We prefer people who are ‘straightforward’: who are direct and unambiguous about their desires and characters. Becoming more so involves untangling the self-deceptions we constructed when we were young.
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“A basic distinction in humans is between those who are simple and straightforward to deal with – and those who are – as we tend to be reminded when we interact with them – repeatedly tricky or complicated to handle.
What makes straightforward people gratifying to be around isn’t so much that their positions and intentions are always inherently unproblematic, it’s that we happen to know exactly what the issues are from the start. There is therefore no need to guess, infer, decode, untangle, unscramble or translate. There are no sudden surprises or revolutions in perspective. If these straightforward types don’t want to do something, they will, politely and in good time, explain that it’s really not for them. If they’re unhappy with our behaviour, they won’t smile sweetly while developing noxious stores of envy or hatred in the recesses of their minds; they will immediately provide a gentle but accurate statement of how we are frustrating them. If they are worried a project is going awry, they won’t pretend that all is well until a catastrophe can no longer be denied. If they are attracted to someone, they will find charming, kind and inoffensive ways of making their feelings clear. And in bed, they may want to please, but they can also be honest and unashamed about what actually excites them.”
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