Monday, August 27, 2007

WARNING.

Slander. Defamation. Mudslinging. Label it how you like, it's all a warning sign when your friends criticize someone you're dating. So why is it we never really seem to want to listen? I submit because the warn-er is not properly expressing the message to their warn-ee:
"That guy's a
douche."
"He sucks."
"I hate that @hole."
"He's just not good enough for you."



Truth be told, I've had several of these comments thrown my way as a warning against men I've gone out with. Why did I continue to go out with him? Because I didn't SEE any of that bad behaviour. And it was mere speculation that he really was that evil of a person. So you think he's not good enough? Why? Because he doesn't fit YOUR criteria for what a man should be? He's a jerk? Why? Because things didn't work out when he dated a friend of yours? Since he didn't marry her, clearly he must be a mess for ALL women? Now that just doesn't seem fair. And it doesn't sound like an accurate assessment of character when you're the one having the experience of someone treating you perfectly well.

Of course, it turns out, all my friends were right. Every time I've had a friend warn me, that friend has been right. You'd think that by now I would listen. Why is it so hard for the message to get through? I'll tell you why. It's not like I'm a masochist. I've never (to my knowledge) been treated poorly by someone I've dated. Nor do I desire to be in a relationship with someone my friends dislike. But when someone makes a blanket judgement like, "he's an idiot," about the man I'm seeing who is, in my experience, nothing near an idiot, I take that kind of critique with a few grains of salt. What if my friend simply had a bad experience? Gossip is unreliable! People get reputations off of inaccurate information all the time! How unfair would that be to hold someone to past behaviour- especially if the details of such events is based on inaccuracy to begin with?!? You see the dilemma.

Here is my humble suggestion. Warn your friends when they are dating a sociopath/pervert/nitwit. But warn with specifics. Now, you know I abhor idle gossip and name-dropping with a passion. However, in a situation where someone is at risk, I say grab your bullhorn and sound the alert! Don't simply say, "That guy is not good enough for you." Say, "that guy has no respect for women because he systematically seduces them, sleeps with them, and then leaves them." Or, "he is a hypocrite because he is self-righteous and indignant here, but then goes on business trips and drinks and sleeps with women." Or, "he is the kind of person who uses people to get what he wants and then disposes of them and has no remorse or sense of morality." Okay. That gives me a more accurate perception of your reason for rejection. Otherwise, I'm thinking you don't like his resume, or he isn't good-looking enough, or lacks education, or that he wears the same pants 3 days in a row. That is quite a difference.

Remember, we believe in the Atonement. We believe in forgiveness. And when we're told something nasty about another person, we're left to wonder at what stage in repentance they're in, and how can one begin to judge another when we have a gospel built on the hope that we are all progressing and striving to improve with righteousness? At the same time, to judge wisely, we must recognize that patterns of the past indicate behaviour in the future.

Your friends want you to find a good relationship. They want you to be happy. They want you to be successful. If they criticize, trust me; is is not without a significant amount of humility and care for your well-being that they go out of their way to say something about it. So the next time your friend says, "I'm not impressed." You know to take what she says one step further. Ask why. Discover specifics. Understand where they're coming from. And be warned. If none of your friends like him, it's probably not just because he has a lame haircut.

12 comments:

Salt H2O said...

Say, "that guy called me when he was drunk and cussed me out" ;)

f*bomb. said...

ugh. That guy was a train wreck. shudder.

k8 said...

In my admittedly humble opinion, such advice is rarely heeded anyway so I am extremely careful about giving it. Smart girls will figure out eventually if a guy is not the prize she first thinks he is and if she doesn't, do you really want to be the friend who told her that her husband was a loser?

And actually, unless my friend thinks a guy is going to do my physical harm, in which case tell me immediately, I'm all for people getting a fresh chance to be their best in a new relationship. Especially in the microscopic LDS dating world, you can find negative feedback on just about anyone if you are looking for it.

k8 said...

me. Do ME physical harm.
oops.

Meredith said...

"He doesn't understand that a monogomous couple means for BOTH parties"
"He believes that if it's done on the internet, it isn't wrong"
"He believes that the Beatles stole their rifs from Def Leppard"

Ah, I know it so well. Excellent post - I shall add it to my upcoming Sacrament talk :)

Hi Farrah!

Missa said...

As the ever-so-lyrical Field Mob would say....

"They say he do a little of this
He do a little of that
He's always in trouble, and I heard
He ain't nothing but a pimp
He got a lot of chicks
He's always in the club
And they say he think he's slick
He got a lot of chips
He's so messed up, I heard
He's been locked up, find somebody else
He ain't nothing but a thug!"

and of course the in-your-face comeback....

"Some people don't like it
'Cause you hang out in the streets
But you's my boyfriend
You've always been here for me
I like the thug in you
No matter what people think
I'm gon' be here for you
And I don't care what they say!"

I always identified with this song...but I added "He's nothing but a pedophile, he punched you in the face, he stole from your mom.... so what? YOU'S MY BOYFRIEND!!!"

kidding by the way...I do not identify with this song!!!

CoCo said...

I would personally like to thank Missa for letting me leave work with a laugh-out-loud (literally) moment.

f*bomb. said...

O. My. WORD.

Missa. You are amazing.

f*bomb. said...

Exactly, Miss K8. If all people can do is call him a nasty name, I'm less inclined to listen. It holds little meaning if all you can do is insult someone; however, if you have something specific to say as a reason he is no good, as in, "he's physically abusive," "he's a sexual predator," "he's a sociopath because..."

THESE are reasons to warn someone. Not because he doesn't live up to YOUR standards and expectations for your friend, but because your friend may be in harm's way. In which case, don't remain silent. And use language that is understood; not insults that make you appear judgemental.

Vanilla Vice said...

1. Trust your friends Farrah.
2. Specifics = Gossip. If we get specific we tell you, you tell him, and then he just lies about it. I've done it before - told a guy the specifics, he denies, talks his way out of it, I'm inclined to believe it, and then I stay with him even though every word was true.

I believe people can change - Saul/Paul completely changed. The Bible and BofM have plenty of examples. However, usually PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL. If they show a lot of pride still, and these guys usually do, it's a sign they probably haven't changed.

f*bomb. said...

You know I abhor idle gossip. However, if it's between name-calling and saying, "He told me he inherited that porn from his Grandfather, and that it was a family heirloom," I'd go with the latter if you're trying to give me a reason to not go out with someone.
I'm just sayin'. We all have different standards of why someone's "not good enough," so as to distinguish personal preference for an Ivy League vs. a plumber or a six-pack of Hanes vs. Brooks Brothers, and the men who are truly deceptive, manipulative and dangerous, I think it's more effective communication to communicate as such.

Vanilla Vice said...

Look at the source. Some girls are judgmental and some are not. Some girls have high standards some do not. If it's a good friend who knows you well and she's a good source, trust her. If she's an idiot who gossips, take it for what it's worth - nothing.