#102 Complete Honesty in Relationships with Brad Blanton
In this episode we're going to look at the typical situations where we lie - whether it's a girl we just met, a girlfriend, a wife, someone we're married to - and we're going to go over some useful approaches to be more honest in these situations. More importantly, we're going to look at the benefits of being honest in our relationships, because I imagine not all of you think it's beneficial to be honest all of the time.
Today's guest has got some very strong viewpoints on this and he's very well known for "radical honesty". So we're going to dig deep into why you would want to be more honest in your relationships, and with the people you meet.
Brad Blanton, PhD, is a psychologist, a therapist, and a seminar leader. He's the author of Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth, which was a nation-wide best seller in 1996. It's been translated into seven languages and is one of the top selling books on psychology on amazon.com today.
Radical honesty eliminates lying to others and it eliminates self deception; so lying to yourself from your life. That's the whole purpose of it. And this is something that you'll see Brad clearly demonstrates in this interview. So I think that's something really valuable in this interview because he really demonstrates what he preaches. We talk about some of his personal life, his own relationships, and other areas, his ideas, and so on. You'll see that he's very direct, open, and honest about that.
So you can learn both from the advice in this interview, but also the example of that advice in the way he's approaching the whole interview.
Brad has been married five times and has carried out nude workshops. He teaches nude and people who are going to these seminars are also nude for one of the days there, and he's done a lot of other interesting things, as we'll see in the interview.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Getting to know Brad's dating, sex, relationship, and lifestyle background (04:22)
- Different concepts of lying Brad has observed (12:43)
- The most common objectives people create against this approach (15:53)
- How long Brad has been practicing: radical honesty workshops, clinical psychologist (18:50)
- The moment Brad decided to apply radical honesty to his life (19:12)
- Non-violent versus violent communication: the difference between violence and communication (20:09)
- What usually happens during the process of the radical honest approach? (21:16)
- A deeper relationship love due to open, honest communication (23:20)
- Self-development and building confidence from this process (27:25)
- The reactions experienced when starting the radical honesty approach (30:44)
- There are no rules to honest communication (34:46)
- People who are unable to deal with such direct communication (37:13)
- The concept of "sticking with them" within conflicting communication (38:22)
- Naturally talking about your honest experiences with others and embracing a life of honesty (40:40)
- The downsides of not using the radical honesty approach (42:48)
- Approaches to focusing on the pain in order to create change within yourself and take action (44:58)
- Taking a calmer approach to life: methods, approaches, and noticing you and the world around you (46:50)
- The honesty of owning up to your deceit in a relationship (49:00)
- The best ways to connect with Brad to learn more about him and his work (52:59)
- Recommendations for advice in this area and improving relationships (54:40)
- Top recommendations for guys starting out from scratch to improve their relationships (56:02)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth: Brad's best selling book, translated into seven languages, and a top selling psychology book on amazon.com.
- Radical Honesty: Brad's website for learning how to transform your life by telling the truth.
- Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (Marshall B. Rosenberg): Angel mentioned this book while discussing non-violent versus violent communication.
- #86 Can a Tony Robbins Seminar Help You with Women? with David Tian: Angel talks about going to this "Unleash The Power Within" seminar while discussing the concept of focusing on the pain in order to create change and take action. Also available here.
- Robert Fritz Inc: Robert and Rosalind Fritz' website focusing on the creative process and structural dynamics of individuals and organizations. Recommend by Brad for his many books.
- Getting Real: Ten Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life (Susan Campbell): Brad recommends this book, and others, by Susan Campbell.
- David DeAngelo: Brad recommend David DeAngelo for his work. He is an acknowledged dating advisor, entrepreneur, and is considered to be among the elite in the dating industry.
- Annie Lalla: Brad also recommends Annie. She specializes in love, sex and conflict resolution, as well as "mapping the complexities of communication and subtleties of relationships".
Books, Courses and Training from Brad Blanton
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: Brad, thank you so much for joining us on the show.
[Brad Blanton]: Glad to be here.
[Angel Donovan]: I thought what we'd is we'd kicked off with something that you're very used to which is being radical in your honesty. Something else we have to do in the show is get to know someone at the beginning and asking about their dating, sex relationship lifestyle and how it's gone. So I thought just kick off, it's like, how many wives have you had?
[Brad Blanton]: I've been married five time. I have had five successful marriages.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great and how many sexual partners have you had?
[Brad Blanton]: Well probably, five or six hundred.
[Angel Donovan]: Wow, that's a fair number. Could I ask how that occurred? Was that, for instance, having affairs or because, it seems like you've been married a long time as well. How did that occur just like in brief terms.
[Brad Blanton]: I grew up in the 60s and 70s and we had...we weren't worried STDs then the way we had to be later on and women were liberated and men were liberated and there were lots of possibilities for sexual experimentation. Almost all those partners were women. I've had sex with men three or four times too.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, was that through just for experimentation or it's something you wanted or what was the motivation?
[Brad Blanton]: It was experimentation and a friend who's gay and wanted make love to me. So we did and then basically, I went out with a lot of women. I really, really didn't do anything...using my brain for the first fifty years of my life, I just followed...
We had a great [inaudible] in the 60s and 70s and basically, I have an experience of more sex than I could stand. I started when I was living in Washington D.C. and I was single. I had been divorced a couple of years and I was rich and I was fairly good looking. It was 1969, 70 and 71 and I started looking forward to a night without going out on a date, like I used to look forward to going bed with a strange woman.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, how old were you then?
[Brad Blanton]: About 28.
[Angel Donovan]: Wow, that's early. That started to hit me in my early 30s sometime, I think. I'm just interested like, so what do you think got you to that point? Was there an event or is it...
[Brad Blanton]: No, there were just...it's just that basically, I was busy. I felt like I was servicing Washington D.C. So, I tried to organize it such a way that has some constancy in my life. So, I got married to one woman on Monday nights only. So, every Monday night, we were together and we'd talk and go out and eat and make love and have a great time, catch up on the week.
