Saturday, July 19, 2008

To Be or Not To Be Direct

I know this may come as a shocker to you, faithful reader, but I tend to be a pretty direct person.  Ok, a very direct person.  I don’t understand what the point is of being indirect, being passive aggressive (though someone who was mad at me once called me, and I quote, ‘single handedly the most passive aggressive person I’ve ever met in my entire life’ which was rather confusing to me… I would understand aggressive-aggressive, but passive is not a word that I would even remotely consider myself to be.  But then again, maybe I’m blind to the truth.  And I digress.), or not stating your opinion, if it is done in a constructive manner.  9 times out of 10 being direct is a better solution than not speaking up or doing so in a roundabout way.  My friends are all laughing and shaking their heads right now, because they know how completely Spanglicious this sentiment is.

Of course the key to this is “done in a constructive manner.”  Speaking up after five martinis to your best friend about how her boyfriend is a total loser and she deserves better may not be the best way to make your point resonate.  Telling a friend over email he treats women like dog poo and he has a pattern of sucking at life, maybe also not so constructive.  But I find there are in fact many not-overly-confrontational ways to say these exact same things and have it be productive for all parties. 

Now, I have had to learn when it is and (more importantly) when it is not ok to speak freely and directly.  And what is and isn’t constructive.  The above examples may or may not be permutations of actual events in my own life.  Because some people do not respond well to directness, even if it is 100% the truth.  The truth, as it were, is not always the easiest thing to hear.  And I am not always the best at recognizing when I haven’t yet earned the right to be direct and call someone out or when it is the not the right person/time/place/situation. I am working on this, thank you very much.  But on the whole I find that being direct and communicating your thoughts/feelings/frustrations is far more productive than not.  Especially for we women.  Who let things pile one on top of the other until we explode in a heap of hormonal lava. 

And particularly as I am about to leave my fine city for other lands, I am taking to heart this trend of honesty.  Because really, what do I have to lose?  Quite on the contrary, I have found that I have gained a lot in the process.  First of all, I have learned more productive ways of communicating and processing my thoughts and feelings.  Secondly, I have actually become closer with a few of my friends because I have gone out on a limb to say something that they might not want to hear but ultimately need to hear.  And quite frankly, it has been reciprocated more than a few times, and I have been shown a few new tough things about myself that need some work. 

Life is too short to beat around the bush.  It’s also too short to not be intentional in your relationships.  Far too many people are satisfied with surface level friendships where you don’t take a chance to dig deeper.  You just play it safe.  Because safe is easy.  And comfortable.  But I can tell you with complete honesty that my closest and most trusted friends are those with whom I can be fully honest and direct and they can be so with me.  They are the ones who push me where it hurts because sometimes it takes a little bit of pain to get over the hurdle towards healing.  They are the ones I know without a shadow of a doubt love me, and because of this love I take what they say seriously. 

I don’t really have a point for this post.  I say this as if any of my posts have a 'point.'  I have just been thinking a lot about communication, friendship, and honesty lately.  And given that I process much better in written form, I thought I would share.  So that is enough.  Direct enough for you?  

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