Whenever we see someone we care about making a mistake, sometimes we are afraid to say something because we don’t want to hurt their feelings and we don’t want to risk the chance that they end the relationship.
When the crap eventually hits the fan, our friend, partner or family member may say, “Why didn’t you say something?” But they aren’t going to drop you if you speak your mind because they actually care about you and what you have to say.
They know that your words come from a place of sincere concern for their wellbeing. And while they may be angry at you for not speaking up sooner, they wouldn’t end the relationship because of that.
You have a real connection.
But here’s something interesting to consider. If you casually knew someone (meaning you don’t have much of a connection with them) and you saw something that could mess them up, you might not say anything at all because you aren’t connected to them. Their pain isn’t necessarily your pain. You may feel some empathy but it doesn’t matter that much.
This can be seen as a real issue in society because we often spot injustices but do nothing about them because it involves strangers. As if to say that a stranger isn’t worth defending.
However, it’s also possible that you may find it easier to warn someone you have little to no connection with because if you tell them and they flip out on you, it doesn’t matter because it’s not as if you two were close to begin with.
What these two different approaches have in common is that the other person doesn’t matter that much and as a result there is no inclination to protect their feelings or the feeble relationship.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the people we really care about, we sometimes fear losing something great by telling the truth. But what exactly are you going to lose?
For example, if you saw a friend’s significant other cheating on them or if you need to raise a concern to your own significant other about their conduct and they lash out at you, it means that they have some pain within them that they are subconsciously communicating to you.
They are afraid because they were hurt or are afraid of getting hurt in the present. Therefore, they make you the enemy.
Now, having said that, is this person taking you as a part of themselves? Is this person a good friend, spouse or family member? Obviously not.
They may ignore you or lash out at you or even terminate the friendship, but because you told the truth, and subconsciously they know this, you aren’t at fault for anything. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth and don’t beat yourself up when people who are afraid of the truth demonize you for it.
After reality sets in, they may come around and apologize for what they did. But as a matter of fact, they will trust you even more because they know you have their back.
If you know something but you don’t say it, it’s an indication that you are more concerned about preserving what you have and avoiding your own negative emotions rather than potentially upsetting the person you care about for their safety and ultimately their peace of mind.
Recognize that this is selfish and that you wouldn’t want anyone to withhold information from you if it could help you in the long run.
Relationships aren’t always fun. Like anything else in life there’s a glamorous side and an ugly side. When you have to tell a friend something unpleasant about them or some aspect of their life, it’s a moment of potential (or actual) discomfort that, if embraced, can lead to even more beautiful times.
And while your friend, partner or family member may push you away for simply being a good friend, you did the right thing. You’re a good friend who will link up with other good people because you know how to be a friend.
So don’t be afraid to keep it real with the people you love. Embrace the potential discomfort, tell your loved ones what you are feeling and what you are seeing.
At the end of the day, you would have done them a world of good.