Question: I’m an honest and frank person. I speak my mind, but sometimes I end up hurting people, including those who are especially important to me—family, friends, and coworkers. I don’t want to do that, of course, but at the same time I don’t want to be dishonest or stop being “me.” What to do?
Answer: This is a common dilemma, and it reflects a trend in certain societies today: a compulsion to be very honest, direct, and outspoken about one’s own feelings and opinions. In many cases it stems from a sincere desire to not be phony or hypocritical, which is good, but it also has its downside. As you’ve found out, it can lead to strained relationships and grief on both sides.
“Glafaf!” one-and-a-half-year-old Gracie exclaimed, tugging at Miguel’s pants leg. “Please glafaf!” she repeated in her sweetest tone. Miguel looked baffled. It was his first morning helping me to care for a group of toddlers, and he hadn’t yet learned to decipher their preschool dialect.
Gracie’s pleading became more insistent. “Please glafaf, Miguel!”