Monday, 1 April 2013

A lack of trust

There are people I trust completely, people I would share anything with, however embarrass-ing or painful or mean or pathetic or peculiar. People who will sympathise, understand, give helpful advice, and also keep it all to themselves. People I feel safe with.

When it comes to people I don't trust, though, I share absolutely nothing of any importance to me, I'm extremely cautious and I stick carefully to neutral topics. And I lie. It's frightening how much I lie rather than tell them the unvarnished truth.

I pretend to be polite and courteous when I'm really seething with rage and dying to make some vitriolic comment. I pretend to be ultra-masculine when I'm really feeling girly and giggly. I pretend to be competent and capable when I feel like I'm fucking up left right and centre. I pretend to be enthusiastic about things I couldn't care less about.

Anything to preserve a bland, anodyne atmosphere that doesn't tempt me to reveal what I don't want to reveal. Anything to ensure the real me is securely locked up and hidden away, not to be glimpsed by unsympathetic eyes.

I hate it when I have to spend so much time lying and pretending. But what else can I do? I don't think I'm especially mistrustful of others. But with certain people, I just sense instantly that to be frank with them about anything at all would be dangerous. They want me to conform to a certain image, a certain role, and if I said anything that contradicted that image, they wouldn't like it. So I keep everything well buttoned-up.

It's especially hard to trust people in today's opinionated society, when we're all encouraged to sneer and scoff at things we barely understand. Who will take the trouble to listen to me properly, to hear me out, to do justice to my most delicate disclosures, when knee-jerk reactions are the order of the day?

I don't bare my soul in a hurry.

"I don't trust easily. So when I tell you 'I trust you' please don't make me regret it" - J Cole

23 comments:

Liz said...

Nor me. I keep well hidden - even though I sometimes seem to reveal a lot on my blog the real me is carefully concealed.

On the other hand i do trust easily in that i believe what anyone tells me. I assume they will be honest as i am.

Nick said...

Liz: This is the clever thing, we're all good at feigning openness and frankness, while keeping our deepest self well away from the public gaze. The tip of the iceberg as it were....

Yes, I also tend to believe what others tell me, unless alerted otherwise.

John Gray said...

I do not bare my soul ......

You do here!

Nick said...

John: I do, don't I? That's because I trust you guys with what I tell you. Mind you, like Liz says, there are other deeper things that I still keep strictly to myself....

Secret Agent Woman said...

I am fairly trusting in general, although I don't go around spilling my guts just anywhere. In large part because it could be damaging to my career! But with friends, talking intimately comes easily to me.

e said...

I have never been one to bare my soul in a hurry, either...too afraid of the gossip mill.

Nick said...

Agent: Spilling one's guts just anywhere would certainly be asking for trouble. And yes, of course you have your particular work to think of.

e: Indeed, the gossip mill. Even people you think of as discreet can still be tempted to gossip....

Bijoux said...

I'm not sure I agree that we are encouraged to sneer at what we dont understand. I think that's just what mean or ignorant people like to do. Or I think people are just scared of what they don't understand, so they may react in a negative manner. I've never felt that modern day society encourages negative behavior.

Wisewebwoman said...

I was reflecting on this very same thing recently Nick.

Out here at the Edge I've learned to be extremely careful as the gossip mill can be quite damaging. We all long to be understood but we have to be so careful who we select.

I am most comfortable with reflective souls but they are unfortunately quite thin on the ground here.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

Bijoux: Perhaps politicians and journalists are more tolerant where you are, but the sneering and sniping that goes on over here is mind-boggling. And that's probably to cover up the fact that they're scared, as you suggest.

www: I think reflective souls are thin on the ground everywhere. A lot of people resort to instant opinions rather than take the time to think something through properly.

Grannymar said...

Sometimes I wonder if I have a soul to bare. Maybe you can tell me next time we meet up for coffee.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

I'm just a tad paranoid online. I don't use my real name - well hardly at all - and I never post personal details. My Facebook settings are all 'no, no, no, no'. Do not allow this, that, or the other. My address there is merely the nearest big city.

Part of me realises that it's mildly paranoid, but the other part (the bigger part) realises that you simply can't trust a bunch of total strangers because some people are just ... not normal.

I wouldn't feel too bad about your own need for privacy. Look at it this way: the more cramped our society becomes, the more important it is to be polite, OR limit other people's access to us. It's simple self-preservation, and it's universal. Why do you think the Japanese are so polite? In a cultural sense it is absolutely necessary to have evolved that way or they'd probably all go nuts. We used to be ultra-polite in the UK for much the same reason (high population, small space) but then we had a huge influx of immigrants. I think that's where it all started to go wrong.

Nick said...

Grannymar: Of course you have, but you keep it to yourself!

Jay: Probably sensible to be so secretive. As you say, you're talking to a bunch of strangers who may not have your best interests at heart.

It's not a need for privacy so much as a lack of trust in others. But yes, I agree politeness can be a form of self-preservation in a crowded world. I don't think the decline in politeness has anything to do with immigrants though. In fact a lot of immigrants are far more polite than the natives!

Scarlet Blue said...

I've google translated Anon's comment... he's certainly letting it all hang out!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: According to Google, it was a plug for a Russian free-movies website. But I always delete the anonymous messages, so it's now gone.

Eryl said...

I must be frightfully boring because I can think of nothing I couldn't tell about myself to even the meanest, most manipulative of people. I must create a dark, inner life.

Nick said...

Eryl: That's remarkably open of you. Clearly there's nothing about yourself that you find too embarrassing or private to mention. And presumably you get a sympathetic hearing from those you're confiding in.

bonsaimum said...

Know exactly how you feel. Hubby and I are very private probably from having to put up with everyone else thinking they can run our lives. Also it seems that if you don't agree with someone, you must be their enemy. The concept of rational discussion seems to have gone the way of the Dinosaurs.

Nick said...

Bonsaimum: Everyone else thinking they can run your lives? That's not good. Yes, I find that's often true that disagreement leads to enemy status! Is there nothing in between friendly and daggers-drawn?

Rummuser said...

In my case, what you see and what you hear is what you get. I have no hidden agendas. I trust till I am proved otherwise.

Nick said...

Ramana: I'm glad to know you're an open book! And no extra pages hidden away in the cellar....

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Just catching up here, after being away!

I didn't mean that the immigrants themselves caused the problem by being impolite... I think it's mostly to do with being forced into close proximity with a lot of different cultures - we simply don't know the rules, and yet we still have to interact.

I remember hearing from a teacher that one reason that some immigrant youths get into trouble in US schools can be that they are taught that it's impolite to look at the person who is telling you off about something and yet the teachers feel it's a sign of disrespect NOT to do so.

Nick said...

Jay: True, mixing with so many people from different cultural backgrounds can be difficult and confusing. The point you make about being told off is a good example. We assume other people follow the same rules as us and can be quite thrown when they do something totally different.