I’m a very “tell me what the problem is so we can fix it” kind of chick. I don’t deal in bullshit, I deal in emotional maturity. I say what I think and what I mean. I’m also able to be upset with something someone has said or did, present it to them, resolve it and move on.
This sort of startled my husband when we first met. I’m sure it came off overly critical at first, because when someone is directly telling you what you did to upset them, it’s pretty hard not to let the ego take over and feel like the worst person ever. What he came to understand over time was that I don’t hold onto something for months (leaving zero opportunity for him to change), lose my shit and then continue to bring it up over and over. He knows now that when I tell him something bothered me, that’s it. Let’s fix it and move on.
I also begged him to do the same with me. I told him, even if you know it will hurt my feelings, you have to tell me how you feel. You don’t get to decide if my feelings get hurt or not, but I promise, you will be met with an acceptance alongside those feelings.
This has resulted in a pretty fucking harmonious relationship.
It’s also resulted in what can be considered an absolute slaughter when it comes to friendships.
As I navigate my 30s, emotional maturity is something I’m coming to find is lacking. People get upset with something you’ve done, and rather than be direct, they are passive aggressive or better yet, they ghost on you. The problem doesn’t lie in people being sensitive, rather in their unwillingness to be honest and direct about it. There doesn’t seem to be a benefit of the doubt anymore.
I first started to notice this in a past business relationship. I consider business partners peers, and since we all have a common goal, I expect we can all be direct with each other. Instead, honesty was met with hurt feelings, passive aggression, defensiveness, coldness and all the kind of icky shit you don’t want to deal with when you are killing yourself to be successful.
I once had a friend, who just loved to give people shit. So I followed suit and we had a fun back and forth rapport. One day, I cracked a joke about her naming her dog after the child of a woman she idolized and she didn’t speak to me for 3 days. I literally had zero clue what I had done wrong. When I asked her what the hell happened, she said she had “needed time.” The friendship went off and on for awhile until I’d had enough of her emotional immaturity combined with narcissism and her take, take, take, one-way street idea of friendship.
I’ve heard stories of friends who are dating; they’ll actively be texting or talking daily with someone and then it’s like the other person falls off the face of the Earth, only to surface later like nothing happened. When grilled for an explanation, they reply with, “I needed a moment.”
Why can’t we be upfront with these things? What is it about honesty that people can’t handle? What is it about being direct with your feelings that freaks people out so much?
We are living in a world that is rapidly losing depth. Rather than honesty creating intimacy, it is met with a slammed door. On both sides of the door. Not only can people not be honest and upfront with their own feelings, but they can’t hear someone else’s. They are quick to cut people out of their lives when someone disagrees with them.
We whine and complain about all the liars out there. The deceit we’re dealt and yet we simply chalk it up to them being horrible and selfish, rather than taking a look in the mirror and asking ourselves, “Am I making it safe to be honest?”
Being candid and forthcoming is something not everyone can handle, and I’m learning to be okay with the fact that not everyone I care about, are meant to be my people. After ending things with my “best friend” recently, I decided that I’m done trying to drag people up to my level of emotional maturity. But also I no longer take where they are lacking personally, I just choose to no longer engage.
I’m so grateful for the people in my life that can accept constructive criticism and also give it freely. I’m grateful for the people who can overcome the discomfort of being honest and dish me a dose of reality and who are willing to call me on my bullshit, should it arise. Who know that when I do the same, I’m only trying to make them better and it never comes from a place of mal intent. These are the people who deserve my time and energy. These are the kind of people I will continue to build around me.