It worked so well after a couple of months, I got married to another woman on Thursday nights and that worked out really well too. We had a great time. In fact, when my Monday night and Thursday night wife met at a party on Monday night one night, we all went out and went to bed together and they were lovers too and that worked out so well, I got married to another woman on Friday nights.
[Angel Donovan]: Are these real marriages or are these kind of reservation nights?
[Brad Blanton]: One night per week marriages.
[Angel Donovan]: Alright okay, yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: And then basically, when I took a trip around the world and was gone for a year and was basically...I had all those nights of monogamy for constancy and that left the other nights so I could screw around a little bit in case I felt it too.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: So, all those things and I've been in varies polyamorous relationships and I'm not very good at handling jealousy but, I learned some about it and basically, all throughout all that stuff, I was also a clinical psychologist in Washington D. C. So, I learned a lot from that work about lying and basically, I learned that the major cause of most stress in couples, conflict in couples and in relationships had to do with withholding information or hiding by telling stories or basically, the most pernicious form of lying is simply not mentioning things.
After years of teaching people to start telling the truth and quite lying and...finding that it worked and solved depression and anxiety reactions and a lot of sexual problems and insomnia and a whole lot of things. It basically, people cleared the boards and became open and honest with each other and faced their fears they had of being rejected or angry or insulting or making mad at their partner but, they told the truth. The honesty is much more clearing and endearing then, the hard hands it had become through. So, you had to get used to being willing to be uncomfortable and being comfortable with being uncomfortable is the key, I think to having good relationships.
[Angel Donovan]: So, that's sounds interesting from a relationship perspective. It sounds like you're like...because, a lot of us have this idea of the perfect relationship where it's stable, I guess we're not having arguments and there's security in that relationship and emotionally stability, I'd like to say. Is that what you're saying? Are you saying that's the wrong to look at relationships? It's not really what it is in the ideal sense?
[Brad Blanton]: Well generally, idealism is not my forte. What I think is that you're going to have a relationship where you never get angry at each other. You're not going to have a relationship where you don't get your feelings hurt or disappointed in them. Basically, that will happen. The better you can deal with that, tell the truth about it and handle it then basically, the better you'll be in relating and the better you'll be in relationships new, old or intermediate.
Yet what happens, the reason I say I've had successful marriages is because my kids are all successful. We're all contributors to other people and they're basically great contribution to the people who know them. They're in positions of where they are giving gifts to lots of people all the time.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: And that has something with the working through of honesty in the relationship with their parents and me. It had more to do with them being...having wonderful mothers than me being such a great father but, I was a pretty good father for the first like, 10 or 12 years.
What works out is, being able to say what you want and say, "This is what I want you to do and if you don't, it's Okay, I'll take care of it myself. If I get mad at you, I'll get mad and get over it. It's not up to you. My happiness is not up to you."
When you say to another person, "My happiness is not up to you and this is what I would like for you to do but, you don't have to," on the receiving end of that you're completely willing. "Ah, as long as I don't have, I'm willing to."
If you really mean it and you carry it out that basically, you don't get your way and you get mad about it and you get over it or you get hurt about it and you get over it, they see that you actually mean what you say and they trust you because, trust is based on honesty. It's not based on performance. It's not based on performing a good show for the other person.
It's like, mostly the dating game and most dating advice is about some kind of...one kind of performance or another. But, the best dating advice I know of is just to forget about performing and say, "This is what I like. This is what I don't like. I'm glad you did that. I don't like that."
If she says, "Do you think I look fat in this dress?" you say, "Yep," and basically, whatever it is you say it and you deal with and stay with it and eventually, you work things out. You might work things out for like five years or ten years or 20 years or 15 years and then decide you don't want to stay together anymore. Then, you don't and you go with someone else.
But the same thing works and you can still be friends and you care each other and love the children and do a good job of co-parenting without it being a permanent on-going measure of the value of relationship. If it is only a number of years in the relationship, that's not a very good value measure because, there are a lot of people in miserable relationships for 50 years. I'm sort of all over the map here but basically, what I'm trying to talk about is that the most attractive thing, I think for you with other people is their ability to be honest even if it hurts your feelings or if it offends, you feel like you can trust them.
[Angel Donovan]: So, I'm struggling with people are...I'm sure they're not aware of when they would be lying according to the way you see lying. We have different concepts of lying and so on. So, I know you've worked for with many, many couples and so on in your seminars over the years. What would say are the most common ones that come up when you're coaching and that you've seen them perhaps they don't see for themselves, the examples of where they're lying and they're causing these problems.
[Brad Blanton]: Well, just being in the habit of holding stuff back, just being in the habit of withholding. When you think something but, you don't say it out loud. You did something but, you don't tell them what you did. When you're basically, withholding.
Like, my definition honestly is that you report what you notice, period and when you report, there is a limit on what you can notice. The entire awareness continuum could be divided into three parts.
You can notice what's going on around you right now. You can notice what's going within the confines of your skin right now, sensations and movements and so forth. You can notice what's going through your mind right and your honesty, radical honesty is reporting what you notice.
So, you say, "Right now, I'm thinking..." and you say what you're thinking. "Right now, I'm noticing I'm tense and the left side and I'm worried about what you're going to say back to me when I tell you this. It's like, now I'm imagining that you're mad or right now, I'm liking the way you look or I don't like the way you look," whatever it is.
Basically, you just share on an ongoing basis what's in your and what you're noticing. Most of it is all bullshit anyway but, you go ahead and share it so that you all mostly [inaudible] and then, what happens is that you end up having a few rough spots but mostly, getting along and appreciating the other person you can depend to be honest with you.
[Angel Donovan]: So, I'm thinking of an example here where for instance, a guy is out on a date with a girl and he's looking at her and he's thinking, "Wow, she looks really hot tonight. I'm really glad I got her out." So in that situation, you would just say, "I was just thinking how hot you look right there.
Obviously, guys have got different ways of expressing that in their heads. I can imagine they may get into trouble in some areas where they're thinking overly sexual. In your world, is that okay? You just let it out as it is and you basically face the consequences of that and deal with them and as you learn to go through life with this approach?
