A friend (Yemi. Do you remember Yemi? He’s the guy who wrote The Pastor’s Valentine) shared this image on his facebook wall. At the time of writing, it had attracted nearly 400k likes and over 75k shares – within 48 hours.
True Friends Tell The Truth – Even When It Hurts
According to the Bureau of Impromptu and Unverified Statistics, for every ‘like’ or ‘share’ generated, about 8-12 other people had the same sentiment but for some reason didn’t publicise their approval. That means this image could have had anywhere between 3.2 to 4.8 million likes and over 600 to 900k shares – just on facebook.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most of us would agree with that statement. We’d rather have a friend tell us the ugly truth even when we know we may not necessarily like it. There’s this deep seated longing for authentic feedback and when we find that someone we trusted hasn’t been upfront about things they’ve noticed in us, the feeling of betrayal can be quite real. We question the authenticity of past experiences. “What else has he/she been hiding?”, we wonder.
But this is where I flip the script.
When was the last time YOU called out a friend over an unpleasant habit or character trait you know is having a negative impact on their effectiveness or interactions with others? No, no, no. Don’t breeze past that thought. Dwell on it for a minute. When was the last time you spoke up with love, courage and clarity about specific issues in your friend’s life? I’m not talking about venting in the heat of anger when they irritate you. I’m talking about a calm, respectful, matured and honest conversation about specific habits/traits you believe they might need to work on.
You’ve noticed it. You know if they could get over it, they’d be a better version of themselves. You’ve probably heard others raise genuine concerns about this aspect of their lives.
Yet you choose to stay mum.
It’s too hard to talk about such things. It can be uncomfortable. You’re not sure how they’d take it and you don’t want to offend. Besides, it’s their life, right? Who are you to lovingly point out weak spots and cheer them on to change – you’re just a friend, aren’t you?
I understand that we just can’t go around splashing advice everywhere and anywhere – that’d be foolish. But you and I know certain people in our lives, with whom we have built enough relational reserves such that when we hit on the hard stuff, the friendship not only survives, but deepens. That’s what I’m talking about today.
But why do we hold back? Why is it so hard? Maybe it’s the thought of not being in a position to speak due to our own shortcomings. “I’m still trying to get my act together so why should I speak up? I’m no saint myself”. I think that’s a flawed logic. Here’s why.
If we have to wait till we get it all together in our lives before we speak up, we’d never do it – because that process never ends. We keep changing, growing and improving. Waiting to be perfect before helping others with their imperfections doesn’t work in real life.
Do you recall how God used imperfect people all through the bible to get his will done? Imagine if he had to wait for them to be perfect. He’d probably still be waiting.
True friendship is forged, not just in the poke-your-head-into-my-selfie happy moments. The deepest connections are formed in those moments when we get over our discomfort and have those sensitive conversations while retaining full love and support for the other person. Break the silence.
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend
Proverbs 27:17 (The Amplified Bible)
SPEAK UP WHEN YOU NEED TO – THAT’S WHAT TRUE FRIENDS DO. NOW THAT YOU’VE READ THIS, WHO DO YOU NEED TO TALK TO?
Live by Design.