Integrity and Character: Does Your Date Think You Have It?

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Character and Integrity. Two biggies. The biggest if you really think about it. Those two concepts define and direct the course of our lives. If you think your date doesn’t notice a little lie here and a little cheat there, you are dead wrong. Some daters measure your integrity and use that to decide if there will be a second date or not. Do you pass the character test?

Character, for me, is more about who you are in broad strokes. Defined by attributes, qualities and attitudes. For example, you can describe someones “character” as good, bad or (more rarely) ugly. Most often, it’s used to describe a positive collection of qualities or to sketch someone as a “character” meaning they are unique but someone who most people enjoy being around.

My dad always told me that integrity is who you are when no one is looking. Its all in the little details. Do you take the shopping cart back to the rack or leave it in a parking spot? Do you go to church because its what your girlfriend wants you to do or because its important to you as well? Do you take advantage of someone in business and think that person deserved it because they weren’t smart enough to see you coming? Do you tell the truth even when it means you might lose face or position? Do you talk about people behind their back?

The dictionary outlines “integrity” in terms of structural soundness, moral fortitude and completeness.

For most, living with integrity may not mean the easy road, but life does seem more simple. No lies to keep track of, if someone doesn’t like you its usually more their problem than yours, you typically reap long term rewards in the business world because people know they can trust your handshake/word. And in a dating relationship… the person you are with can relax and just be themselves with no worries about game playing, infidelity or waking up one morning to discover a different person than the one they thought they were dating.

I’ve noticed a few areas of integrity that really stand out when a guy or girl exhibits them… the kind of things that everyone exclaims over… the kind of things you’d want to be known for… of course, both sets of qualities cross over the sex divide, but these are just the top 3 I hear from men and women about each other:

Guys:

  1. Being a man of your word. Calling when you say you are going to call. Arriving when you say you’ll arrive. Being who you say you are. Telling the truth even if it means having to apologize or look foolish to someone you care about. Lordy, lordy… if you do this, you’re already in the top 10% for most of the women in the world.
  2. You simply have no room for cheating of any sort in your life. You don’t have friends who are cheaters. You don’t cheat on the woman you are with. You don’t cheat to get ahead at work. You don’t cheat by taking short cuts in order to get something you want. You just don’t cheat. Period. I have a few guy friends who fall into this category and its so nice to be around them because you don’t hear the by-product of a scammer’s weekend stories about bagging chicks. I also know the scammer guys on the other side of the equation as well and no matter how fun they may be, NONE of us would ever, in a million years, set them up with anyone. Who wants to be known as the person who introduced THAT jacka$$ to her friend?
  3. You are who you are. No pretenses. No games or airs or being one person with your girl and another with your friends and another with your family. You just are who you are and you’re ok with that.

Girls:

  1. You keep your mouth shut about other people. Gossip just doesn’t come out of your mouth. You don’t participate in other women’s gossiping either. I know one guy who wasn’t that interested in this girl until he saw her walk away from a conversation that had turned into a gossip fest and then firmly refused to talk about it. That turned his head. They are still dating over a year later. He says it was her refusal to gossip like so many other women that made him see her differently.
  2. You are who you say you are. Like the guys, no surprises a few months down the line. Yes, mystery is nice… a little something to uncover as you go and yes, you use wisdom in how and who you share with… but you’re a girl who is who she is without apologies. You know that giving a man the honest picture is better for the long run than portraying someone you are not just to “get” him.
  3. You’re a giver and not a user. Men know that you’ll go out with them if interested and not for a meal plan. If you give him your number, its the right one and you will answer the phone if he calls. You care enough to care that your motives are in the right place.

Something you may notice about living a life of integrity… some people aren’t going to like it. They’ve gotten used to the little lies that smooth the way or having friends who will gossip with them. Your light might make the shadows in their life a bit more obvious. My opinion… if you lost that “friend,” your life just got that much better.