by Maria L. Trigos S. Gilbert

Honesty is not an art, but with time it has become like gold, hard to find it as if such nice quality hides in a cave. Yet most of us would prefer to take the time to meet an honest person; therefore, let us give honesty its denotative meaning, in order to get the right idea and not just the thought of it. By giving honesty its real definition, we are going to face believes vs. reasoning, and this my dear reader is one of the problems because what we believe in is not necessarily the truth or the correct thing to do, to take, or to give. I hope that we are all on the right track.

It is like an experiment; you must take control of your variables. Then you may get a more truthful answer to your conclusions. Isn’t it neat and a bit complicated? Needless to say, there is not time to despair; keep the reading up with much enjoyment. What we are about to discover, is the truth of the truth. Do not think that “the” truth is sweet and easy to handle at all times because there you may feel a great amount of uneasiness.

What is Honesty?
The Random House Webster’s Dictionary states that honesty is a noun, for an honorable person in his/her principles, intentions, and actions. Therefore, someone who “earns” fairly something or someone, this person has an honest, truthful, face. I know that you may be thinking that such qualities just God has them. Yet, if we believe that it is impossible to have a friend online or off-line with those nice traits, then my dear reader we have a mighty problem.

I will say one important thing, and it is the following: Honesty is like a sport. In order to be good at it we must practice it. It is very easy to be honest when something favors us, but what about when it doesn’t favor us? There is the root of the problem. To be honest is like exercising; we don’t like the idea too much, but the good effects are more than worthwhile. The satisfaction is unlimited: We can sleep better and look directly into one’s eyes, without any vacillation because we just don’t trust our receptors, but ourselves in whatever the matter may be.

Writing to the Wind
Certainly, when we talk or think about an online friendship, we are talking more likely about written words. I remember that my sister always says paper holds everything and anything, meaning that talking on paper is like talking to the wind. There it is, and there it floats as if someone writes to the wind and with the wind. Nevertheless, the great potential of an online friendship is very vast. You write with a lot of clearness in order to be understood since you very well know that there is not the chance of a gesture or a “funny” noise. Still I have found myself trying to write noises and silences when I am chatting or emailing. I want to be understood and also to clarify.

If something can give us a headache, it is a real misunderstanding. Then it is when we try with all our hearts, minds, and souls to get our messages across, or to be sure that what the other person writes, is what he/she means. When I talk, my accent has become an obstacle that has made me upset. Yet when I write, it seems to me that people forget a bit my accent and read the words with a lot of less trouble. Isn’t it interesting? I find it to be a blessing.

Variable Meanings
I know that in Venezuela to say hi at night you say goodnight to someone. Ha, if you say goodnight in the USA, you are saying goodbye or till later. I once wrote that in a night chat with a friend when we just started to chat. Certainly she said, “What? You just got here, and are you already saying goodbye?” I laughed so much that it still makes me laugh a great deal. Of course, I clarified that I was trying to be nice, polite, and that I thought it was just a matter of saying hi. Yes, she also laughed a bit.

So the point here among the many is that words, gestures, or silences may give us a hard time when we are writing, but with honesty we should be able to solve all of them. Misunderstandings are far away from being dishonest to someone. Misunderstandings are like grass; you get it in spite of the lack of water, sun, and space. The problem with being dishonest is that we don’t comprehend how powerful words are. Our words can keep a person alive, revived, or dead.

Therefore, honesty bathed with some sugar is not bad for the heart, soul, and mind at any time. On the contrary, honesty is something that really saves us from many problems and deaths. Sad to tell you, there are not many people who believe about honesty’s effects in people’s lives. Well, here I would say it is just a matter of waiting for the results of the lack of worthiness in a person’s words or actions.

Even Dogs Type Online
A friend once told me, “María, remember that online even dogs are able to type.” Once again I laughed so much that it practically gave me a stomachache. Yet before writing this article, I stopped to think about it, and yes, it seems that online even dogs are able to type.

It is like the joke of a dog who is looking for a job, and after a great examination of its capacities the employer says, “Well, do you speak a second language?” There the dog says, “Yes, meow, meow, meow, meow.” I guess that you are getting the point. Nevertheless, as my mother would say, “When someone is not being truthful, the only one believing the story is the teller.” These my mother’s words mean that if we are not honest with what we are saying or trying to say, we are not getting anywhere, pretending to hold the air with a finger. I know that it sounds a bit funny, but scary. Isn’t it?

Truthfulness Online
An online friendship is a gift from God; it is me who thinks so. I don’t know about you. Yet it is very important to flip the other side of the coin and see what it looks like.

For instance, in one of my psychology classes the professor says, “Well, I guess that if you guys write me your questions online it will be more truthful because here in class you are all timid to ask the ‘wrong’ question.”

