Hey everyone At this time of year we often focus on goals to attain or attempt to attain during the coming year. Often, these goals, are the same ones we failed to attain in the previous year but our friends and family will listen and telling us we can do it this time whilst privately thinking ‘doubt it’. So why when they know us so well don’t they tell us what they really think and encourage us to move on?
Sometimes I think this happens because they are scared that telling the truth or at least their version of it, may hurt our feelings. In long term though this strategy could do more harm than good and we may end up taking a wrong turning up a one way street because of the advice lack of it of well meaning friends. To risk the truth can also risk a friendship or more likely exclusion from a circle of contacts or acquaintances well real friends do tend to the stay the course no matter what issues they might have to confront.
Though where possible I do try to be as honest as I can there are sometimes I do have to tell certain people they are doing better than they are purely to encourage them in whatever endeavour they are involved in. I think my years working as a trainer improved my diplomatic skills in this respect as has comparing Words and Music though my good friends Colin Storrie and Alex Frew may dispute this with some of the introductions I’ve given them over the years.
Joking aside I am inclined to tell things as I see them and this does not always go down well. On a range of topics from politics to poetry asking my opinion should come with a Government health warning because believe me my opinion is exactly what you’ll get and it may not always be what you want to hear. Perhaps this is why I have such huge soft spots for three of my younger female friends Alison Thewliss, Siobhan Marie Downes, and Katie Walker as these three brave souls can handle me not only at most lovable which granted is 90 per cent of the time but they can also cope with the other 10 per cent when I’m at my most lippy when I can sometimes be positively demented.
Yes Katie I know you know this but it does no harm to be reminded every now and again.
Anyway, there are some occasions when we all need told to be little white lies and in what I can only describe as a guidance note to male friends I have to say that when a women asks you does my bum look big in this? under no circumstances should you ever answer yes. This is of course unless you have a death wish or want your backside to orbit the stars as you make a vain and potentially fatal attempt to prove the Westlife theory you know flying without wings.
So on balance though I do prefer to be as honest as possible I realise there are limits to this strategy and those limits depend on how much honesty the person on the receiving can handle. A good example of this working for a positive impact and bringing about the right result was when a very good friend of mine told me in no uncertain terms that he believed my poetry was like alphabet soup. You see it was his opinion that because it was trying to please too many others by writing in a certain style of poetry that I was becoming a formula poet and operating at only 10 per cent of my potential. Looking back on his comments I now see he was right and that by adopting the cruel to be kind approach he was forcing me to take a long hard at myself and the kind of poetry I wanted to write.
It was a couple of years later when another poet this time a female poet I had long admired said she had noticed a dramatic improvement in the quality of my writing in the 18 months to 2 years proceeding this chat. When I made her aware of the earlier comment she said that whilst she wouldn’t have been that hard on me she would agree that I was probably only operating at between 25 to 30 per cent of my talent and that other friend whom she knows I am close to said what they did to inspire and motivate me to be the poet I have since become because they knew I could take the criticism and would react in the correct and proper way.
There was another occasion however when I did not react well to what someone would call honesty and I will call cheek. This incident occurred at my former place of work not long after I started my workplace transition when a rather plain and overweight type thought she would give me a bit of advice in the fashion stakes. I have to admit I found this idea more than a little bit laughable particularly since I had been complimented on my outfit that day by a couple of younger female colleagues. I was told by this fashion expert that my skirt was too short which other female colleagues said it wasn’t and I was in her opinion mutton dressed as lamb. I was furious well I never did like this one anyway and wasted no time in letting her know that she wasn’t even good enough to be mutton dressed as mutton and believe me I was being charitable.
So should we always tell the world our version of the truth or does a little white lies sometimes save the day? Well the answer at least in my opinion is that they both have their place and what tactic you use will or at least should depend on the circumstances and what you believe the person or group you are talking to need to hear and why.
Love And Best Wishes