Obviously, some women are going to respond differently to others. Some will be more accepting. They're kind of more open and they're more, you said, it's kind of straight talk and others are, I guess in your world, they're most used to avoiding that kind of darkness.
[Brad Blanton]: Well, I don't...not at all. We just say, "What I noticed..." Like basically, when you were talking about it, you were squirming a little bit and I would say, "I think you look really hot and I'm really happy we went out tonight and I hope that doesn't scare you away but, that's what I think and, if you didn't want me to think that, why did you wear that low-cut thing where you look so good."
[Angel Donovan]: That's what you'd say to that?
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah, something like that.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay. What's of course, the most common objection people come with against using this approach? What do people get stuck with in their head when they try it for the first time or when they're thinking about trying it and they push back on you and they say, "This will never work."?
[Brad Blanton]: Well basically, I say to them, "Give it a try and see what you think. It's up to you. It's your life. Do what you want. I'm telling you that in my experience this is what works and what works better than various things that you try to pose with."
There is a problem of mistaken identity that we all share and that is, we've taught all of our lives that we are our reputation. That we are the grade we make, we were what the teachers thinks of us, we are what our parents think of us, what our peers think of us. That the most important thing to cling to in adolescence is probably just a long psychotic period which everyone thinks that who they are is the story they get generated about them and the pictures in the minds of other people.
They couldn't be that who you are is a presentness noticing being. Who you are is a person sitting there looking at a screen, listening to me and copying back and who I am is this other person on this screen doing that. That's my fundamental identity and that is your fundamental identity and the stories about your reputation and what you imagine other people imagine about you, that is your secondary and not as important as your ability to notice. That more often, they're a distraction from noticing.
So while you're being hysterical, trying to imagine what she must be thinking, you could say, "Well, I'm wondering what you're thinking. What are you thinking?" and she'd say, "Well, something..." Then, you could say, "Well, is that really true? What else are you thinking?" Then, she could say, "Well, I'm thinking I don't like being asked that question," and I'd say, "Oh Okay, good. Then, that's valid information." Doesn't mean I'm going to stop asking those kind of questions but, it's information though.
So what you get if your identity is not what you imagine other people are thinking about you, you can ask me what they're thinking and you can ask me...you can tell them what you think about them and you're already at a deeper level of relating than the usual shallower level relating. I swear even very shallow people prefer greater depth.
Everybody prefers having a conversation with someone they feel like is a friend who's listening and who will say back what goes on with him and there's not much use in wasting a lot of time of the whole deal is about, "How am I doing? How I am doing in all of that?" Basically if you have that, you need to say, "How am I doing? How am I doing? I get sick of asking myself this all the time. So, I'll say it out loud." She's like, "Well, you're doing okay, I guess."
[Angel Donovan]: You must have had some very interesting conversations over the years. How long have you been practicing this now?
[Brad Blanton]: Well, I have been teaching radical honesty workshops for about 30 years and I was a clinical psychologist for about 25 years in Washington D.C. and was doing both overlapping part of the time. So, I've talked to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people about their life stories and about the stories of their love lives and stuff like that.
[Angel Donovan]: Was there a moment when you decided to apply this to your life.
[Brad Blanton]: It didn't come exactly like as a moment like that. I became less of a liar as I grew older but, I was pretty much willing to confront hypocrisy. I was in the Civil Rights Movement from way back when I was 19 years old and I was in basically in the Anti-Vietnam War Movement.
I got various...I went against the established order of things, refused to serve in Vietnam, did a whole bunch of things that were...told people, "To hell with you. I'm not doing what you want and if you don't like it, you can kiss my ass," and basically, got by with it. I didn't get killed. I got shot at. I got bombed. I got put in jail. I got beat up with billy clubs and stuff but basically, I got by with telling the truth and it was up against people who didn't want to hear and they didn't kill me and they didn't kill too many of my friends.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great to hear. I'm very glad. That was a funny...you know, when we're talking now, I was actually thinking of some of other people I've spoken to and also some other people's work I've known which, I'm assuming you've probably come across also which you may relate to or you may not. So, this Non-Violent Communication from Marshall Rosenberg, have you followed his work?
[Brad Blanton]: I have had and I have a number of his non-violent communication teachers in groups of mine and stuff. I don't like it much. I don't think...
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, that's good to know, yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: I think non-violent communication is a misnomer, like violence is violence and communication's communication.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: And it's one of the things I encourage people to do is to cuss each other out in the process of an argument and being short of actual violence and hitting each other but, it's okay to cuss each other out and holler and raise hell. It's part of the process because, when you're experiencing, experience it can come and go but, when you're resist experiencing it, you cause it to persist.
So, a lot of the non-violent, NVCC people that I've had, they were very angry people. They hadn't gotten over their angry whereas, a lot of people that I have worked with, they're a lot less angry than they used to be.
[Angel Donovan]: So the more you practice just noticing...speaking about what you're noticing, over time does it get easier? What generally happens in this process when people...?
[Brad Blanton]: What happens is when you're attached to your standards of being lived up to and you keep telling the truth about your...you start recognizing, "It's me being tightly attached to standards that I expect other people have to live up to and I really don't like people having standards that I have to live up to that are different than mine." So, an honest conversation about it is, "Well, I think it's wrong of you to do that or you're a fool and it's up to you; it's your life. And it's up to me, if you think I'm wrong and a fool," but, you can still have a conversation. You can actually forgive a Republican. It's hard but, it's possible.
And so, to get into forgiveness means you feel things through in your body. It's not conclusions you reach with your mind. They come secondary. "Well say Darrius. I'm mad at you and you show up an hour late and I say I resent you for coming at 8:00 when you said you'd be here at 7:00. We've been sitting around here waiting on you for Goddamn hour and I resent you." He says, "Well, I got tired of dragging." "I don't give a damn what your excuse is." "Well, I resent you for resenting me for it."
