“An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” -Proverb
Have you ever had a lengthy conversation with someone without acknowledging a single thing you were really thinking or feeling?
Maybe someone asked, “How are you?” And, instinctively, you said, “Fine.” Or someone asked, “What’s new?” And your knee-jerk response was, “Not much.” Or someone asked your opinion, and you glossed over what you really think to avoid making waves.
I suspect we do this because we don’t want to burden people with what’s really on our minds, open ourselves up to judgment, or somehow upset them.
The end result is polite disconnection. We keep things simple, courteous, and completely devoid of truth. It’s a choice to be alone together–sharing space, but little else; connecting without really engaging.
We rob people of the opportunity to be there for us when we don’t share what we actually think and feel. We also send a message that we’re not the type of friends who will really be there for them.
It can be scary to speak what’s really on your mind, particularly if you need some guidance and feel vulnerable admitting that you don’t have everything figured out. The truth is, no one does. Sometimes we all need to lean on each other–and that only works if we’re all willing to be honest.
A few days ago, a very kind Tiny Buddha reader offered to coach me on the phone to work through my public speaking nerves. She asked some probing questions, as coaches often do, and I answered candidly, forming some strong insights that I know will help me going forward.
At the end of the call, I felt like I’d made a new friend, and it happened really simply: She was honest with me, I was honest with her, and we met each other as equals, each with our own strengths and weaknesses.
We’re all equals. We’re all struggling with something. We’re all working to let of something. We’re all working to embrace something else. The world would be a far less lonely place if we could remember this and just be honest.
Photo by Big Mind Zen Center