Honesty is the Best Policy in Relationships?
So if your girlfriend asks if her new jeans make her look fat you should frankly say, “No fatter than the rest of your clothes.”
Is honesty overrated?
Psychological research finds that couples who idealize each other early in a relationship are more likely to still be in love months later. Couples who see each other realistically early on feel less in love, and are more likely to break up sooner.
In fact, passionate love makes us see each other in idealized ways — love is blind! Or at least wears rose colored glasses. But when we are passionately in love we also put our best self forward. We look nicer and we act nicer.
So we fall in love with idealizations, not realities, which can be hard to sustain over time.
We probably want to be known and loved for who we really are. We want others to see us as we see ourselves. Yet researchers have also found that most of us see ourselves through a positive bias, so we really want to be seen in idealized ways.
Another study found that dating couples were most intimate when their partners viewed them most favorably. And married couples were most intimate with partners who saw them as they saw themselves (read: with a slightly favorable bias).
Maybe we want our lovers to see us both how we really are and in a flattering light, the researchers suggest, since the contradictory findings were looking at slightly different things. We want to be accurately seen when it comes to little things like whether we can be charming in front of friends and family. But we also want others to view us favorably – we’re wonderful, intelligent and physically attractive – in the broader sense of who we are.
Maybe we really want our partners to see our best selves, focusing on our finest traits and playing down aspects that aren’t so hot?
Maybe we can be honest and flattering at the same time: If your girlfriend asks if her new jeans make her look fat, honestly say, “You’re beautiful!”
This is a rerun. I’m on vacation.