Now pause here as I vent about a pet peeve of mine. As Destiny’s Child popularized with their 1999 hit “Say my name”, if you are messaging me, use my name. I’m not “you”, “babe”, or “baby”. Because to me, when a person I’m involved with suddenly reverts my identity to these abstractions, the communication begins to sound like a bad fishing expedition. Consequently these generic terms of endearments seem to imply they can’t remember who they are talking with in that moment. It’s as though they are hoping to get a bite out of the rather cheap bait. But I digress and perhaps I’ll save this topic for another time…
Still I am a bit puzzled by this blasé opener. “Hey you” isn’t what I would expect from someone who has been “dying” to see me. It’s not a message which at any point addresses the elephant in the room. You know the one I mean. The text that was supposed to have come in HOURS AGO about our date, the one that is clearly NOT happening.
I respond with a greeting back, only to get a “how r u?”.
How am I?
I am confused, pissed, and wondering why I am NOT on THE date. The one that he has been angling for since we met.
I mean really, is he legitimately asking how I am?
What do I say? That I’m puzzled that I didn’t receive a “So sorry I was tied up longer than I thought this morning. So here’s when I am free, and what I thought I would do to make it up to you” acknowledgment?
Truly, I am perplexed by these banal generalities, so I ask point blank if everything is alright, and whether we still had plans. I’m polite, but genuinely at a loss.
Want to guess what response I got?
“I fell asleep lol”.
When is standing someone up for a date a laughing matter? Because what “lol” literally means is “laugh out loud”. Only I’m not laughing. And I’m wondering where was the apology for wasting my time?
However, I didn’t choose to follow up with that question. Still giving the benefit of the doubt, instead I simply asked if he wanted to reschedule. To which I was met with…
Now I know some of you are shrugging your shoulders or nodding your heads saying “Yeah but this is normal. It happens all the time.”
And I want to pause here to ask you to reflect on WHY we, as a society, have decided that this is “normal”.
The word "normal" means conforming to a generally expected standard. Take the definition a step further to define “standard” as an accepted level of quality and attainment. Now I ask you, why, in human relations, have we accepted substandard treatment of one another as “normal”?
You see, in this case, I had established a connection with this person at his request. I intentionally cleared time to spend with him - time being a priceless commodity of mine. I treated the person with respect, and invested energy into getting to know him. So why would I expect disrespect of my time, energy, and person, as a “normal” treatment.
It’s funny. Just like we tend to gentrify our foods and remove any semblance from the animal being eaten (“steak” as opposed to "dead hunk of cow”), we also create “cute” terms for thoughtless social graces people do as though it makes it also ok.
Hence the sweetly smiling image of Casper that comes to mind, when a friend explains I’ve been “ghosted" by my potential paramour. Apparently “ghosting” is the term used for abruptly cutting off communication, with absolutely no warning, and often in a romantic situation. Generally completely severing the rapport, the concept has bled over into a new type of ghosting. One that implies that the ghoster has situational memory loss.
Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce to you the amnesiac almost undead - not quite a ghost, but someone who will “forget” or “neglect” plans with a friend or date. When confronted, this apparition will typically offer a negligible, overused excuse as a reason for the “oops” moment. The expectation being, that you will accept the untruth as fact. This way they don’t have to deal with the reality, that they have let you down.
Be honest with yourself. How many of you have made plans, and suddenly didn’t feel like doing them? How many of you have then told a “little white lie” to the other person, or simply ghosted them, or used the “I fell asleep” excuse because “no harm will be done”.
Ah…the little white lie. An untruth told in what is interpreted by the teller, to be a small or inconsequential matter. Usually done with an intent not to harm, but does it accomplish that task?
Sometimes human affairs feel empty like the facade of an old western. Everyone is our “best friend”, we simply “can’t wait” to see them, and of course we must post about the experience so that everyone else knows it happened. Yet during the interactions we speed up, rush through, and disengage, in a hurry to collect memories, notches on our proverbial belts, or even to get the moment over with so we can return to our Netflix and chill lives. And in doing so, the affected behavior has frayed the threads of human bonds to the point where our communications are fraught with deception.
When our words and actions lack integrity, we harm our interpersonal relations to the point, where we do not even know how to interact with one another authentically anymore.