We holler a little bit. About ten minutes later, we go out and get a beer and we're friends again. Now, how did we do that? We got that by getting mad, staying with each other, having the experience, having it increase and decrease and then fade away. Then, we kind of appreciate the other person for sticking with it. So, we got mad and got over it. We feel the warmth and feel that and let that come in here.
So, what happens is you have these renewed relationships that have to do with, "Now what?" Say, "Okay, now what?" but, you're open to new possibilities without being guarded against each other because, you've already gone through what you're guarding against.
So, that openness is very attractive. It helps you fall in love. You fall in love with lots and lots of people when you tell the truth and they tell the truth to you in lots of ways. Being in love is more fun than not being in love.
[Angel Donovan]: Would you say it's a deeper love than the typical love people are talking about. You say, you fall in love in many different ways. If you compared to the classic movies where we're getting bombarded with all the time and how they picture love there versus what you were talking about right now, is it different?
[Brad Blanton]: No, that love, romantic love is just wonderful. It's just that it doesn't last. Particularly, it lasts shorter and shorter depending on how much you demand it. "Oh, that was so great," and you end up living in a hill billy song.
"Why don't you love like you used to do? Why do you treat me like worn out shoes? My eyes are still...my hair is still curly and my eyes are still blue. Why don't you love me like you used to do?" That's what ruins romantic love is all those expectations. You have to keep it up, keeping doing it.
It's okay, it can come and go. So you say, "Oh well, I love the hell out of you last week but, I'm not so wrapped up in you in this week." So they say, "Yeah, me too or well, I've loved you this week because, you're shutting up more." You have these conversations that allow you to follow and love again after you get over hurt or angry or being mad with each other.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Brad Blanton]: [Inaudible], it worked out a kind of stale compromise like an agreement between two accountants or lawyers or something and that's not much fun. So basically, I recommend that you go ahead and risk losing love in order for love to renew.
[Angel Donovan]: Sounds like a more passionate kind of rocky road, the little kind of argument you were doing back there. It sounds relatively rocky for people to get through, just a discussion. So, it sounded like you're kind of provoking arguments. I mean, your goal is not to avoid conflict. It's kind of like to push through it quickly...
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: ...and spark it on purpose in order to get to the other side where is more of the renewal and you becoming closer. Is that idea behind it?
[Brad Blanton]: Not exactly. If you're demanding that the other person do something to live up to your expectations, including your expectations about honesty and you're always trying to challenge them, "I think you're lying" and all that stuff. You might do that a little bit now and then but, it depends on if it's fun or joking. It's like serious and you're always trying to promote some kind of conflict to prove that they were actually mad and as long as their involved anyway, that's another stupid mental agenda.
What I have is a general purpose mental agenda of tell the truth the best you can. If you get it 80% right, you'll be doing better than most of the people in the world. Don't lie on purpose.
Tell the truth and keep on engaging based on, "I'm afraid you'll get mad at me if I tell you this. So, I'm telling. Now, I told you that. Are you mad at me?" And, if it's okay, if they're mad at you and then, you hope they get over it and if they don't get over it, you say, "Well, I resent you for still looking the same way today as you did yesterday." Then, you've got to get over that.
The idea is that over and over again by sharing and being straight and honest with each other, we're able to feel our way through things rather than think our way around things and when you can feel your way through things with another person, my experience is that I'm always grateful that they were there with me and I was there with them and they could feel their way through it and I could feel my way through.
It's a warm appreciation or the wideness that my life can be. It doesn't have to be some kind of narrow moralistic focus. I don't have to live like I'm a preacher or a Baptist or a Muslim or some other addict to moralism. So basically, it's freedom; that you're granting each other freedom to be who you are and to discover together over and over again what nuances show up in that context.
It's more fun generally. You don't find somebody that has a good sense of humor to be like a narrow person. Like comedians have suffered some. They've been mad, they've been hurt, they've been through a variety of experiences and they're able to laugh at a whole lot of things that other people aren't able to laugh to because, they were scared to get through them.
[Angel Donovan]: But, it always strikes me as an approach to life, like a philosophy. Are you taking more risks, more social risks, we'll call them?
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: But, you're always going to stand out as more unique just because, people tend to bend towards the average when they're being more diplomatic and they're just trying to be nicer to people and avoid conflict and so on, they tend to go to the average. So, it strikes me that over time, you're going become more of an individual, unique individual whatever that is, your version of it.
Have you seen people growing confidence as a result of that or as a result of this process? Have you seen very insecure kind of unconfident people? Like what kind of internal psychological impact does this have on people over time?
[Brad Blanton]: Well, it's what you're confident about. What I basically do in my workshops is I teach they can't depend on their mind. Our minds are terrible. Our minds are very, very poor instruments.
We have these assessments that are based on reactions that happened in the past that we didn't fully experience and we probably forgot half of them and we're living according to principles we think we generated in ourselves but, we just picked them up from watching some bad sitcom on TV. Basically, our minds are very unreliable instruments.
I have a section in one of my books entitled, A Mind is Terrible Thing, Wasted. Confidence comes from being confident in your being. "I'm Okay. I can notice. I can take care of myself. I can handle it. If got dropped in some foreign country without any bill fold or credit cards, I'll probably survive and that I'll figure out, wander around and figure out what to do by paying attention to what's going on. Seeing who is there who can help and stuff like that."
It's being able to survive as a being, as a noticing being. That's what give you confidence and you can also admit that you're wrong. You can say so, "And it looks to me like such and such. What do you think?" They say, "No, no, that's not what's going on." "Oh, well good thank you," say because, you're not vested in being right all the time. You're just vested in being as accurate in a sharing way as you can and their mind is just as screwed up as your mind.
You know, "I'm not going to do everything that you want to me to do. Basically, what you want me to do is something you came up with your mind which is no more reliable and instrument than mind. So, I don't trust your mind or my mind, neither one. In fact, we both need each other to figure out what might be half-way good given that we've both got these ill-functioning minds." So that confidence comes from lack of confidence in your mind and more confidence in your ability to survive as a being.
