The best of friends are those who tell you what you need to hear, when you need to hear it, not what you want to hear.
My husband and I were talking about this while on vacation last week. We had both read the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. He talks about the importance of being honest in your marriage (or any relationship). He gave an example of telling each other when you don’t think they look good in an outfit instead of saying, “oh yeah, it looks great” to avoid hurting their feelings. This is a very minor example, but it brings forth some truth that many of us are so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, by giving an honest answer or having deeper conversations, that we just lie.
This disconnects us. Without honest communication, there can be no trust.
My husband read it first and waited for me to read it so we could talk about it. It struck up a conversation where we talked about how good we were about being honest with each other and how important it is in our relationship, but also with our friendships. We have a rule where we need to be able to be honest, even if the other person gets hurt or angry. This keeps the door to communication always open and it fosters trust. Both are the main foundations that keep a relationship strong.
Honest, open, non-defensive, and loving communication, even when (especially when) it is something difficult, is your strongest foundation. It will help hold up every area of your life that you live and share together. When the wind blows and brings, change, tragedy, challenges, pain, hurt and loss, you will be able to get through it with strength and together because together you have built a strong, sturdy, steady, indestructible foundation.
I believe that we can’t live this life alone. There are days when you will not have an ounce of positivity in your body to give. Having people in your life who will continue to help you unleash your inner contagiously positive, will make those dark days or dark moments much shorter.
For Jason and I, giving those you love honest feedback and having non-surface conversations about life is so important with the people we surround ourselves with. When you have people in your life who want you to succeed, and truly want you to be happy, they will never let you stay down if you fall. They will also be able to see, when you can’t, that you are about to fall.
These people are those who tell what you NEED to hear and sometimes that isn’t always what you WANT to hear. But that’s okay. Actually, it is pretty great if you have someone in your life like this who gives you honest, respectful, caring feedback.
Friends like this help you grow.
Friends like this keep you honest.
Friends like this can make you see things in a different way that you haven’t been able to see before.
Friends like this honour who you are and what you value most, making sure you stay true to both.
Friends like this make sure you don’t leave the house with a bad hair cut, snot in your nose, and underwear stuck to the outside of your pants.
Friends like this don’t say to you 10 years later that they always knew so and so, but just didn’t want to hurt you, watching you go deeper and deeper into the abyss of pain and negativity for 10 years.
Friends like this want you to succeed.
Friends like this want you to be happy.
Friends like this will always lift you up and never tear you down.
Keep these people close.
Call To Action (taking it even further)
If there is an honest conversation you need to have, set aside time to have it. Here are my tips to help get the conversation started.
Set your intention for the beginning and end of the conversation that you want to have. What is the outcome that you want? How do you want to feel? How do you want the other person to feel? Is it a conversation that can have a resolution in one sitting?
Make a list of everything you want to say. This is similar to setting the intention. Emotions often bubble up and this will help you stay on track. Talk about the in-the-moment topics, and avoid getting defensive and bringing up things that happened 5 years ago in order to hurt the other person or prove a point. Stay on track, remember your list and focus on your intention.
Set the mood. Sit in a comfortable, calm and relaxing area in your house. Set the lighting, make sure you are comfortable and make sure you have set aside the time to get through everything. Pour a glass of wine, or if you don’t drink alcohol, make your favorite drink and put it in a fancy glass. Celebrate the fact that you are able to openly and honestly discuss your life.
Get rid of all distractions. No phones, computers, gadgets or any digital distraction. This will make you both feel like you are important to each other and nothing else matters.
If there is no resolution on the first try, don’t say everything is fine and then bring it up again 3 months later. If there is no resolution, either keep talking or say that it was a great start, but you may need more time to think of a solution. A killer of all open and honest communication is lying and saying, “I’m fine.” “Nothing is wrong.” “You should just know.” People are not mind readers, so be honest about what you are truly feeling.
Most importantly, always begin with love. If comes from a place of love, it will be heard with love.
Be happy. Be healthy. Be contagiously positive.
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl