Have you ever had a completely open conversation with someone? A friend? A spouse?
I mean a conversation where you can say absolutely anything that’s on your mind, without reservation, without concern about the other person’s reaction? Difficult, isn’t it?
We are afraid to hurt the other person by saying something they might not want to hear. Or we are afraid of revealing some inner aspect of our own being because we’re afraid of how that revelation will make the other person think about us.
Part of it comes down to the power of words. Conversation can lead to hurt feelings, vocabulary can start an argument.
- Do I look fat in this?
- Go Cowboys!
- Damn liberal.
- Damn conservative.
Part of it comes down to an aspect of human nature: we all want to be loved or at least liked.
Some people have a knack for saying what is on their mind without offending someone or hurting their feelings. Some people have the ability to accept that kind of direct statement without feeling hurt, even if it is something they don’t want to hear.
I think I live in both camps, but I believe I am better at receiving the information than I am at giving it. I am usually diplomatic and thoughtful about saying things, but sometimes that means I’m sugar-coating what I am saying. I want people to feel good about themselves, so I am afraid that what I say might not do that. As far as getting information, yes, I can be sensitive but usually I get over it. I am realistic too.
I’m not going anywhere with all of this; it’s just on my mind today and I decided to share. If you are a close friend of mine, don’t read anything into this; I’m just thinking out loud. Feel free to comment on how you feel about this kind of fear or this kind of hypothetical conversation.
I am lucky I have some friends, both old friends and new friends, who I can have a very open conversation with. Completely open? Hard to tell.