“You’re testing me, aren’t you?” he said, to my surprise. I was. I was under the assumption that my attempts to provoke him were rather sophisticated. Indeed, I even know how to make men believe that it was their decision to leave me rather than mine (it minimises the risk of revenge). There we were, alone at a restaurant. I had spent the last few weeks with him, but there was always a lingering doubt, a distrust of his intentions and I wanted to find a way to offend him and expose the true depths of his personality, now, rather than later. I just called him a liar.
“No,” I said with my eyes, but I never actually said no. I just stared back at him in pity as rage began to overwhelm him. He was lying. He was being superficial to me, presenting himself inauthentically as an archetypal ‘nice guy’ masked under his real personality. I wanted to know his thoughts, his intentions, who he actually was and to see whether he was willing to converse, to talk things through, to use his mind. I see it all the time, in both men and women, women who have cheated on their oblivious boyfriends and yet delight in complimenting them knowing it will fool them from ever learning about their intentions, or conversely men who intentionally keep people in their lives who only compliment and nourish their egos, avoiding anyone who criticises them to mask their inherent narcissism. People are so good at lying that they actually believe their own lies, so why would I trust them?
After a past encountered with the worst sort of men, I made the decision to create barriers to those permitted into my private life, a gauntlet to test whether they could survive my moral onslaught and prove the integrity of their intentions, to see if they would turn and walk the other way, to see how angry they would get, if they would lie about me, if they would get others involved, whether their ego is more important than reason.
They all fail miserably.
So what is the morality behind testing the intentions of others? Is it an honest practice, or a psychological one that mirrors my own intentions and sets people to fail by default through impossible standards? Is it a form of lying? Would observational analysis suffice, where I simply wait over a period of time before obtaining enough experiences to catalogue justifications that would hold others accountable? Or does the swift testing mechanism early in the relationship enable one to protect themselves from forming emotional attachments to bad friends?