[Angel Donovan]: Right so, it's through living through challenges. Basically, for living for experiences that we gain more confidence? Is that...by taking this more direct approach, you're going to be exposed to more conflicts in your life. So, you're effectively coming over lots of little bumps all the time and you get used to it and you're used to dealing with just your world and your experience which has more bumps in the road.
So, we've spoken about this on the show before. The more richer and the more risks you've been taking in your lifestyle, the more confidence you're going to naturally develop in that. That's one of the approaches to developing more confidence. Just knowing you're going to be able to deal with situations when they come up.
So, it strikes me that your approach is...you're actually introducing more conflicts by its nature. So, the people would reasonably become more confident if they can stick. The question is like, if some people do they start this, they get some negative reactions? Do they back down, in your experience?
[Brad Blanton]: Well, what happens usually, it's sort of...it's a like a mechanical movement, like when you read the way your eyes like...I'll tell you a story.
I was in Paris, this was about 35, 40 years ago. I was in Paris and was staying on the left bank and I got on the subway. I had to go do some errands in the morning and so, I was coming back on the subway fairly, like 8:30 in the morning or something like that. This really good looking woman got on. She was really hot. She had a short skirt.
She was standing and saw I was looking at her and so was everybody else, basically. So, I watched her and as I started to get off at my stop, she started moving toward me. So, I walked along side of her and I saw she had the Herald Tribune in her hand. I said, "Is anything good in that Herald Tribune this morning?"
She looks at me and she said, "No, it's pretty much the same old thing." I said, "Well actually, I already read it. I just like the way you looked and I wanted to strike up a conversation with you and I thought that would do it." Then, she said, "Oh, there you go being honest." I said, "Yeah."
So, we were walking up the step to get out of the platform and I said, "There's a place up here. We could you get a cup of tea and I'd like to buy you a cup of tea. So, you want to?" She looked at me and she said, "Okay." So, we went in and got a cup of tea.
So, I got a cup of tea and I set it on the table and I said, "I didn't really want any tea. I just thought I would delay you so I might have a better chance of going to bed with you." She said, "There you go being honest again." I said, "Yeah."
So, I said, "So, do you want to?" She said, "No." I said, "How do you know?" She said, "Well, I don't just go to bed with perfect strangers." You know, she was from the states.
You know and I said, "How do you know?" She said, "What do you mean, 'How do I know'?" I said, "Well, how many strangers have you been to bed with." She said, "None." I said, "So, you don't know what you're talking about then, do you?"
She kind of laughed and I said, "Here I got a scientific proposition. We'll finish our tea. We'll talk, get to know each other a little bit and we'll go over to my apartment which is only like a block or two away. We'll go upstairs, we'll make love and we will then, get up get dressed, you go home, give me your address. I'll come pick you up tonight. We'll go out to dinner. We'll have a glass of wine, a bottle of wine and we'll eat a meal. We'll come back. We'll make love again and we'll compare the two experiences. Then, you'll have some scientific basis..."
She said, "Okay." So, we did and we concluded at the end of that, that it was still fun the first time but, it was more fun after we really knew each and we had made love the next morning too but several times afterwards were more fun because, we'd relaxed and known each but, it still wasn't worth passing up.
So, I told her to pass that around. She was a social worker and we wrote for years and talked about this and stuff like that.
So, what happened was, I would be a little pretentious and then, I'd come off and tell the truth and then I'd may pretentious and then, I'd come off and tell the truth. Basically, it's not anything that everybody doesn't know is going on anyway because, the dating game, you know is a game.
It's a game. Everybody's playing the game. The woman's trying to meet some guy she wants to go bed with and maybe have a relationship with and so is the guy. So, you might as well talk about that on the first date or first hour of the first date or something like that because, basically you can say what you're doing, what you're looking for, how come your doing, whether you like how much you like her and stuff like that.
I recommend sometimes if people go out on four dates in a row, four nights in a row and just experiment that the date is for being able to practice telling the truth or when they cast themselves pretending to come off it just for practice and see how it happens and it usually happens wonderfully. They're surprised at the quality of the connection they make with other people.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a great experiment. I hope some people listening take up on it to see how it goes.
[Brad Blanton]: Just say, "I'm not here particularly to make particular future relationship with you. I'm just practicing being honest. How about that?"
[Angel Donovan]: I think it will actually.
[Brad Blanton]: Pretty good.
[Angel Donovan]: So, we haven't spoken about communication style. When you're being honest, obviously there's different ways to do it. So, what I'm not clear on is like, where's the line between being diplomatic and you would say, you're not exactly being truthful? Would you suggest that people are relatively direct and blunt or that...
Which is why I was comparing it a little bit to non-violent communication because, I see some similarities, some overlap in your...because, he talks about the facts. Like you should express the facts like you talk about but, I think where you differ quite considerably is you are not so concerned about avoiding violent communication. You think it's a good part.
So in our communication style, do you have any rules or is it pretty straightforward? You just communicate as you would normally.
[Brad Blanton]: Kind of the rules of thumb which are basically, diplomacy doesn't work. Obviously, look at the world. The world...the way the world is through diplomacy. Diplomacy is usually concerned to be the alternative to world. I say, it's the cause of war.
So, I don't believe in diplomacy. As far as I'm concerned diplomacy sucks. So, if your diplomatically...someone says, "Do I look fat in this dress?" You say, "Yeah, you look like a whale," or you say, "No, not particularly fat. I didn't even pay attention to your general size. I was looking at your tits."
The thing is, being...if you're diplomatic, at least try to come off it enough to be honest about what you're being overly diplomatic about and being overly careful is not a very attractive thing. I don't think...I don't particularly like people who are being very careful all the time. You know, it's like, there's kind of...
[Angel Donovan]: You just gave a very uncareful example of calling someone, a girl a whale. Would you recommend that communication style or would you recommend like, "You look pretty fat in that dress", nothing added?
[Brad Blanton]: I wouldn't worry about levels whether you overdo it or do it wrong, you can work it out. You could say, "Oh well, that was kind of harsh, wasn't? Did that hurt your feelings? Yeah, Okay. Well, did anybody do that to you before?"
