On Honesty and Communication

For many years now, I’ve held the firm belief that the two most important things for any relationship are honesty and communication.  Without honesty, communication is worthless, and communication is how you work through relational issues.

And I’m not limiting “relationship” to the love of a person and his/her spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend.  It applies to all relationships, no matter how casual or formal.  It applies to parents and children, friends, and siblings, to employers and employees, to customers and vendors.

Of course, everything should be handled in moderation.  “Honesty” doesn’t mean you tell your darkest secrets to some poor cashier who’s just trying to get you to pay for the soda you bought at the convenience store, and it doesn’t mean that you accost some poor person and say, “You, sir, have the hugest nose I’ve ever seen, and you smell like a dead rat.”  Tact is a thing, too, you know.

Likewise, “communication” doesn’t mean that you hound somebody night and day because he/she didn’t get around to replying to that text you sent at 3:00 AM or begin telling your life story to some poor person who accidentally made eye contact with you in the coffee shop.

Then what do these mean?

Honesty means, when someone asks if you’re okay, telling him/her honestly.  Some of us have a lot of empathy and can tell, and you saying, “I’m fine” when you’re not is really frustrating to us.  Understand that if someone asks, it’s probably because that person cares.  Feel cared-for and be honest.

Communication means, if you think somebody’s blowing you off, call him/her (nicely) on it.  I thought a guy was blowing me off today, and I asked him, “Did I lose you?”  Turns out he just checked my message right as he was getting in the car and forgot to reply.

Honesty and communication means gently letting people know when they’ve upset you when it is really something they’ve done (and not just your own personal hang-up) and then being willing to discuss it to get it resolved peacefully.  The opposite is letting things bottle up until you’re so mad that you lash out at them or give yourself an ulcer.

Just imagine how much better we’d all feel if we were honest with each other and communicated what we really meant.

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