Get Real; Being honest with our friends and colleagues

If you lose a friend for being honest, they weren’t a friend or you weren’t honest. It really does pay to get real!

I really think we have to be able to share not so nice things if we are going to be genuine and have meaningful, trusting and respectful relationships.

Life is not just about engaging the positive and ignoring the negative. Why does anything negative we have to say be best kept from the person it relates to? Can you imagine not being honest and avoiding helping people know where they stand with us and what can improve them? Yet I see it happens all the time.

Would you like people to just bite their lip and say nothing if they disagree with you, for the fear of upsetting you? When you are feeling vulnerable and insecure, you tend to prefer to avoid criticism, but this makes it worse.

I want friends, clients and colleagues to be honest with me so I can understand what works and what doesn’t in the relationship. I want the chance to change rather than be silently judged and avoided. It makes you wonder how many people drift out of our lives and we did not get to know why, simply because they prefer to end the relationship, than want to address the issues.

Then we have friends who are so focused on pointing out what they think are our problems at every opportunity with such eagerness, you begin to wonder whether they are competing rather than wanting to genuinely be helpful. I find you can always discern the difference between sincere criticism and insincere belittling by the tone and overall treatment coming from that person.

Regardless of their intent, their feedback may well be highly relevant. Sometimes their feedback is very helpful when they may not be trying to be and other times it is useless eventhough they are truly believing they are being helpful.

There is no need to shoot the messenger, but we surely should stop the messenger from shooting as well.

I recall a time being given good advice but in a disrespectful way and letting the friend know that the content is fine, but the delivery is not. They attempted to justify their disrespectful tone and I had to walk away from the friendship until they were prepared to communicate respectfully. It took a year before they were willing to do that. I find it satisfying that my dignity was able to hold a boundary in place for as long as needed to attract better treatment.

I find it interesting that some of us are happy to say the not so nice stuff, but rarely acknowledge what is good. It’s the same problem played out differently. On one side, we abandon each other and on the other side we devalue. I guess we need to make a decision about what kind of friend we want to be and gift that way of being to those in our lives and expect it to be reciprocated.

It can feel very confronting to bring up the negatives with a friend, but if we do it in a respectful, humble and open minded way, surely it will be received well. And what if it isn’t? What do we have to lose if we are being honest and sincere, and fear losing a friend. Was that person a true friend if the only way they can stay in your life is by you fearing upsetting them with the truth?

I highly recommend confronting your issues with people. Here is a video I recorded about how to confront without conflict.

Can you handle the truth and expect others to? Have I convinced you to say things that are not so nice? I hope so because the truth will set us free. We just needed a way to stay nice while sharing not so nice things.

Do you want people to be honest with you? Would you be oversensitive or manage to receive the feedback with an open mind while monitoring the intent of the message? 

George Helou is the founder of EP7 – Empowered for Purpose in 7 Steps. Life Coach, Work Culture Consultant, Author and Motivational Speaker, George has 15 years personal development experience and is based in his Life Coach Perth Office in Subiaco. 08 9380 8350.

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