually were) and he didn’t pretend to not be staring at my boobs.
Through our relationship, Wilzie has taught me that who I am is pretty darn good; and then I started accepting myself, and showing people who I really am (in all my crazy), and then I started making some really good friends.
Take People at Their Word
Maybe its naïve, but because I have learned the above lessons, I like to assume that everyone else has too. So when I meet/talk to people, I assume that they are who they say they are, that they won’t lie to me, and won’t run around trying to get me in trouble.
Yup…that is pretty naïve.
Chew With Your Mouth Closed
When I was little, and would be sitting at the kitchen table watching my sister hide liver in her sock - she would relish smacking me upside the head and yelling at me to “CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH CLOSED!”