There are basically two ways to talk to your loved ones. The first is to hide some of your true wants and feelings, either by not expressing them at all or by being so indirect and “nice” that your loved ones don’t know for sure how you really feel.
The other way is to be honest about what you want and feel.
The results of these two approaches are drastically different.
When you hide what you really want and feel, guess what? You still want and feel those things. Remember that point; it is important. You’re afraid to say what you really want and feel because you think you’ll be rejected, disapproved of, or disliked. The love might be withdrawn. Saying what you want or feel might start a fight or hurt someone’s feelings.
Even though you have all these perfectly good and valid reasons to refrain from speaking up, that doesn’t alter the fact that you still feel what you really feel and want what you actually want.
And those wants and feelings will come out, one way or another. Consciously or unconsciously, you’ll try to manipulate the other person into doing what you want and your feelings will be expressed, no matter how hard you try to hide them. There are many ways. You can hint, tease, argue about it indirectly, try to make the other person feel guilty for not doing something, “accidentally” make mistakes, and so on. Not to mention that your body language and the subtle expressions on your face give you away. Your wants and feelings come out, even against your will.
The problem with these indirect, nonverbal, and often unconscious ways of communicating your feelings and wants is that they are confusing. And the confusion causes problems in close relationships.
It is difficult to be honest, and it can sometimes cause an upset. But honesty is not confusing. When you are saying what you really want and feel, problems can be worked out and solved. You can’t solve a problem when you don’t know what it’s about.
So that’s the choice: Withhold the truth or say it. Of course, very few people are on either extreme. Every one of us hides our intentions and feelings from our loved-ones now and then, and at other times we’re pretty frank. But any effort we make to move ourselves further toward the honest end of the spectrum will improve the quality of our close relationships over time.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.