Lately, I feel like I've gotten a bit off track for my original intent of the blog. My main schtick was to contrast the ideal "Molly Mormon" and how we set up impossible standards for ourselves. So until something else comes up I'd rather discuss, I'll stick with that. :)
OK. So the prefect Molly Mormon is honest. Most would agree honesty is a good trait. Molly pays her tithing, doesn't lie, helps everyone, and is always ready with a smile whenever anyone asks her to serve.
The problem, is that we say we "value honesty", but what we mean is we value "social politeness". Or, in other words, we value honesty, as long as it isn't TOO honest. If we did value all honesty, Molly would be praised if, when she was asked if she enjoyed the black-bean brownies at the preparedness fair, she answered "I would rather eat the Pyrex they were served in." instead of "Oh, what a healthy alternative to the boxed mix!"
Can you imagine how awkward everyone would feel if, when asked, "how are you?" people actually answered honestly? "Ugh. I've got next to no money, my kids are driving me batty, and my husband won't stop playing his game long enough to eat, let alone mow the lawn!" Within a few weeks, a woman would be branded as a NEGATIVE NANCY. Which I find strange, because she's telling it how it is.
But there's the point. Few people want to know how it is. They want you to be happy and concise, so they can feel like they've done their duty by asking, without having to get involved with your drama. Because we all have drama. And most people don't want to deal with theirs and yours.
When it comes to answering the obligatory "how are you?", I enjoy giving numbers. "3/10" or "8/10". That way, if they care, they ask why. And if they don't, they feel good knowing they ask, and I feel good because I know they are shallow. If nothing else, the expression on their face while they try to process why I say numbers is amusing.
It's a tricky line, the honesty vs too honest. I don't know how to stay balanced on it. Personally, I've always veered to the too honest. I've been told many times that I should be more "positive" and "optimistic". I'm the person who, in temple recommend interviews answers "NO" when asked about the Word of Wisdom. My reasoning? My diet is consisted of about 40% sugar, 40% meat, 15% milk, and 5% veggies. Definitely not the "Eat healthy and meat sparingly" thing.
So, overall, kudos to Molly for being able to navigate that road. You have mastered being truthful without giving too many details. You are the queen of turning a question into a compliment to the asker. You are the maven of societal interaction perfection. And I salute you. I just wonder how tired you are behind your pretty smiles.