So I did some digging.  I went to an online gay profile site to see just how important certain qualities were to the gay community.  Here are the number of times the following words showed up in their profiles:

  • Fun – 13292
  • Honest – 4421
  • Funny – 2837
  • Happy – 2471
  • Smart – 2237
  • Caring – 2117
  • Outgoing – 2075
  • Intelligent – 1929

I’m not surprised that fun came up so often, since 47,763 profiles mentioned something about a hookup (although 67,510 want a relationship).  It’s interesting though that out of the words someone would generally use to describe themselves or others, honesty came up pretty high.

What is it about being honest that is so important?  And why is it so hard a thing to do?  I think answering the second question will help us better understand the first.

Why is it so hard to be honest?

There are a number of reasons why we lie, such as:

  1. We did something stupid, and we’re trying to cover it up
  2. We want to get out of something we really don’t want to do
  3. We don’t want to make someone feel bad
  4. We want to make ourselves look better; some sort of personal gain
  5. We want to hurt someone

I ordered them in what I think occur most frequently.  Ultimately, I think that we lie in attempt to live in an alternate reality that is easier for us to deal with.  It’s hard work to face reality.  If we make a mistake, it’s easy to just lie; it’s hard to admit failure and realize we need to change.  Just as we often don’t want others to know the truth about us, we know it’s hard for others to hear the truth about themselves; and so we lie to them too.  Generally, I would say that lying is the lazy way out.

Why do we care so much about honesty?

I think this is an interesting question.  I mean, who cares if someone lies?  Now, sometimes their lies affect you directly.  Say someone stands you up, lies about you to hurt you, promise you something they never intend to give; these things can negatively affect your life.

But what if they lie about their job, their weight, their age or what they’re up to tonight?  As soon as we find out they’re lying, it usually bothers us.  Even when it doesn’t impact us, we still hate a liar.  I think this has something to do with what the 67 thousand gays were looking for: a relationship!!

I — and I’m pretty sure everyone and their little poodle-dog — think that trust is the single most important thing in a relationship.  Even with extreme love, if you can’t trust your partner, the relationship is bound to go sour.  This doesn’t just apply to partners, but even with your relationship with your friends.

Your relationship with someone is only as strong as your ability to trust them.  The more you trust, the closer you become, the more you rely on them and they on you.  I like to relate trust to an Internet cable.  Why?  Because I’m a geek.  The better the cable, the better your Internet bandwidth and the better you can upload or download data.  Similarly, the more your trust someone, the better you can communicate, and the stronger your relationship becomes.  Just as having Internet off of a 56k modem sucks, so does having a boyfriend who’s a liar!!

So how do we become more honest?

Becoming honest is not just making a resolve to tell the truth; although that’s probably the first step.  The problem comes once we start to be honest… then all of a sudden we have to face reality.  The truth is, we don’t, and never will want other people to see just how messed up, how shallow, or how incapable we really are.  So a part of becoming honest is facing those things, and working to overcome them.  It’s easier to be honest, when you have nothing to hide.  It’s also easier to admit fault or weakness, when you know it’s your desire to change.  It’s hard to admit your issues, when you don’t intend to do anything about it.