No, that shirt doesn’t make you look fat. Yes, I can tell you’re losing weight. No, there’s nothing goofy-looking about your hair.
You’ve probably uttered one of the lines in the course of your relationship history. Maybe it was true -- or more likely, maybe you said it with your fingers coyly crossed behind your back.
Then again, you still won’t describe the situation as “lying.”
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Conduct an informal relationship survey and you’ll likely find trust and honesty among the most valued qualities in the meet market. You want a partner who won’t lie about past relationships, questionable Facebook friends or shady text messages.
But should that same honesty apply to the critiques you receive?
The question crossed my mind when I shut down a project my boyfriend recently proposed. He was visibly hurt, so I said something like, “Sorry, but I’m not supposed to be your personal cheerleader. You want the truth, right?”
Seconds later, I doubted my own words.
We face a fine line in relationships. On one hand, you want to be your partner’s safe haven from the rest of the world. But on the other hand, you want to help your partner be the best person possible -- which can involve facing some harsh realities.
So what do you do? Most daters navigate these questions with no official game plan, aside from the constant relationship goal of avoiding fights.
After all, pointing out some mustard on your girlfriend’s chin is one thing. Shattering her hopes and dreams is another.
Days after I gave my anti-cheerleader speech, I found myself strutting down the runway while feeling like the only non-model in a models’ fashion show.
I didn’t exactly enter the realm of fashion roadkill, but I experienced the sheer terror that comes with worrying you’re about to trip on your dress. I’m sure my facial expression reflected that fear.
I asked my boyfriend a question when I got home: “How did I do?”
With that, I realized I didn’t want to hear an elaborate critique of my catwalk clumsiness. Or another kind reminder that if you walk appropriately, you don’t have to worry about tripping on your gown.
In my mind, there was only one “right” thing he could say: “You were great.”
And surprisingly, that’s what I got.
Nobody says “significant other” is synonymous with “delusional motivational speaker.”
But amid the brutal honesty that often defines our bosses, co-workers and even friends, it’s sometimes nice to have a sounding board whose primary refrain relies on rah-rah.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8516.