This issue has been bugging me for a good couple of weeks now. I thought that I would help sift through my feelings/thoughts/vents by posting about it.
In a nutshell.....Honesty is the backbone of not just this hobby, but how we live our day-to-day lives. At the end of the day when there's nobody else around and you are just looking at yourself in the mirror, can you look at yourself and say "I was honest about __________"?
For this post though, I will be talking about honesty from a hobby standpoint.
What makes a person "honest" in this hobby? I think honesty comes into play when you start interacting with fellow hobbyists (be it collectors, buyers, dealers, or the fellow next to you at the show). How you present yourself, what you say, how you act and how (if it gets to this point) you deal/trade with others have a direct impact on how you are perceived in terms of "honest/dishonest".
And that's the key word here........perceived.
We are somewhat at the mercy of having "blind faith" when dealing with others in the hobby. Unless you've built a rapport with someone over time, you are left to decide in an instant "Do I trust this person". You have to decide if they are honest or not. Sometimes by just a few words they type in front of a computer screen.
And from what I've learned over the years, honesty can easily be hidden under sheets of deception. People out there looking for an advantage or even worse - taking advantage.
Am I hesitant when I deal with people I don't know? It depends. How did I come to meet this person. Was I introduced to them through a mutual collector friend? Did I just bump into them at a show? Am I tying a private message to them out of the blue?
That's a big one. Dealing with people online. This is where honesty (and dishonesty) really become amplified on both ends.
I could be a real jerk......and you wouldn't know it. If I built up a wall of friendly, honest words for months at a time.....I could very easily define myself as something I'm not. And vice versa.
The interesting thing is that a lot of people I've read via online blogs or comment boards are pretty much what I expected them to be when I have gotten to know them. In some instances....their typed words amplify the person they are, but for the most part, I've gravitated to those I feel are good, honest people.
But at the end of the day......I don't know for sure.
I look at my own work and I can say that I am proud of how I have written my posts, how I have presented myself to the hobby and how I treat my fellow hobbyists/bloggers. I try to be as honest as I can.
Am I perfect? Nope. I do my best......but there are times where I would love to hit the "re-do" button. Do I expect others to be perfect? Nope. But I do prefer people looking in the mirror and coming to the realization themselves rather than having it bluntly pointed out to them - or worse....getting busted in a lie.
I'm fine with people making mistakes (I've made my fair share of them over the years) and actually appreciate when someone can be open and honest about it. It's a breath of fresh air to hear someone say "I'm sorry...I made a mistake". It shows me that you are responsible enough to admit and take ownership of the error.
And it can range from incorrectly accusing someone of doing something, misrepresenting themselves (having something they might not actually own), giving out incorrect information or even simply backing out of a trade. And in order to be honest with your fellow hobbyists......you first have to be honest to yourself.
Looking in the mirror and being honest with yourself ........that's the true way of getting ahead in this hobby......and in life.
Sorry for the long write. I just have had a couple of experiences recently that has made me do a quick check on this. Some people have called me naive or even a "sucker" in the past. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.....right off the bat. Why? Because in the brief time that I have dealt with them.....I've never been lied to (not that I know of at least). So why wouldn't I trust them.
Maybe that's the wrong way to do things, but I hate looking at someone that I don't know and automatically paint them with a dishonest label.
To me, trust and honesty are two of the absolute biggest aspects of this hobby.....and I take them very seriously. I do my best to gain those traits and I cherish the numerous relationships I have built in the hobby as a result.
Alright.....enough of my rambling. I'll throw it to you.
Where does "honesty" sit on your list of traits when it comes to this hobby? What are your thoughts on it? How honest a hobbyist do you consider yourself?