* * *
Prompt: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
I think the one thing that I really have come to appreciate this year is honesty.
I had a penfriend once who completely out of the blue send me a letter saying that she was really sad but needed to end our correspondence. I was shocked at first and very hurt and disappointed, because there had not been any indication prior to this letter that would have hinted at her not being interested in our correspondence anymore. I didn’t understand why and how she could be so mean to just end our friendship like this, without actually giving me a real reason. But you know what? In the end, I really learned to appreciate her honesty. She saved me from months, possibly years of trying to figure out why she didn’t respond to my letters anymore and what might have happened to her. She really taught me at an early age that honesty is always, always better than whitewashing the situation.
Honesty might sounds like a pretty obvious concept to some people, but you have no idea how much BS I had to deal with this year, just because people couldn’t be honest and upfront with me.
I mean, is it really that hard?
I take honest words that hurt now over any carefully-phrased misleading words that hurt (a hell lot more) later any day!
I always contributed some of my disappointments this last year to the fact that I am European and we are generally more direct and straight-forward in our relationships, but that theory does not completely hold because I’ve also had disappointments with other Europeans that kept “beating around the bush” when it would have (and could have) been much easier just to say it like it is.
In general, I am pretty good about reading other people and being able to tell when somebody needs a way out. What I don’t understand is: if I make it is easy for them and pretty much put words in their mouth to get out of a situation, why don’t they take my offer?
Why do they still insist that they do want to __________(fill in blank), when I just gave them the perfect excuse to get out of the obligation? Why don’t they just say “Sorry, but I don’t think so”?
I know, being honest with someone can be hard and often very unpleasant, but here is what I don’t understand: completely catching somebody off guard with an honest statement, is one thing, but pretty much just having to say “yes” to the excuse that I present you, is another.
I usually tend to give people the benefit of the doubt one too many times, so when they insist that they “really, really know where I’m coming from” (most people have no idea where I am coming from!), that they want to “be friends” and “hang out with me”, I get my hopes up. Only to be repeatedly disappointed, when in reality, they have no intention of doing so. I have a really tough time dealing with people, who can’t just cut the crap and tell me what they really think. Avoidance/ignorance drives me up the freakin’ wall.
This has nothing to do with politeness, I think this is first class asshole behavior.
So, this past year I really have come to appreciate honesty. I respect people who can be candid and straight-forward so, so much more than people who just try to leave a good impression, but, in fact, leave you with a bad aftertaste in your mouth. It’s better to make a painful break than draw out the agony.