Imagine yourself moving to a new town. Or maybe a new job. Or anywhere where you have no friends. No one who knows much about you or you them.
You smile at someone and say, "Hello."
What if this other human blurted out some random fact about themselves rather than replied with the expected "Hi, Howdy, or Hola."
Let's say the person said, "I'm a Republican," "I'm a lesbian," or "I think Lettuce is the Devil."
Chances are you'd smile and move away. Even if you happen to have a Sarah Palin bumper sticker on your pickup, or a rainbow tattoo on your right bicep. The fact itself might not scare you but the blunt delivery of this info would make you think the person was weird.
Now let's say the person has a true character flaw. "What would you do if you spoke a kindly hello to a man in the grocery store aisle only to have him shout, "I am having an affair!"
Now let me say I have friends with a Sarah Palin sticker stuck to their vehicle. I have gay and lesbian friends. I myself have perhaps the strangest notions on food of anyone you will ever meet. Timberlake brought sexy back. Me, I'm trying to bring carnivorism back. None of these facts are the first thing I knew about my friends or they about me.
Would they have changed things? No. Not for me. These are but things. Labels mostly. They have little to no bearing on a person's true character. They are but the wrapping paper on the Christmas present.
I have friends incapable of remaining faithful to their spouses. Had that been the first thing I knew about the person I seriously doubt I ever would have became friends with them. To be perfectly honest I've know a few who were justified in their wayward ways. Just as I believe there are times when killing another human is justified. Or a lie is better than the truth.
It is these the gray areas, the moral and social dilemmas that we writers seize on. Create stories and situations out of. Too many times writers (myself included) focus solely on that pretty wrapping paper. We make the gift appealing to the eye, but once our readers rip through that thin layer there is nothing but drab, boring pair of socks inside.
Don't give your readers socks.