I recently read an article in Marie Claire magazine by Lori Gottlieb called “What if your Best Friends are your Worst Enemies?” It was one woman’s view of honesty in friendships among women. Do women want the truth from their friends? I would say that in general…they don’t! Should you give it to them anyway? From personal experience I would say, maybe…and maybe not.
I think I want my friends to be completely honest with me, but do I really? Hmmm, let me think about that…yes, I do. But are a lot of us actually each other’s “yes women”? As the author discussed in the article, sometimes you give your honest opinion or advice to a friend, and they in turn seek out various other friends that will agree with them (and not with you) in order to reassure themselves. You then become the bad guy (or actually the bad girl). believe it actually takes courage and conviction to tell a friend the truth.
We always tell an unattached woman who is (desperately) looking for a partner, “These men are intimidated by you…you are successful, smart and cute!” But c’mon, how often is this actually the case? Wouldn’t most men be thrilled to date a successful, smart, cute woman? Isn’t it more likely that the woman’s biological clock is ticking so loudly that the guy can hear it from across the table? Or that she is too needy and desperate for a partner and it shows? Or that, “He’s just not that into you!”? Shouldn’t we just tell our friend the truth? In the end isn’t our “encouragement” actually enabling her to make the same mistakes over and over again? In the article the author said, “We “yes” our friends into false presumptions and bad decisions.”
I have always been pretty honest but I have been trying to work on something the author suggests…saying something positive followed by something constructive. I’ll use her example…
“Do you think I can’t find a boyfriend because I’m too fat?”
“I think you are one of the warmest women I know, but I also think men can be superficial and might not get to know you. If you’re interested in getting into shape, it might attract more men. How can I help you do this?”
I don’t think I would say it just like that (How can I help you with this? lol) but you get the idea. I can sometimes be too blunt and even negative, and that can hurt people’s feelings and cause them to shut down.
I think in general men are better at being honest with their friends, but I have also seen men struggle with this issue, especially when it comes to their friend’s relationships.What about if you find out your friend’s partner is cheating on them? Do you tell them? This is a tough one! I say you gotta tell ’em, UNLESS they found out about previous cheating and stayed with their partner. Then maybe you had just better keep your nose out of it. The truth always comes out eventually anyway. Another instance in which you might not want to say anything…after you already have. I personally have a problem with this one. Did they not hear me the first time??
This honesty thing can differ between cultures. My Cuban husband tends to lean towards the “Mind your own business!” side. And in Mexico when it comes to certain things, it seems that lying is much more “polite” than telling the truth (more about that another day).
So, should we tell our friends the truth? I say yes, most of the time, but try to be nice about it. Inevitably, some of your friends will still think you are biotch, but then are they really your friends? And if you have friends who don’t tell you the truth, are they really your friends? No, they are your “yes women”.
A note: I LOVE Marie Claire, it’s my fav mag. In my opinion it contains the perfect balance of fashion, beauty and health info with some women’s global issues/politcs thrown in.