I hate bullshitters. I cannot respect or be friends with anyone who is closed off, superficial or unable to show vulnerability. I therefore try to be as open and honest as possible. And I hope that by expressing what I’m truly thinking and feeling, others will do the same in return. However, I have recently and unfortunately learned that the old adage, “honesty is the best policy”, is an absolute lie.
This past week, I was presented with a potential job opportunity to (what they call) “punch up” a film. I was asked to view the movie and then give the producers ideas about to how improve it. Based on my ideas, the producers would then decide whether or not to hire me for the project.
Desperately wanting the gig, I never considered whether or not I could do it or how well I could amp up the movie. I just knew I wanted the work and thought that I would dive right in no matter what. Then, my brand new manager calls me and asks me for a moment of truth. He says, “Are you confident in your abilities to do this? Because if you’re not, I don’t want to you fail and make both of us look bad.”
Confident in doing this? A) I’ve never done anything like this before. B) The film needed a lot of work and I wasn’t really sure just how much was expected of me.
I later emailed the manager with my honest sentiments and admitted that I was conflicted. On the one hand, I really wanted the job and believed that I could contribute something to the film. On the other hand, the film was really rough and I didn’t know that I could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. (Yes, I used that analogy and yes, I regret it).
The manager immediately responds to my email that (unbeknownst to me), he was one of the producers of the film and personally loves it…
In one email, I managed to shoot myself in the foot and put that foot in my mouth. I potentially lost a gig and offended my advocate.
Why did I feel so compelled to be honest? If I had just smiled and been complimentary, this disaster wouldn’t have happened. Plenty of people say that they “fake it til they make it”… Why couldn’t I just be one of them? Now I’m in the midst of damage control, which is just a fancy way of saying bullshitting my way out of horseshit.
Sadly, it’s not just the professional world that requires a dose of dishonesty. As Meg Ryan showed us in When Harry Met Sally, ‘faking it’ is often an integral part of romantic situations. Whether in the bedroom or on a date, women frequently need to exaggerate their excitement to keep their man’s ego afloat.
I sometimes have trouble grasping this notion. Shouldn’t we be the most honest with those we are trying to connect to on the deepest level? While a part of me wants to share what I am actually thinking or feeling, the smarter part of me knows to keep any agitated thoughts (mostly created by exhaustion) quiet. We tend to think that healthy relationships thrive on honesty. But in reality, relationships don’t have a chance if we share every irritable emotion.
Like I said, I have no interest in being a “yes-man” but then again, saying “no” can only get you so far. .
Image via YouTube