I wish that we, as a human race, could somehow make a big, executive decision to stop sugar coating, quit playing games, and just say things as they are. In our society, there is a plethora of unwritten rules and “social norms” about how we should respond to situations or topics. Because of this, when I am having a conversation with someone, I am sometimes simultaneously running a separate conversation in my head. I am saying out loud what I know is expected of me, and inside I am rolling my eyes and giving my smart ass, no nonsense answers. Sounds pretty tricky to have two conversations at once, huh? It is. That’s why if you’re talking to me and my eyes glaze over and I space out, I’m probably focusing too hard on the conversation in my head. Sorry in advance.
Don’t worry, for those of you who know me in real life. I am not some fake person who never says what I actually feel to your face. In fact, I sometimes have a real foot-in-mouth problem. My personal relationships I respect enough to be completely honest in, but other situations just make me cringe with their politics and answer expectations. They are unavoidable at times, and having to not be ME sometimes eats at my soul.
Job Interviews- One of the most prevalent examples of a place where BS’ing gets you ahead. Of course you don’t want to outright lie about yourself or your qualifications, but we ALL paint a pretty little picture of the person that we think our interviewer wants to see. And resumes? Don’t get me started on resumes.
A person whose main job is simply scooping cow manure would have to write something like “collected and analyzed samples from resident mammals, ensured GI tract was stable and healthy therefore increasing revenue of organization by 15.93%, blah blah blah numbers and statistics and look at how fancy and capable I am” just to get noticed.
I know it is partly due to my INFP personality type, but I just hate buttering things up like that. Why can’t we just write “scooped up huge, steaming piles of crap for 3 years and now I’m tired of it and looking for something else.”
When a potential employer asks “why are you leaving your current job?”, why can’t we answer honestly? About.com recommends the following responses to that inevitable question :
- I found myself bored with the work and looking for more challenges. I am an excellent employee and I didn’t want my unhappiness to have any impact on the job I was doing for my employer
- After several years in my last position, I’m looking for an company where I can contribute and grow in a team-oriented environment
- There isn’t room for growth with my current employer and I’m ready to move on to a new challenge
Do these sound familiar? I’m pretty sure I’ve said all three in an interview at some point in my life. I may have actually said all three during one single interview once, hah! How I long to be able to say to an interviewer, “look, ma’am, I’m not going to give you one of those cookie cutter answers. I’m going to tell you straight up that my current place of employment is a looney bin and could easily be mistaken for the local insane asylum. Except we have more sexual harassment and less medication. Crazy Pete with the chronic bad breath constantly hits on me, my boss acts like a 14-year old girl, the clients I deal with are a bigger pain in my ass than my *hemorrhoids (AKA the actual pains in my ass), and Sally from Accounting won’t stop talking about her cats. If I spend one more day in that God forsaken building, I’m going to blow my brains out in the piece of crap desk chair that my boss refuses to replace.”
In my ideal world, Mrs. Interviewer would look at me with empathy in her eyes and say “oh my goodness, Courtney, we need to get you out of there. You are much too smart and savvy to be in a toxic work environment like that. When can you start here?” But the reality? Mrs. Interviewer would say “thanks for applying, we’ll be in touch”, and quickly delete every file with my contact information. She might even burn my resume just to make sure my name permanently disappears.
Also? Can we just do away with interview questions like “what songs best describe your work ethic?” and “how many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?”? Because then that whole two conversation thing starts happening in my head and I start to forget where I am and why I’m even being asked such ridiculous questions when I’m supposed to be at a job interview, not a Pointless Question Convention. I immediately lose respect for my interviewer if he or she can’t just be honest and upfront enough to ask real questions about me, about what I can bring to the table, and what I’m looking for in a job.
First Dates- I chew like a cow, I fart in my sleep, I still believe in Santa Clause, I talk about myself way too much, I like to grow out my armpit hair just long enough to make baby dreadlocks, I will never forget the ways you have wronged me and I will use them against you at a later date, I cry myself to sleep every night over a carton of ice cream, I love it when I get pimples because popping them is incredibly satisfying, I sometimes get really drunk and kiss random men at bars, I don’t cook, and I sing really loud and off key in the car.**
Wanna go out again? Oh, you only want to make out after another shot of whiskey and then never see my face again? Sounds good, thanks for being honest.
Are you mad?- It’s usually women who are the worst about this. Let’s start something new and crazy and when someone asks “are you mad?”, let’s just answer honestly. Try it, it’s fun. A few months ago Isaac asked me “are you upset about something?” and I started to answer “no, I’m just tired” but then I realized I was doing that horrible ask-me-ten-more-times-and-then-I’ll-be-honest thing women do. I stopped myself and instead said “yeah, it upset me a little bit when you did X, Y, and Z”, and you know what? The world didn’t implode. I didn’t instantly grow a penis and sprout chest hairs. I was able to maintain my female status and actually answer the question “are you mad?” after him asking only once. It was glorious and something I’m going to try to continue doing.
Do I look fat? Do I even need to address this? If you are asking if you look fat in something, more than likely you already know you do. So go change into your stretch pants and hoodie, order a pizza, and call it a night. I know this from personal experience. If you ask someone “does this make me look fat?” and get angry at an honest “yes”, stop it. Just stop it and be grateful that someone cares about you enough to be honest.
Ending phone calls- “Sorry I just got to my destination, I have to run” or “okay, well I’ll let you go” or “my phone is about to die, so I gotta go!” If you want to get off the phone with someone, just say it! True, it may hurt your feelings at first but after awhile you’ll enjoy your new found truth telling freedom!
Actually, Isaac and I often do this and I love it. Sometimes one of us will end a conversation with “well, I don’t really have anything left to say to you” and we will say goodbye and hang up. It cuts out the BS and keeps me from making up some cell-phone-dying story to my significant other. I definitely recommend this method, if your feelings can handle it.
*I don’t actually have hemorrhoids
**Three of these are real, I’ll let you guess which ones