Tough Love

It’s something we need but rarely get; it’s something we think about but rarely give. It is so much easier to be the nice guy and say what people want to hear rather than tell them what they need to hear.

I am known as the honest one of my friends. Anyone that has spoken to me for an extended amount knows I tell it like it is. I do not screw around trying to protect someone’s feelings. I shoot straight to the point. If you don’t want my advice, don’t tell me about your problems. Unless you tell me pre-conversation that you need to just vent and don’t want a response, I will very rarely hold back my opinion.

Many people would look down on this and say something like, “you never tell a woman she looks fat in a dress.” Actually you do because otherwise they will buy a dress that makes them look fat and will walk around and show it off because it is new. And everyone will think she looks fat. Instead, you point them to a dress that flatters their figure better. Every body type can be dressed well; you just have to figure out what shapes look best on you.

Let’s say you are the body. You are beautiful when dressed appropriately. The dress you are trying on is a response to a crisis. You go to a friend and they tell you to keep it on because it looks great on you, but in reality you look like a wreck. Absolutely horrible. And anyone that can open their eyes can see it. You let your friend walk around wearing this dress because you didn’t tell her the truth. You could have saved her a world of hurt if you just got over yourself and were honest. Let’s try the second scenario. Your friend tries on a dress, and it looks bad. So you tell her it looks bad (not her) and find some pieces that will flatter her figure more. You give her options—options that are logical. You could even compare the choices. “This one flatters your hips but makes your chest look inverted; however this one over here makes your chest look fantastic but everything else looks like an after-thought.” Lay out the choices and the possible consequences of each.

There is a time to listen and stroke your friend’s hair and say, “everything will be okay. Just take it day by day.” However, there comes a point where you need to say, “Your world is not over. You are okay. Now let’s move on.” Or something like, “You are making a horrible mistake. Please do not do this. I will be here no matter which way you go, but I will have to pick you up in pieces if you go this way.”

Honestly, they might hate you for a little while. Or a long while. Either way, you know you were a loyal friend and had to do the tough but right thing and tell them the truth. So many people lie to our faces on a daily basis—don’t we owe it to ourselves to be honest to the ones we are closest to? I spend so much time guessing what people are actually thinking; I would much rather spend time investing in those relationships.

Believe it or not, I still have friends. Sometimes they don’t like what I have to say, but our bonds are significantly strengthened on the other side of a crisis and we can look back and see who was really there for each other in ways we didn’t even know we needed at the time.

I pray for people to speak more truth into my life—not out of malice or desire to make me feel bad, but out of genuine concern and love for me.

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