Something that I have always been good at is rationalizing my way into or out of a decision. I never really understood why I did this, but recently I realized that I likely have to rationalize my actions because lying (even if small) is not a strong suit of mine.
Nearly a decade ago now, my best friend Rose thought I was mad at her for months because I was distant and rather standoffish with her, but I was actually planning a surprise party for her 21st birthday. But instead of creating a cover-up, I danced around making plans and had to ask other people to make plans with her so I didn’t have to lie directly to her face.
Now, struggling with lying may not seem like a big deal until personal safety is involved. Since I was a teenager, I have always (to my knowledge) given out my number to anyone that asked for it, and recently, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t necessarily want to give someone my number, but there were no obvious reasons why I shouldn’t. He had asked if I was single, and I am, and he seemed plenty nice, so I gave him my number.
We exchanged some messages and it became abundantly clear that we had nothing in common and that he didn’t have much to contribute to holding a substantial conversation. Additionally, I had just realized that I would be leaving soon to start traveling for work (approximately 3 months) and simply couldn’t prioritize someone I didn’t know nor that was able to keep or spark my interest over my close friends and family. So I informed him of this situation and tried to be as polite as possible.
He didn’t take the situation well and started to make me feel bad for not making time for him and I realized that if I would have simply handled the original situation differently, I wouldn’t be in this situation. So, I decided to work through the situation with my therapist.
While explaining and working through the situation with Dr. Gia, she explained that responding with a small lie when someone asks if you’re single (like saying you’re in a relationship) is completely acceptable if you don’t want to continue the conversation (or potentially give them your number). She explained that this is actually a “normal” scenario because it (usually) relieves you of interaction and leaves the ego intact of the person asking. As she was explaining, I realized that I could also rationalize my way into “being in a relationship” because I am in many platonic relationships.
So, if you find yourself struggling to find a reason why it’s okay for you not to continue a conversation or give your phone number to someone, please use any of these rationalizations:
- If someone asks if you are single, you can honestly say no because none of us are actually single, we are the product of millions of living organisms living, working, and reproducing therefore we are not single, rather we are many.
- If someone asks if you are seeing anyone, you can honestly say yes because you see a lot of people regularly whether they are friends, family, the cashier at the grocery store, people on tv, or simply strangers walking outside, you do see people.
- If someone asks if you’re in a relationship (or if you’re single) you can honestly say that you are in a relationship because any person that you interact with is a relationship; whether familial with family members, platonic with friends, or professional with clients or coworkers.
Please continue to further develop these rationalizations so that if/when the time comes, they are an automatic and fully formed response. I hope that any of these rationalizations can help keep you out of unsafe and/or uncomfortable situations!