Certainly I have noticed that online people, if so we may call ourselves, get all fences off to talk real matters. Of course, we ask; why does it appear to be that way? Because online we are all the same, the only relevant fact is to be ourselves at all times. Online we have a fantastic opportunity to express our feelings and thoughts. People don’t have to like them, feelings and thoughts, but we must not forget that we are dealing with human beings. Otherwise, we are going to face as much problems as we might face in “real” time conversation or reading.

No Excuse for Dishonesty
I have a pretty good Latin friend living in my area. We have talked about many things, yet there are times when she or I won’t talk about certain things with much pleasure or easiness. Nevertheless, it is not an excuse to be dishonest toward each other! It feels good to know that at the end the whole purpose for having a friendship is to have someone there as much as we should be there for the other person. Yet what’s the problem with being dishonest? I here have to say what my father once told me, “The problem with being dishonest is that as soon as you say or do what’s not right, it becomes a chain of lies.”

It is much simpler to keep up with the truth than to keep up with a lie. Now, I know why Jesus says, “The truth shall let you free.” A lie is like a prison; it doesn’t matter how pretty it is. A prison is and will be a terrifying place to be at! I know you agree with me, thanks to God. Certainly, I will not say that there haven’t been times when to say the truth is not shameful because yes, there are moments when I would rather anything, but the truth.

Let us imagine that to lack honesty is a crime, is it? Crimes don’t pay! Of course, I know what you are thinking, “How come politicians have great salaries IF crimes DON’T pay?” Respectful reader, I only have an answer for this possible question: I am not a politician! I wonder if some of the online people that I have met are politicians. Nevertheless, for the most part I am super happy to have met the people that I have encountered in this PAIDWAY. I thank all my online friends for their time, words, and all their kindness toward me. All those things have filled my entire heart, mind, and soul.

A True Story
Let me share a small story with you: A woman was chatting and emailing to a man. Things were going just fine until the day they met. It changed their lives. She thought that she had encountered the most terrific man. He also thought that he had encountered the most fantastic woman in his life. Yet, the day that they decided to meet, something happened. They were a lot closer and united than they possibly had imagined.

The young lady was in love with her father, and so the father was in love with his daughter. They didn’t know that because since day one they were not honest toward each other. They just wrote their best in each given chat and email.

Dear reader, this is a true story, and I am very aware it sounds very incredible, but very real. This is why before we get the typing done on our keyboards, we MUST promise one thing, honesty. When these people found out that they were in love, it was not a problem. The trouble was when they discovered they were in love with an impossible. Please, let me tell you that this is not a personal story because my father doesn’t email me and a lot less chat with me, besides that I am very married and happily married. Nevertheless, it is still a very sad story for me because what that young lady and grown man experienced was not a nice moment, understanding that although their words and moments through the computer were outstanding. Yet the face to face contact was blown away. What was thought to be a wonderful thing, became a terrible experience. Do we need to experience something similar in our online world? I rather pass! What about you? I think you too rather pass, right? I hope so.

Honesty Online and Offline
Some of my offline friends have asked me, “María, why are you so attracted to computers and online stuff?” The answer has never been long enough. I just have to say one thing, why not? Certainly my reasoning tells me that a computer is a times a lot more faithful and understanding than many human beings. Isn’t it sad? Of course, such thought is super sad and that is why good relationships are not a matter of chemistry, but of work and hard work!

I know that the truth is not so easy all the single time. Nevertheless, it saves us a lot of headaches. I heard my father telling my brother once, “If you want to be treated like an adult, act like one!” No wonder, I am so much like a child.

Online and offline, I have seen adult people mistreating each other so much that I find the children’s world the most honest and safe place to be. Yet I don’t want to be in a children’s planet while I am such a grown woman. We all want to be treated with honor and respect, but we will not get those things from a dishonest person. More likely a person who lacks honesty, is not going to benefit us at all.

You may be very interested to know if your online friends are dishonest to you or not. Well, there is no need to find that out as long as you are honest toward yourself and toward other people. It is necessary to remember that online ethics are not an option, but a MUST! Forgetting online moral principles is like getting out naked. I don’t think that my husband would mind seeing me naked at home while he is with me. Yet I do know that he won’t find it amusing if I do such thing to go to work, or to go visit someone. Terrible thought, isn’t it? Yes, it is as much as it is online dishonesty.

My online friends are honest because they want the same thing from me. It is very difficult to be a jerk, OOPS dishonest, when we know that the other person is pouring his/her heart out in a chat or email to me. Therefore, I do hope that you have understood that yes, it is possible to have a marvelous online friendship as much as it is to have a great offline friendship.

If one thing we should always keep in mind, it is that we are human beings, very vulnerable. If there is anything else that I am able to answer you my dear reader, I am more than willing to do so. Just email me; I may answer you directly or through another article I will answer any further questions. I will do so with great joy in my heart because I CARE!

Thanks for your great attention and care!

From this my computer to yours,

María L. Trigos S. Gilbert (MLTSG)