Girl Talk: One-sides storytelling can lead to a distorted view of reality
We all know about the three sides to every story — her side, his side, and the truth. It happens in many different situations.
After rush hour, you complain about the guy who flipped you off and called you a four-letter word for no reason. He complains about the idiot who wouldn’t let him merge and nearly hit his car. It isn’t crucial for road rage recitals to be accurate. But when the he-said/she-said involves your partner, things are more complicated.
When you tell a story about your significant other, how close are you getting to the truth?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m often guilty of making stories one sided. No one wants to look bad when telling a friend about a fight. But in skewing the truth to make yourself look better, you can make your partner look even worse. Sometimes this is intentional. Other times you unwittingly turn your boyfriend into a psycho straight out of a Lifetime movie just because he forgot to do the dishes.
We rarely think about how our partners look when we tell our friends about fights and arguments. Maybe you tell your friend about the audacity of your boyfriend after he demanded you do either A or B. You conveniently leave out the part where you refused C, D, and E first. We don’t want our friends thinking we’re stubborn, but do we really want them thinking our partners are controlling jerks?
Telling a one-sided story can hurt your partner, but it also hurts you. If you constantly tell your friends about all the terrible things your significant other does while leaving your actions and reactions out, then eventually you are going to start seeing things the way your friends do.
You are going to create an alternate reality where you do no wrong. Having this kind of rose-colored outlook will only hold you back. It may feel good in the moment to have people agreeing with your side, but you will never be able to achieve personal growth without being truthful. Above all else, you should want to be honest with yourself.
So if something hurts your partner and it hurts you, then even common core math says it also harms the relationship. Problems need to be solved. That can’t happen if two people are telling their own versions so often that they lose sight of the truth and start seeing their own tales as reality.
You have to communicate to work through arguments. It only works when that communication is honest. But even if you are able to iron things out with your significant other, there could still be consequences from the one-sided stories you told your friends. If all they ever hear are the rotten things your partner has done, then they are going to think he is rotten and probably won’t like him very much.
And if your friends happened to insult your partner to sympathize with you, it might make things awkward, especially if he finds out about the storytelling and the insults. When your friends are at odds with your significant other, the relationship undoubtedly suffers.
All relationships have their disagreements and fights. It’s a great help being able to vent to your friends about them. But if we aren’t honest about the situation, all parties are harmed.
In a long-term relationship, your partner is typically the most important person in your life. You view him highly and want your friends to do the same. So be careful not to paint an ugly picture of him.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.