Complete disclosure is unnecessary

Honesty is not always the best policy.

Or at least, full disclosure is not always the best way to go.

I watched a recent Big Bang Theory episode with mixed emotions – hilarity and horror – the one where Penny and Leonard get all scientific at his suggestion and decide to treat their relationship like a technical experiment. Check for bugs, list bugs, fix bugs. All very cool, calm and logical.

But logic has nothing to do with emotion. And human relations are all about emotion.

Nagging and ribbing is one thing –  we all do it from time to time.

But listing your partner’s every fault on paper? Deliberately retrieving them from a dark corner of your mind and cataloguing them in the harsh light of the physical world for your beloved’s eyes? That is not kosher.

Complete honesty is overrated. Really, it’s up there with scorekeeping and grudge-holding in the ranks of very bad ideas.

I can imagine what T’s list for me would look like. Awful morning breath. Queen of hangriness. Never closes the curtains properly. Can’t cook a steak. And that’s just for starters.

And of course, I could go to town on him. Works a physical job, so never takes my end-of-day fatigue seriously. Doesn’t take cleaning seriously (we’re always quibbling about the state of the house). Has lame friends who always need rides/crash on our couch/park their cars on our driveway, which then leak oil and fluids (that’s happened at three separate houses now)/constantly text to see what he’s doing, because they have nothing else in their lives…

You get my point. I know my flaws. He knows his. I feel confident in saying we’ve both pointed out each other’s faults out multiple times over the years, usually one or two at a time. In my grumpier moments I run through most of them in my head and then stalk off to take a calming shower. But rattling off a comprehensive master list of personal bugbears, say, in the middle of a heated fight, would be nothing short of ugly and destructive. Yes, sometimes I’m petty, and mean, and bitchy, but thankfully I can clamp down on those fruitless thoughts before they’re followed by an urge to be verbalised.

Are you secretly petty? How long do you reckon your list might run to?

9 thoughts on “Complete disclosure is unnecessary

  • Reply Sense May 30, 2012 at 01:27

    Oh lord. Don’t get me started! Or, don’t get my Ex started…I heard about all my flaws from him. Before living with him, I had no idea that everything about me was so…wrong.

    So I agree that listing the other’s flaws is not kosher! I will admit to being a major homebody, suffering from the HANGRY witchiness, a bad cook, and being pretty lazy on Saturdays. However, the way that I put my dishes in the sink or that I like to read before bed or that I take time to make decisions are not valid flaws. I’M SORRY, EXBF, but you lose on those points.

    Also? I learned how to make a steak a few years ago from a really really annoying coworker who used to be a chef. I guess it’s good that I met her because otherwise I wouldn’t have known:

    1) make sure the pan is hot
    2) she liked scotch steak, more marble-y the fat the better
    3) season one side of the steak with salt and pepper–that’s all you should need for a good cut
    4) put the steak seasoned side down on the pan, and DON’T touch it until you think it’s done (this is the part that may require trial and error).
    5) season the other side while the first is cooking, flip it, and DON’T touch it until you think it is done.
    6) take the steak off the heat, put it and any juices that are left in the pan on a plate, and let it ‘rest’ for a few (5-10) minutes. DON’T touch it.

    This works, by the way, and that is coming from a die-hard microwaver. Who knew that less was more when cooking, ever??

  • Reply Daisy May 30, 2012 at 02:52

    Well, I don’t think anybody can deny being secretly petty at times. I definitely am, and I know I’m not alone. But part of loving somebody is accepting their flaws and not dwelling on them or rubbing them in their faces.

    If something is bugging a member of a relationship, then I think honesty is good – if I go for weeks without the boyfriend lifting a finger around the house, I usually crumble under the pressure and he smartens up. But the little things? They are just little things.

    That episode was crazy. I wouldn’t even WANT to know all of my flaws from my bofyriend’s point of view!

  • Reply John | Married (with Debt) May 30, 2012 at 03:16

    I think the whole “radical honesty” is overrated, and like you said, probably damaging. My wife knows me better than I know myself, so we don’t need to rehash the things that bother us about each other. Sometimes we fight the hardest with the people we love the most. My wife is my best friend, but sometimes best friends need a soothing shower or a night away to cool off.

  • Reply Liquid May 30, 2012 at 09:08

    That show seems to be getting more serious now. The season finale was a real cliff hanger. I wouldn’t write everything down that annoyed me about someone else, but if the topic comes up I would like to respectfully express my thoughts.

  • Reply myjampackedlife May 30, 2012 at 09:48

    i love that show but i have no idea what happened on the season finale now that you’ve said that Liquid. isn’t that funny how quickly we forget. the networks should remember that!! i don’t always think honesty is the best policy. if your being honest just to hurt someone or make them change who they are, thats not for the best either. nobody’s perfect, you just need to decide how much imperfection you can live with thats all.

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  • Reply mariacoffeeclothesmiami June 2, 2012 at 12:26

    I completely agree! I think it’s actually very selfish to be completely honest so you don’t feel *any* guilt. It’s funny how some people think I’m an absolute crazy liar if I say something like “honesty is not always the best policy.”

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  • Reply BFS (@bitfs) June 5, 2012 at 04:53

    I cringed at that BBT episode too! It actually would hurt deeply if Mr. BFS ever just let me have it and listed out all of my bad qualities. I can imagine the list. Nope, no disclosure necessary – just keep telling me that you love me and I’m awesome, thank you very much. 🙂

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