She'd talk about how she got shamed into getting a little overweight by tranquilizing herself with food in the first place. You can have a real conversation about that. So what happens is that there could be an opening because of lack of diplomacy that isn't there because of this over weening diplomacy.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. Do you think there are some people who can't take this? Like, I have seen examples in your work where couples, one would basically embrace the process and go with it and the other half wouldn't be able to deal with the process. So, do you think there are specific people who can't deal with this directness? They think it too personally or something like this right?
So, we're talking about, for example, let's just continue with like the girl in her dress, she looks kind of fat. Are there some women in the world who can't take that and it's going to result in breaking the relationship immediately? Or have you found in general it still leads to positive outcomes or basically, is it useful to be selective about who we use this directness with? Or are you just saying like use it with everyone regardless of the consequences and that will end up being better for you in the long term?
[Brad Blanton]: I'm saying you're less likely to be erratic if you just do it all the time. Don't worry about the consequences and now and then, you're going to lose an acquaintance. If you hurt somebody's feelings, you stick with them until they get over having their feelings and you stick with them until they get over being mad and you stick with them while they’re mad and while you're mad and you stick with each other. It's the sticking with them that counts, not the general bullshit of your mind which is always a bunch of judgements that are basically, some kind of reactive formation from your past and not have much to do with what's going on in reality anyway.
[Angel Donovan]: So what is "sticking with them" mean? Does it mean hanging out and not leaving or...?
[Brad Blanton]: "You're feeling are hurt. I'm here with you. I'll stay with you but, if you want to cry," they cry and if they feel bad and they want you to hold them. If they get mad and they want to cuss you, you stay there when they cuss you and you can cuss them back if you get mad but, you're there for them as well as being honest with. That counts for more than just dancing around on egg shells. Dancing around on egg shells is just a waste of life.
So every now and then, some couples break up where one of the couples doesn't want honesty and the other one does but, more often than not, they both work out whether they stay together or whether they break up in a some honest way. So, you have a whole lot better break ups when people are honest than you do when they're dishonest.
You have breakups where people are living the rest of their life in reaction to what they didn't get finished with that person and you have breakups where people forgive each other and they're still friends and they still know each other and they're still like happy to hear about each other's lives and they've raised together and stuff like that. Appreciating each other now for them sticking with each other.
So basically, I'd say yes. Guardedness about diplomacy is bull shit as far as I'm concerned. Diplomacy is mostly bull shit. I'm still diplomatic myself now and then but, I come off it enough where people know it's not running.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, I mean because, you strike me as a very caring person. We were talking about giving gifts to people. I know about your work of course which is all about helping people and so on. So, would you say that that really makes a big difference in this approach, right?
For instance, some of the examples you gave us where you have offended someone because you were direct. "You look as fat as a whale." Afterwards, you'd be like, "Oh, I'm sorry. Are you feeling bad?" So then, you're being direct but you're in a good will caring way so...
[Brad Blanton]: Well the thing is, is the question is a funny question in the first place. They're only asking the question because, they want you to say, "No, no. You don't look fat at all." They're trying to manipulate.
So, I resent the manipulation anyway. So, I overdo the reaction and then, we talk about that and they'd say, "Well, it is kind of manipulative," and I say, "Yeah, it was kind of overacting when you say, 'You look like a whale' but, I thought it was funny." She would say, "Well, it wasn't that funny." "Okay, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings."
But, you work it out. You negotiate. You have some conversation where you're sticking with each other and speaking.
[Angel Donovan]: It also sounds like people using this approach will learn a lot more about people and when you're talking they expose more but, you keep giving these examples where people get into conversations about what they're actually doing. Does that naturally happen a lot more or was that the way you tend to approach it? Like if some of the guys at home got out and start doing this someday, are they more likely to get into conversations about what we're really talking about here.
[Brad Blanton]: The problem is, you're just a worry wart. It's a worry machine, basically. The reason your mind is constantly warning you, "Be careful, be careful, be careful. Be diplomatic," and all that stuff...
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: ...is because, you don't want to just come forth and say what you actually think and have done and what you feel but, going ahead and doing that turns out to work out better. So basically, I recommend this very compassionate view called, "Fuck em if they can't take a joke."
That's where everyone else's mind from my mind. Like your mind is just as bad a garbage can as mine is. You know, you got a mind. You got a British to go with it. People will even believe.
So I get by with more because, I got a Southern accent where they think, "Well, I must be dumb" and I'm not. So the thing is whatever people minds assess are usually some kind like gross over generalization that wasn't really fitting the data in the first place and still doesn't.
So, I recommend you make the mistakes that come from honesty. See, life is trouble. You're going to have trouble in life, period. There's going to be trouble. You can't avoid trouble. It's fine. Spending your life avoiding trouble is a hell of a lot of trouble.
So, life is trouble. The question is which is the best kind of trouble? I say that trouble comes from honesty is the best kind. The trouble that comes from being careful is the worst kind. You end up being like a fundamentalist who can't even like have a drink whereas me, can be a derelict redneck alcoholic and have a hell of a lot of fun smoke dope all day. It's a better life.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, I agree with you. So, we've spoken about a lot of the upsides to using this approach. So, how about the downsides of not doing it. Like if we're in relationships today and we've got these white lies, being diplomatic and not telling truth. What do you see is the major downsides that people acknowledge?
[Brad Blanton]: Well, that it's costly to be careful all the time. It's also costly if you're completely careless all the time too but, I mean the careful extreme is what's usually recommended. This is what teachers and parents and all that stuff, they teach you these tales of woe that will happen if you take certain risks or do too much of a certain thing. They're giving all these stories that are warnings and so, you starting believing all these stories of warning.
What happens is, you sort of walk around in a mildly paranoid shell all your life. You don't walk up and say something to somebody. You see something happening, you just try to disappear, avoid it. If somebody gives you some shit, you'll just be polite and hate them, be mad at them and stay mad at them and never say anything.
