Sometimes I want to tell the truth to someone I care about but I’m worried about offending them. If I think back to the times I’ve been really honest, carefully honest, with people who matter to me it usually works out very well. Or maybe I’ve blocked out all my misfires. Who knows. Sometimes I hold on tight to things I want to say so that it’s like I’m carrying a 25 pound kettleball with me everywhere I go. For weeks. It’s exhausting.
This past week I did it again, wanting to help a good friend with her business, wanting to make sure she was successful and fulfilled with her work because she’s a really good person who does really great work and is deserving of success. But I didn’t want to upset her by sticking my nose in her business, and letting her know things felt stagnant in that part of her life and I wanted to help.
Of course, now that I write this, it sounds like there was no way I could go wrong. And maybe that’s an accurate assessment because it looks like that to me too. After the fact. My husband likes to remind me that hindsight is 20/20. If I had said what I felt and caused a rift in the friendship, I might be composing a very different post right now. Or maybe I wouldn’t be writing anything at all but rather sitting on my sofa and berating myself for being such a meddler. But I think I know why it worked. Here’s my very un-scientific formula:
- Make sure the mood is right. In this case the environment and emotion in the air was conducive to deep and meaningful conversation. Obviously not all situations are appropriate to tell people how you really feel. If you find that mood is never right then intentionally create the environment. Sooner rather than later so you don’t have to carry around that baggage and get a kink in your neck.
- Double-check your intentions. If you’re angry at the time, that’s probably not a good place to express from. Unless you want to let someone know you’re really pissed off. Then that’s completely appropriate. Just be sure to “kill ’em with kindness”. Being angry and being mean are not the same thing.
- Just say it. With love. Let them know you care about them and want the best for them. If there’s something in it for you (and there most likely is) be honest about that too. Oh yeah, and get to the point. Quickly.
- Offer your help. If you’re not willing to help make the change happen then you’re just offering advice and nobody wants your advice.
Next time I have something to say I’ll check back to this post to remember what it is I’m supposed to do. It’s always tough to think clearly when you’re lugging around a kettleball.