This week, Justin and Patrick look at another requested blog topic. Matt reached out awhile back and said, “Your shared accomplishment and friendship is extraordinary. What can the ordinary person do for a friend to build a closer relationship?” Thank you for the question Matt! It’s a loaded one. We believe every relationship has remarkable potential and that any shared accomplishment is extraordinary because of the communication and level of connection required to make things happen. Like so many things, Justin and Patrick’s ability to move through life is dependent upon the degree to which each of them engages in their relationship.
It wasn’t till a few years ago, when people started asking questions similar to Matt’s that Justin and I realized we had taken much of our relationship for granted. We were never really aware of the uniqueness of our friendship until people started pointing out how foreign the level of intimacy we share is to others… especially among men.
Our culture is fast paced, competitive, image driven, and remarkably egocentric. To make matters worse, social media allows each of us to engage heavily with others without really engaging. Not a day goes by where I don’t see young men and women sitting across from each other texting or enthralled in twitter, instagram, Facebook, or snapchat with someone else as opposed to looking the person across from them in the eye and partaking in honest and real conversation. The things missing here are the very things close relationships require to thrive… honesty, vulnerability, accountability, intentionality… and ultimately community.
These elements of relationship are deeply connected to one another. But each plays a specific part in creating a healthy dynamic in our friendships.
Today, we are going to take a look at honesty. What does it mean to be honest and what does it provide a relationship? If we look at the definition, to be honest is to be genuine, truthful, sincere, creditable, and honorable in one’s principles. In fact, the word’s origin (honos – Latin) means to be held in or deserving of honor. But often, our society uses truthful and honest as synonyms. And if we’re not careful and only embrace the “truthful” portion of the definition, we can get ourselves in some major trouble. How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just being honest!” when something is true but intended to hurt someone else or intended to cause conflict. Have you ever been guilty of offering up factual information, truthful information, with the intent of stirring the pot? It is important to understand that being truthful and being honest are not mutually inclusive.
Our words can be true, but if the intent behind those words is to cause pain or we have ulterior motives, we’re not being honest. We are using factual information in a dishonorable way. There are times in every relationship where our heads might tell us we’re being honest with a friend or partner, but the actions or methods of communication don’t align. No matter how true our words might be, if they are said with the intent to hurt, to wound, our behavior, our intentions are not honorable, and therefore we are not being honest. Saying one thing (regardless of fact) and meaning another is not being honest. Passive aggressive communication is not being honest. Using words as weapons (no matter how true) is not being honest.
When we embrace what being honest means, when we have the reputation of being honest, others know they can trust what we say to be true, and that the intention of what’s being said is pure. When we bring honesty to the table and it is utilized as a fundamental ingredient in or relationships, our friends, spouse, and children know the words that pass our lips are true and the intentions of our hearts are pure.