I have a dilemma that is not my dilemma.
Have you ever been put into a situation where you’re given information that has nothing to do with you, and then you are later given the chance to relay this information to someone else who has a right to hear it? Maybe that’s too abstract of a description. So let’s get to the concrete. Without divulging any names, I know this girl who is cheating on her boyfriend. It’s none of my business what she does with her relationships, and I didn’t ask her, nor did I snoop into her business to find this information. I was just unfortunately in the room when she was telling someone else. The thing that really boils me is that she saw me there, and still said what she said about her infidelity. That’s how little stock she put into her actions. She was willing to let someone who had no allegiance to her and all the motive to say something to her boyfriend about this. You see even though I don’t call her a friend, we still interact enough that she influences my life, and thus far, she’s mostly been a negative influence. The only positivity she has laid in my interacting with her has been the motivation to not follow in her foot steps and take up her habits, because I’ve watched her this entire school year destroying herself.
Honestly, I wouldn’t say anything in the first place, going back to the whole “it’s not my business” idea. I don’t want to get mixed up in this drama, and based on the situation, if her boyfriend doesn’t realize at this point that she’s a cheater, he is glaringly blind and naïve. So initially, I didn’t give that much of a damn, besides my own natural discomfort with her believing that cheating was not an offense to be ashamed of, or at least uncomfortable enough to feel the need to turn away from it and change. The reason why now I have a struggle holding my tongue is because it has become less conceptual. I can sit and say, “Hey, cake is bad for you, and I shouldn’t eat it more than occasionally,” then say that that is what I will do from now on. But the actions may not reflect that conceptual commitment. I still know that cake tastes amazing, and some days, that memory of how delicious cake is will be so strong that I’ll just eat the damn cake. The point is mental grasps about what should be done are easy to accept, but when you’re dealing with the issue in a real life context, with real life emotions and consequences, it’s hard to stay firm with what you know you should do. Doubt comes along easier and you wonder whether you should follow your reason or your gut. My mind is saying, “Stay the fuck out of it. You don’t even give a fuck about either of them.” My heart says, “In the deepest part of yourself, you’re disgusted by this. You wouldn’t wish this on anyone, friend or foe, because you know how bad it hurts. You value the truth of emotion so much that silencing that kills you a little, doesn’t it?” Seeing this kid genuinely look at her affectionately and give his time and energy to someone who would easily throw him away is killing me.
It’s so hard to know when to censor yourself and when to speak your mind. Wanting to spare people pain can be the motive for both lying and telling the truth. I guess at the end of all the debate, it’s mostly about what outcome you’re most willing to cope with. With honesty, you’re staking the risk that that honesty will be taken negatively, but the information has been relayed and they can always expect to hear the truth from you. With a lie, if you’re discovered your trustworthiness drops, and even if you aren’t discovered, you lose some of that integrity of yourself, though you may avoid unpleasant situations. As far as I’ve come to see, it’s a choice between consequences. A choice I’m terrible at making.