I love when my friends are honest. They tell it like it is. No one wants to hear a glazed over, polished version of their friend’s life. A true friend should be there through the ups and downs. I’d love to hear how others feel about being open and honest with their friends. It definitely has its risks, but it also can have its rewards.
A co-worker explained that his wife was feeling sad because “all the other babies in her mothers’ group were sleeping through the night”, but not their little girl. I quickly responded as a mother of kids well beyond the baby and toddler years, that it’s likely these women either weren’t telling the complete story, or their battle hasn’t come yet. A mother should feel supported by her peers rather than worry that she is doing something wrong because her child supposedly isn’t showing the “right” or “expected” behaviour. More mothers should be honest about the challenges they are facing and encourage others to share their concerns, rather than feel ashamed that their mothering isn’t perfect. The fact is, your child will sleep/overcome their fears/talk/walk one day, everyone just has their own way of growing up and no child grows up without facing at least one major challenge. For some it may be an ongoing illness, for others it may be anxiety, a learning disability or bullying at school. But, the truth is, we all face moments during parenthood when we aren’t sure what to do or how to handle what is happening.
The same goes for relationships. Often, we need to accept the downs for us to truly feel and appreciate the ups. When I asked my friend how her second marriage was going, she explained to me that it was fantastic. She said “we fight so fiercely sometimes” but “we also have so much fun and excitement”, she said the extremes were amazing and in contrast to her first marriage, where they never fought but things had been generally just OK to good pretty much all the time. It was great that she was honest that her husband and her had a great relationship, but it was by no means perfect.
The thing is, challenges and down days can seem overwhelming when you are going through them. You lose it with your child or spouse, you feel helpless in dealing with their problems at school, or you seem to have tried everything but your child just keeps getting ill. This is when it’s important to share with a trusted friend. Some men wonder why us women need to share so much information. The fact is, more often than not, our friend has had some experience in this area, is going through the same thing at that time, or at the very least, will listen.
Many people feel the need to project the image of a perfect life. Our Facebook posts are never of the mess in the kitchen and the screaming match that often takes place trying to get out the front door each morning. It helps when we hear that we aren’t the only ones who are having a tough time. It helps when a friend recommends an alternative way to approach a problem, it helps just to unload on a friendly ear.
That’s why I love my friends flawed. As we are all human and therefore not perfect, when we share the challenges we are facing in life, we are being honest and if we can’t be honest around our nearest and dearest, then we can’t be honest with ourselves.
Please share your experience with honesty in friendships and your thoughts on why women may or not feel comfortable sharing the truth about their lives with their friends.