« Couple Skills # 8 – Assessing and Changing Aversive Strategies | Main | Effective Communication »
Thursday
Jan192012

Friends

What is a friend? How much should I reveal to a friend? Everything – even the negative stuff about me they don’t yet know? Or only the good stuff? Well – you may say, “If I reveal everything about me – even the awful stuff - I'm afraid they will reject me! Isn't it better to be cautious and not get hurt?

I think it's really sad when the only time someone will open up to talk about who they really are is when they have to pay for it, like when they go to their counselor. Of course I'm not against going to a counselor for help - after all I counsel people for a living – and it's important to go when you're in need. But you should at least have one friend that you can open up and tell everything to - your great points as well as your weaknesses.

It's important to have same-sex friends who ‘get you’ besides your spouse. Here's why. Friends are not just a nice bonus in life. They're essential to life. It's a part of what allows us to be fully human. Of course your spouse should be your BEST friend! But a real friend is someone you aren't afraid to share anything with! The reason is – that hiding parts of you means you're not being fully human with that person, because what you're really saying is: "If you really knew me you would leave me.” That's the reason why we hide things. But there’s no real reason to.

[For couples it’s even more important to properly understand the differences between the sexes so they can share who they are without fear of recrimination. But you need to grow together and develop this deeper trust over time.]

We all have ‘stuff’ – things we’re embarrassed about – but being in a real friendship means to be able to be yourself, accept yourself, and trust that your friend will accept you too. To have a deep friendship is sharing EVERY part of the real you. Otherwise it's an acquaintance to go shopping or the movies with - and that can be great too – but it’s not what a real friend is about.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: “What type of life do I want to live? Do I want to live a fully enjoyable life or have it written on my tombstone: Here lies [insert your name] who never risked anything and never gained anything but at least I never got hurt.” Isn't it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

The fact is, we do far more damage to ourselves by not truly opening up to a friend and letting them know who we really are than the potential harm that could come about from possibly being rejected. There is so much to gain from a real friendship and so little to lose. If you are worried about getting hurt – so what! So what if you get rejected! All we have to do is move on – and learn to choose a better friend next time. And unless you’re a celebrity your friend is not going to get your name printed in the headlines with the secret you told him! And do you want such a person who would reject you as a real friend anyway? So find out. In all likelihood their response will be: “You think that’s bad – wait to you hear what I once did!”

But the purpose is not really to tell them about all the naughty things you did in the past – but rather to let them know what makes you tick – who you are – your strengths AND your weaknesses. That way they can help you and be there for you in a much deeper and better way.

If you come across to your friend as perfect with no 'issues' then your friend will feel s/he has to be perfect as well! It's such a relief when you can be who you really are with a friend - and it’s a great pleasure and joy in good times and a solace and comfort in bad times!

If it's ok for you to have problems then it's ok for your friend to have them as well! None of us are perfect – and we don't need to be supermen. When you share your stuff and problems you’re going through it also enables your friend to do what friends want to do. They want to reach out and help you. But if you're superman - i.e. perfect - then they can’t really help you, because they don’t really know you.

If you project as having no problems in life then they can't assist you! And if you can't be helped you can’t be loved! In fact – that which you can help - you end up loving the most. So get a friend you can reveal everything to and enjoy the benefits without being worried what may happen.

Be Human & Live!

Learned from Dennis Prager - a wise man!

Disclaimer: This blog/article is not a substitute for therapy and does not guarantee any outcomes for therapy. Any advice given does not imply any therapeutic relationship and is taken at your own risk.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>