Guys, have you ever found the zipper down on your pants and realized, because you haven’t been to the rest room in hours, that it must have been that way for a long time? And you strongly suspect other people may have noticed but didn’t tell you. Ladies have you ever casually glanced in a mirror only to smile and find lipstick smeared on your teeth? And in either case you wished you’d had someone around who cared more about your appearance than your feelings, didn’t you? You needed someone who would tell you the truth no matter what. You needed a truth-teller.
Do you wish you had had a friend or family member who would have told you years ago when those first few excess pounds started to creep onto your waistline? You might have been annoyed to hear it but a comment of “Munching on a few too many ice cream bars these days old friend?” would have saved you all the dieting you must now endure. You needed a truth-teller.
A truth- teller is more than just a friend. And it might not even be a friend. Some of the best advice you will get through the years will come from people who either don’t know you or know you and dislike you. Abraham Lincoln was running for political office and his opponent called him a horse’s ass. When told of this and asked what he planned to do about it Lincoln is rumored to have said something like “My opponent is a smart man – - – I think I had better go home and look in the mirror”.
But a friend who is also a truth-teller is especially helpful. Close friends know your weaknesses. They know the things you intentionally avoid. They know the things that routinely blind side you. This is the person who will tell you straight up that you have terrible breath. (By the way anytime a stranger offers you a breath mint, take it. They typically aren’t doing it to be polite. Your breath stinks. Thank them, take the mint and make a mental note that they may be a good candidate for a truth teller.)
Note that your truth teller friends may be people who want you to reciprocate and to also be their truth tellers but maybe not. Not every ego is strong enough to benefit from a truth-telling friend. The best relationship is, of course, when either person can be completely open and honest about the other’s shortcomings or imminent mistakes. Just make sure that you cultivate several truth-tellers in your life. You do this by asking them to tell you when you are about to make a mistake such as risking the date of a life time just to watch ten more minutes of a ball game. You want them to tell you when you are about to risk a great job by responding childishly to a perceived injustice at work. Such a friend is priceless. Try to find several, make sure they are always comfortable telling you the whole, hard truth and be sure to always thank them for doing so even if your feelings have been hurt a little.
The old saying…
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
… is true!
And only a truth-telling friend can provide the prevention. Otherwise life will provide the cure and it is seldom pleasant!
Copyright: Solid Thinking Corporation
—Mack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government