People often speak of friends as those who “have our backs” or “stick with us through thick and thin.” We appreciate loyalty in our friends. We look for people who like our sense of humor, our opinions, our views of the world.
It’s great to have friends we can count on. We need them in life.
However, the best friends don’t just confirm our opinions and attitudes. We need friends who don’t agree automatically with us, who challenge and stretch our thinking.
I had lunch the other day with a friend. I appreciate his support, and know he cares about me. What I really appreciate, though, is his honesty. He’ll tell me what he thinks, where I’m right and where I’m wrong from his perspective.
I needed that the other day. I had myself wrapped around the axle, as they say, twisted and confused. I desperately needed some honest, direct feedback.
Sometimes we don’t want to give our friends honest answers, afraid of hurting their feelings. My friend didn’t worry about that. He just spoke the truth as he saw it. He wasn’t attacking me, but he didn’t mince words, either.
It was a very clarifying conversation, and enormously helpful to me. I appreciate my friend taking the risk of honesty, and I hope I can offer others the same in the future, with caring and grace.