25 Jan Healthy relationships: build them with honesty
Honestly, what’s so complicated about honesty? Other than it can be extremely difficult to be honest when we know we are going to hurt someone else’s feelings or when we know that what we are going to say will make us look bad.
But being honest, both to yourself and to your relationship partner, is critical if you are ever going to really trust each other. And as you’ve already learned, if you don’t trust each other, you end up in a relationship that is full of fear, paranoia and that certainly doesn’t make you feel more secure about yourself. So let’s take a look at a few key ingredients to this whole honesty thing…
1 Be nice about it. Sometimes honesty hurts, which is why saying your truth in a nice, delicate manner is respectful. Posting a break up online is not.
2 Be honest early. Being honest, even to yourself, will hurt less in the long run. Yes, it might sting like a bee now, but it will feel more like barbed wire if the lie continues.
3 Realize the consequences. Being honest can hurt, but it will hurt more if the lie continues. When you lie you are saying to the other person, “I don’t care enough about you to be honest. I am more worried about protecting myself.”
4 Be “choosy” about what you share. You may choose to keep thoughts and feelings to yourself and this is totally normal. You don’t have to tell every single thing to your partner. It’s honest to say, “I’m not really sure I want to talk about that right now. I need more time to think about it.”
5 Consider what does concern the other person. You may feel honest when you say, “That’s private to me.” But when the information that you are keeping “private” truly does concern the other person, then you may want to reconsider sharing. For instance, you are dating Sam, but Trigg invites you to the dance. Do you tell Sam that Trigg invited you? Consider this: Sam may find out from someone else. Sharing this information with Sam will protect Sam from feeling betrayed by finding it out through someone else. You may choose to say something to Sam like, “I just want you to know that Trigg invited me to the dance. I don’t think Trigg knows we’re dating. Of course I said no, but I wanted you to find out from me.
If you could add an ingredient to the list of being honest, what would it be?