Whereas, if you're actually expressing and somebody say something nasty, you can say, "Kiss my ass," and you feel fully self-express and most of you might get over it, maybe not. You get it...bump heads with people now and then in ways you wouldn't if you're careful but, it's better to get into that kind of trouble than it is to get in the trouble that comes from like being a lawyer or an insurance salesman or a fundamentalist preacher. It's not much of a life.
[Angel Donovan]: What I think about it, it's like comparing the short term benefits of avoiding a little bit of pain compared to the long term hurt from living a dreary, uneventful life, not getting what you want, all of these kind of things that hit us in the long term but, most people prefer the short term to the long term. I'm sure you've come across this kind of struggle.
[Brad Blanton]: That's right. I agree completely. The things is in the long term, you're going facing up to the stuff you want to avoid in the short term and it's a little bit of trouble in the short but, it's bigger trouble in the long term from avoiding. That's...I agree. I think that's right.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely so, in order to motivate people, I've been to things like Tony Robbins seminars. You know Tony Robbins across...one of the things he does actually in his Unleash the Power Within is he makes you focus on the pain if you do not change.
[Brad Blanton]: Uh huh.
[Angel Donovan]: Right? I don't know if you've seen anything like that because, I'm sure you've come across difficult people to get motivated to start this and are there any tricks or approaches you've found is good to get people to...maybe it's like focus on the pain of the future or is there any other approach to get them to take action and start with this.
[Brad Blanton]: There isn't any real in the future. It's just an imaginary pain. So if you focus on the pain of...if you have a toothache, focus on the pain until something happens. Either it gets worse and then gets better or you go get somebody to help you fix it or you take a painkiller but, you don't run away from it. You focus on it and then, you do whatever you need to do in relating to do it not playing like it isn't there.
The big in relationships is people are always playing like things aren't there when they are. What you have to do is quit playing like something isn't there. If it's there, say it, do it, talk about, deal with it and then, have the experience of it because, when you experience an experience, it often increases a little and then, it decreases a little, then, it recedes and goes away. What keeps a lot of pain in gear is tensing up to resist which generally makes it worse.
So what you want to do is to be whatever you're pain. If it's...or your anger or your hurt or your joyful. People can't stand too much joy either. So what we're after is you'll be able to tolerate all kinds of bodily experiences of things and don't let your mind freak you about, "Oh my God. This is going happen and Oh my God, you'll leave me. Oh my God."
So, your mind is like a hysteric in there telling you, "Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!" and the one side and on the other side, "How am I doing? How am I doing? How am I doing?"
[Angel Donovan]: Well, this sounds like a much calmer approach to life to me. Maybe people at home aren't going to be thinking that way because, it probably doesn't sound like that but, it sounds like a more...I know you believe in...do you recommend people meditate and get into these kinds of practices as well?
[Brad Blanton]: I do. I teach [inaudible] and I meditate and I teach yoga in my workshops and seminars and in my workshop, they meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. I teach self-hypnosis and deep relaxation, stretching, recommend aerobic exercise and particulate in it myself. I play golf all the time myself and I recommend that people do things, physical things to take care of themselves as being more important almost than any of the mental or psychological recommendation.
So, I think that if you pay attention to your body and it wants to move, move your body. Basically, you have information there that's more important than whatever is in your head.
So, generally the information that comes from noticing your body, noticing the world and noticing other people is more valuable than what comes from reading a book in your head about what you used to think about so and so. This person's kind of like so and so.
You can say that to them, talk about it but, what you're going to get more information from the interaction between the two of you than you had in your head alone. So basically, I recommend that you trust your body and distrust your mind.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a very good summary. In fact, it's things like meditation and getting out there and experiencing like golf and these kind of things put you more in touch with yourself so you're not lying as often. Is that part of the link between those things for you?
[Brad Blanton]: Well what happens is, the link is that when you're lying you're doing something to preserve your reputation in the minds of other people. You're wanting to look like something. You don't want people to think badly of you. You want people to think well of you. You don't want people to know that you did something they wouldn't like. You don't want...so, you're constantly wrapped in this ongoing mind fuck about what your life's about and it's a whole lot better to go ahead and live your life then it is to spend your life and your mind worried about how it's going.
[Angel Donovan]:Great, thank you. Okay, so some quick fire questions. I mentioned before, I wanted to just run some scenarios past you. If I'm married and I've had six affairs over the last few years, after listening to this, do I go home and do I tell her? Do I tell my wife or...?
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah, you have to tell her. I recommend that you get a friend to come sit with you or go do this...see a therapist or you say the truth about what you did and describe in exact detail who you did it with and how many times you did and how much fun it was and whether it worked and whether it didn't work and what you lied about. I recommend that you do that in order to renew or end your relationship and when she tells you about the three guys she was humping while you were gone, you listen to that.
The things is that both of you are going to able to have a level of connection that you've been avoiding with each other for a long time. That basically, the affairs and the secrets, the secretiveness about the affairs was the most damaging part.
Basically, when you say, "I saw her and it made me horny and she wanted to do it and I had been with her before and so, we did and I set it up and we did and I know it makes you mad and hurts your feelings," she would throw a pan at him and hit him over the head and holler and carry on and cry. Then say, "Well Okay, you're not the only and then tell him..." usually there's someone on the other side.
If there isn't, then that has to be told and it's a hard short time thing to do. It's a hard thing to do. Yes, I do recommend that you do that because, the future you have in that relationship is a future of you letting in condemned isolation without real sharing with her and not only talking about things but not with each other concerning what's really going on and that's a harder life.
[Angel Donovan]: Sounds like a ghost relationship, just the way you were wording it.
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah, most of them are. I'm kind of a cynical, relationships generally, I'd say 12% is probably...about 12% of relationships are happy, relatively happy good marriages and the other 88% are phony, fake, separated, alienated. These people who stay together living in isolated [inaudible] and there are a lot more relationships of people that are free and intimate when they're bond by obligation to each other.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, you're saying there are marriages of convenience rather than because they actually want to be there.
