Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Separation.
I’m disgusted. I’m tired of being an idealist. I’m tired of believing in people. I’m tired of being disappointed.
But on the up side, hey, my intuition’s dead-on.
I think I liked it better when I couldn’t tell that people were lying to me.
I hate it when a man mentions another woman to me and I know immediately that he’s sleeping with her. No matter how innocently (or honestly) he sings her praises, I can feel it all around him. My intuition on this matter has been proven true too many times, and I resent it every time, even when it’s just a friend recommending a colleague’s services. It would be so much easier for my intuition to fail me on these matters.
Just today, between meetings, I sat at my desk and actually thought, “I wonder if my intuition’s cranking like it should. There’s been nothing new recently to confirm it. Am I losing my touch?”
Crap. You know what that means? That’s right. I get shown. Very, very quickly.
Actually, the emails arrive within two minutes of each other, each from someone I’ve not heard from in many months. One, I immediately suspect wants something. It’s not clear by the superficiality of the email, but I know it’s something. I never hear from her unless she wants something. Not even a Hi! or How are you? unless it’s to preface something big that she wants. It’s personal, but she treats it like business. I don’t expect perfection in her, but I do expect her to be straight with me. Since there’s pretense, I skip the email and go to the next one. I deal with this one later when I haven’t just gotten home from yet more overtime and want something sweet and soothing.
The other is business, but she’s pretending it’s personal. Someone reneging on a business deal I’ve invested way too much time into. We have a contract—which she doesn’t seem to understand. She can’t just shrug and say, “So sorry,” and skip away. The thing is, I would let her out of the contract if she had come to me and been truthful with me. I’ve done the same for others, not for the best of business reasons but because it was the right thing to do. But even the email contradicts itself several times, and I’m just not believing what I’m reading.
My intuition told me a year ago that she was doing something to deceive me but I didn’t need to act on it right then and I was too tied up in divorce recovery. I didn’t want to see it. I admired her, respected her. I liked her.
Later, she asked me to work on a new project with her that would have required a substantial investment, both time and money. She was downright pushy about it, promising a sizable investment of her own. My intuition screamed at me not to do it, no matter how intrigued I was or how much my heart wanted to. The planning wasn’t well-thought-out and the timing was incredibly bad. In hindsight, my intuition was dead-on. The kind of partnership we were talking about would probably have cost me my publishing company and a huge chunk of personal savings.
So out of the blue, she decides to renege on the deal and for reasons that just don’t quite mesh. My intuition’s been telling me she would try to ditch the deal in favor of a new partner who hadn’t invested anything in this project. Well, that, and the fact that she’d told me all about her new partner last year. And so had several friends of hers. Plus, she’d blogged about it. Okay, that all adds up to pulling the deal with me and handing it over to her new partner.
But instead of being honest about wanting to switch partners, she gave me several different stories, none of them ever matching up, some of them presented as doing me a “favor” by reneging. My own kids were reading over my shoulders and saying, “Geez, what a liar.”
So I’m disgusted. I can’t be friends with people I don’t respect, I’ve discovered. It’s incredibly important to me. Integrity is vital to me, both for myself and in my friendships and love relationships. But it’s so hard to find.
I’ve been told my sense of integrity is out of whack, that nobody follows the rules of ethics all the time. Maybe not, but making excuses for it sure does make it easy to ignore. There are always extenuating circumstances and different levels of ethics in different professions and different cultures. I accept that. But I respect people who do their best to be ethical and understand the concept of integrity.
I’ve been told I expect too much of people. Why is it too much to expect the truth? Flaws and fuck-ups I can deal with. Being human, I can deal with. Lies, I can’t. I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be worked out, and I’ll go a long, long way to meet someone half-way and I’ll wait a long time for something or someone that’s worthwhile, but it takes two people coming together in sincerity and enough respect for each other to be honest in their feelings and intentions.
I was shaking my head over it tonight while chatting with Dorothy Morrison, an author I very much respect. She gave me a little talking-to about my distress, then added, “And Lorna…your expectations of people are not too high. The problem is that it’s human nature to judge other people by yourself, and no one is going to handle themselves, their business dealings, or their lives precisely as you do. There are still honest folks with good work ethics out there. Sometimes, you just have to pick through…to find them.”
Dorothy’s right. There are honest folks out there. And days like today make me appreciate them even more.