Picture how many times, you’ve tried to interpret a text, an email, the rare and elusive phone conversation, because the meaning of the words isn’t clear. We have created a society now, in which we DON’T trust one another. We barely communicate (let alone with transparency of meaning and intent), and accept disrespectful dealings with a shrug because “everyone is doing it”.
Not ok. Not by a long shot.
Perhaps I’m a bit old fashioned in this respect. Maybe it’s my naive love of people that makes me yearn for something more. Is it possible to have a bonafide bond nowadays?
One of my core values is this idea of intentional honesty. Not to be confused with people’s concepts of brutal honesty - in which someone says something bluntly in a manner knowing the other person will be hurt by their comment. Intentional honesty is the idea that we speak the truth, without sugar coating it, but with gentleness.
And in doing so, we open the door to have better contact with one another, because we aren’t trying to figure out what someone is thinking or expecting. We don’t have to suspect that they are lying, because we have committed to integrity in our words and actions with one another.
Although not a difficult practice, intentional honesty starts with yourself. And this first step is where many trip up. We’ve gotten in the habit of lying so easily, that we’ve also fallen out of practicing with knowing how we ourselves truly feel about, well, anything or anyone.
However all is not lost. And while I can’t promise intentional honesty will solve the problems of the world, it will help us realign with the concept of having deeper ties to one another. The road to authenticity starts with a few simple questions to ask of ourselves.
For example, when invited somewhere ponder “Do I want to do this?” If the answer is no, politely turn down the invite. Be prepared they may ask why, but you don’t owe an explanation. A simple “no thank you” is enough.
Perhaps you are not sure whether you want to accept the invitation. So examine your heart further with “Do I want to hang out with this person?”. If the answer is no, quit making plans or accepting (and then often canceling ) the plans. Your time is valuable, as is theirs. Show respect for it.
And if you find yourself saying no frequently, ask yourself “Am I liking how this person is treating me?” If the answer is NO then either speak up, or if courteous confrontation is not your style, quit interacting with them. We tend to frown on people saying “This relationship isn’t working for me. I need space.” Yet isn’t that better than simply disappearing, thus leaving the person wondering what happened to you?
I’ve discovered that people feel obligated to one another. But as free and sovereign beings, we do have the right to associate with people who treat us with value and respect. If we accept substandard manners as normal though, then we are condoning someone’s shameful behavior. In doing so, we are perpetuating the problem, and contributing to our own unhealthy conduct.
Don’t forget though, to examine this very important question: “Am I liking how I am treating others?” If the answer is NO, then perhaps it’s time to take a step back and reflect on why you are devaluing others too. Change starts with you.
Happily, INTENTIONAL HONESTY is not all about the “no” in human relations. It’s also very much about deepening the connections, and even spreading a little extra positivity.
For example, if you receive an invitation that you wish to accept, say YES and then let the person know how EXCITED or happy you are! It’s amazing how often I’ve heard people be unsure whether someone wants to spend time with them. So be clear that you ARE looking forward to this experience.
And we’ve all heard the cliche that actions speak louder than words. But there is great truth to it. So if you want to hang out with someone, actually make the time, before the possibility is closed to you. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Whether we like to admit it or not, the reality is that we make time for things that matter to us. Wouldn’t it be nice if our friendships and romantic interests moved up on that list?
Furthermore, if you like how someone treats you, let him or her know they make you feel special. Positive feedback is just as important in deepening a rapport, as is open communication during difficult chapters together.
Finally don’t forget to notice your own attitude. Kindness starts with you so if you LIKE how you are treating your loved ones, do more of that behavior. We never know how our interactions fully impact others, but I would venture that courtesy breeds more goodwill throughout the world.
As for the story at the beginning, while I was sad at first, I moved on. And one morning, months later, I woke to what appeared to be a drunk text from said fool at 4am inquiring “hey, how r u?” But I don’t reply to ghosts. So I simply deleted the message.
Have something to say? Feel free to comment below. Want to support Tink's writings? Click the Cashapp link here to become a patron of her work!
Tink, world traveler, positivity muse, and adult entertainer, has also freelance written for a number of companies as their ghostwriter. Now talking directly to YOU on this platform, she is also writing two books at her community's request.