[Brad Blanton]: Almost all marriages are where two idealists are trying to make it work in spite of lying like shit to each other so they appear to making it work but, most of it it's pretending.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, this is another common scenario that comes up. You meet a girl and you go home with her and you're lying in bed together after making love and she asks you, "How many people have you slept with before me?" This happens a lot I think to guys when they're in their 20s more. What would a guy say if he slept with 130 women?
[Brad Blanton]: 13?
[Angel Donovan]: Well whatever, maybe 600 like you. It's like whatever.
[Brad Blanton]: Well, that's what you say. She asks and you tell her and ask her how many men she slept with.
[Angel Donovan]: She says two.
[Brad Blanton]: Okay, ask her if wants more than that and then, have that conversation.
[Angel Donovan]: Nice.
[Brad Blanton]: And have the conservation about how it was when you made love this time and see if you can't do it again before you go home. Don't run away in the morning because, that's the best usually.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, so I notice a lot of these...I'm sure I could throw all sorts of scenarios and you wouldn't...you would be very calm and you'd come up with something interesting to talk about in that scenario just by like thinking about it. "Oh yeah..." it sounds like you kind of think of them, "Ah that's an interesting...yes, so I'd want to know how she feels about that," which sounds like a good approach also to eliminate... well, let me say, a lot of drama or a lot of conflict. It seems like a good approach to deaden that and you're still being honest and direct.
[Brad Blanton]: It creates a lot of drama and it eliminates a lot of drama. The drama that it creates is better than the drama that comes created out of [inaudible].
[Angel Donovan]: If people want to connect with you and see what you're up to these days, are you on Twitter? Are you on your own website or where would people connect with you?
[Brad Blanton]: www.RadicalHonesty.com is a website. It has all the other connections on it. I'm starting an online workshop in the fall that's called How to Get Over Shit and Be Happy and basically, I do an occasion 8-day long workshop. I'm doing a workshop in Greece at the end of July. I'm leaving for that in about a week.
[Angel Donovan]: Great.
[Brad Blanton]: And I do that every year. I do a workshop or two in Europe and a workshop or two in America each year.
[Angel Donovan]: And you're 75, right?
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah, I'll be 75 in September, yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great. You sound like a very active 75-year-old.
[Brad Blanton]: I am.
[Angel Donovan]: Still following the dream?
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah, working harder than I want to but, it's okay. As long as it doesn't affect my golf game too bad, I can take it. That's right, I stay pretty active and I'm...so, we're actually a cult and we're trying to take over the world.
[Angel Donovan]: How successful has it been? Is it successful as Scientology or not as?
[Brad Blanton]: Well, I would say more successful than Scientology. Basically a lot of people... the world is coming toward us, even the Supreme Court and even the things that happen in the last week are encouraging with regard to honesty. People are fed up with being lied to.
We're fed up with being lied to by bankers. We're fed up with having billionaires control every damn thing we do. We're fed up with money and politics and there's a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them and it won't be long before the number of people that are against the number of rich people are going to win. Money is not going to keep talking forever. When it gets to be 98 to 1, we're going to get them.
[Angel Donovan]: Looking forward to it.
[Brad Blanton]: Good.
[Angel Donovan]: So, are there any other people besides yourself you'd recommend for advice in this area or about improving relationships and potentially it's on a completely different tangent but, I don't know. It's people you've learned from or respected or you've just come across and you appreciate their stuff?
[Brad Blanton]: I was trained by Fritz Pearls and all this books are good. Basically, I like a lot of those. I recommend them on my website and there are a lot of Radical Honesty trainers and a lot of people. Susan Campbell's written three books that are very much like Radical Honesty, Getting Real.
There are David DeAngelo... Annie Lalla who's married to Eben Pagen and she's is a great...have you had Annie on your show yet?
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Brad Blanton]: You ought to talk to Annie. She's a live wire.
[Angel Donovan]: I have.
[Brad Blanton]: And Eben is too. Eben and Annie have a great relationship and a little girl and they're basically huge. He was in the dating game for a long time and he's got a lot of newer wisdom and now he's a little for some of the stuff he put out on Internet before.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, things change over but, he's got this new program called Love the Final Chapter which is a lot more in depth and different of course.
[Brad Blanton]: Yeah, it is. I like it a lot. I went to the last master class on that and spoke and [inaudible]. Basically, there are lots and lots...there's lots of help out there but, basically I have lots of people recommended on my website, other people's books and such.
[Angel Donovan]: Great.
[Brad Blanton]: People can find that.
[Angel Donovan]: Alright, thank you for those. Last question. If you were to give guys free practical tips to run away with, like the top recommended things. Especially for guys who...they're kind of new to trying to fix or trying to improve their dating, sex and relationships lifestyle, what would your top three tips be?
[Brad Blanton]: First tip is to engage with interest. Pay attention to that person and whatever you got a question about or curiosity about, ask questions. Tell the truth. Don't ask question like, "Oh, now I should ask questions," but ask questions when you're curious. So, the first thing is it's good to be curious.
The second is be open, tell the truth even if it's something that she doesn't like and the third thing is some you win, some you lost. It's okay. If there's a beautiful girl and she just doesn't take to you then, that won't be the last beautiful girl you'll ever talk to. Don't tell yourself all these desperate. I mean, you'll tell them but, don't believe them.
Basically, just go out there and fuck up. If you fuck up four or five times week, you'll get laid twice.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Brad Blanton]: So, that's the way it goes. Don't be hysterical about the future. It's alright. Just go out there and talk a whole lot of women and find one that you like and be with her for a while and tell the truth and see what happens.
[Angel Donovan]: Thank you very much for a solid...it was very solid advice for the guys. I am a huge fan of the curiosity. Be curious in everyone and everything around you. It makes a huge difference.
So, thank you very much for your time. It's been a very interesting chat. I enjoyed it very much. A little bit of conflict here and there is always good...
[Brad Blanton]: Good.
[Angel Donovan]: ...also.
[Brad Blanton]: Alright, thanks. I enjoyed it.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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