honesty with friends

At the time this topic was “assigned,” I had a dilemma. The way I saw it, I could either be honest with one of my closest friends, or I could go on hating who I was around her, and feeling awful about our friendship in general. You see, I had lost the ability to be honest with her. Due to some major problems she’s been having in her own life, I’ve been supportive and caring of her to a fault; meanwhile, my own needs in the friendship have been largely overlooked. And I’m not being honest with her about it.

One could say, “Well, if you can’t be honest with your friends, who can you be honest with?” (Now that I look at that, it seems like a blanket statement: “Well, if you can’t ____ your friends, who can you ____ with?“) I don’t know, I don’t know. I wanted to be, but … I was terrified of hurting her feelings.

I’m still terrified. But not terrified enough to live like this anymore. I wrote her a long letter, describing in detail how I have been feeling, what I think about her present situation, and why I’m distant from her these days. It didn’t feel good to write it. It didn’t feel good to “come clean,” to be honest. It felt like shit. I feel like shit. I feel like I’ve let her down by being this honest; like if I could just hang on one more week, things would improve on their own and this all would be unnecessary.

Yet I know they won’t improve on their own. I know it took my complete, uncensored honesty to make the first step towards fixing what’s been broken. That letter was the most honest I’ve been with her in … well, years. I’m glad I wrote it, but it was the worst letter I’ve ever had to write, and it churned my gut to send it. After all, that honesty may prove the end of our friendship.

My honesty with Chad is a sacred thing. We’ve been doing a lot of talking the past few weeks, and we’ve been more open than ever. This is not to say we’re not usually honest with each other; rather, we joke around a lot and test the waters, try to see if the other person is amenable to a topic, and then slide into it. These days, we’re trusting each other a lot more, and the communication has been wonderful. I tend to measure all my friendships against my relationship with Chad. I’m not sure if that’s good or not.

I want to be completely honest with my friends. I don’t want to censor anything at all from them. But the insecure, paranoid part of me is always calculating the repercussions of everything I say. The fear of hurting someone I care about outweighs the need to be honest.

I sent that letter. I’ve taken this risk. Whether or not the friendship improves, I know now that I need this openness and trust with each of my closest friends. Otherwise, I’m miserable, and not myself at all. I hope what I’ve learned from this can soothe some of the pain to come.

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