Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Love You Enough To Tell You When You Suck

So I've talked about Melanie before--she's even appeared in a video or two in the past--but let's recap for the folks who are new here. Melanie is my best friend. My sister from another mister. My heterosexual-life partner.

Got it? Cool. Let's move on.

One of my favorite things about this relationship is while it is deeply rooted in Sam/Frodo-like affection and care, it remains brutally honest.

Let me illustrate with the following scene as closely related from real life as possible:

2010, Melanie and Kiri's apartment. Morning after one of Melanie's shows. Melanie has made coffee.

Melanie: So you liked it?
Kiri: I loved it. You were great.
Melanie: You're not just saying that?
Kiri: Melanie, I love, adore and respect you. I will always tell you when something is shit. [Sips coffee for the first time] Now this? This is shit.

If I respect you, I will never lie because I feel it will "spare your feelings". You deserve honesty and don't need to be coddled. Now I'm not going to be a dick about it--the above conversation happened with that certain verbiage because Melanie have a very particular report that allows us to be that blunt.

But my point is I will tell you if something isn't good or needs improvement because I love you and I know you can do amazing things. So when I say that something is good--that I enjoyed it--you can feel confident in my sincerity.

So why is this important? It's about respect.

Let me make one thing super clear (which is probably already clear, but you know, whatever): Insincerity as a means of "sparing someone's feelings" does not work. I don't know where we got this idea--maybe from our parents when they didn't have the heart to tell us cows weren't green when we drew one in kindergarten--but this weird quirk has been causing more problems than it (temporarily) soothes.

Side note: You don't have to tell your children cows aren't green, by all means, ask them about this alternate world, feed their imagination or use that moment to talk about why colors appear the way they do--or how some people can't see every color--or that dogs can't really see any.

There are few things more insulting than being lied to because someone doesn't think you can "handle the truth" about your work/your abilities. 

I don't come easily to dancing--I can follow choreography but it takes me a few more practices than someone who has a natural ability. So if I'm flapping about like a chicken awkwardly and not actually completing the dance step--tell me. Otherwise I'm in for a world of embarrassment come show time.

I'm not saying be a dick about it. Just be honest. "Sparing feelings" now will only damage far more later.


  1. I make it a point, even when I like someone, not to pretend their work is any greater than it is (unless, say, they are under the age of ten). I think your word has to be worth something, and it has to be worth more to your friends.

  2. Hear hear! I have a friend who does this for me and I appreciate her very much.

  3. I always thought it was better to say sisters of a different mother...when you say another mister, it sounds like I was messing around! Melanie is my adopted daughter though!
    Also, I loved your green cows, and in our family they came in many colors, sometimes with stripes! But the honesty thing is something I believe in too and hope we will always be honest to each other!