Everyone experiences the difficult debate of whether or not to voice your opinion and when to be truthful within specific, emotionally charged situations.
How is best to deal with this?
Do you blurt out your opinion, and not care about everyone around, risking offence?
Do you exercise tact and play your cards carefully, balancing the aggressive and passive outcomes? But how can you judge what balance is required?
Or do you say nothing at all and risk being ignored and overshadowed?
Admittedly, it is impossible to attack this large topic in a general way, so the best way to provide insight is with a relevant, specific example of mine.
This is a conversation between a friend and I that I found very insightful, that I wish to share as I am sure we are not the only two people who have been in this situation.
I have altered the text a little to change names, etc to make it more confidential.
Whether you agree or disagree with the below (and, of course, you are entitled to your own opinion, after all!), it should give an educated snap-shot of a situation where you need to make your best judgement on how truthful to be.
Now you're back in the country, I thought I would extend the invitation for you to come to a party.
Hey. How are you? Good to hear from you. I will pass as I dislike Sam. But thank you for the invite!
Fair enough. I thought I would at least offer. Looks like your holiday was great!
I've been thinking a lot about your last comment. I wanted to say that I am glad you feel that you could say that to me and trust me to not mention it further and that you could say exactly how you felt and feel ok about it (and while I know what a good friend Sam has been to me I was completely Ok with you saying how your felt as you are entitled to feel the way you do).
I was recently invited to a party and I have real hesitation about going as there will be one person there that I also quite dislike. (I find them very confronting and sleazy) You have given me the courage to say flat out that he is reason for me not going and to feel OK about saying it. (It's actually quite freeing in a way. so thank you.)
Unfortunately, unlike my response to your comment (fair enough) the person doing the invite has now turned to the "Oh, he's ok once you get to know him" line and is being really pushy about it. It doesn't make me feel any more comfortable knowing that he will be there and actually makes me a bit resentful that she is not respecting my decision to say no and not "validating" my discomfort.
It's made me rethink my friendship with that person and if they are going to dismiss my feelings like that, then is the friendship worth perusing. (There have been other instances of this person disregarding my feelings and I have always felt like it was me that was the problem but I am starting to rethink that!)
It's funny the lessons your friends teach you sometimes.
Thank you for this awesome compliment. I appreciate your honesty and this is a really interesting topic.
Firstly, of course I trust you. But it is not only trust alone- it comes down to the fact that I know you know I didn't mean it in a nasty way. I was being honest and that is just my opinion.
With your response, I’ll be perfectly honest- you were fantastic with your acceptance of my decision: not because of you itself, but because of how rare it is for someone to be accepting of that kind of response, which leads me to answering your question and need for advice.
My opinion and suggestion would be:
(1) You are entitled to your own opinion and if you feel uncomfortable, I can understand you don’t want to be at a party, where the aim is fun and social interaction, as it defeats the whole point.
(2) I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion to pull away from this girl too quickly based on this situation alone (i know you said this is one of many examples so this could change the analysis and decision as repeated behaviour in the negative is a bad thing).
As I said above, it is natural for people to say "oh come on" or the like. Based on this one incident, don't write her off as most people do this for the right reasons, even if they don’t realise they are annoying you. Think of it this way: she values you enough that she wants you to come, and she wants you to give it one more go, for your benefit, especially because she must have a good relationship with this guy and so, based on her relationship, she thinks you should give it one more go. She does mean well on the surface.
No one decent would force it if they really knew the guy was a real pain or if she really knew your reasons. She is acting on her own judgement.
That being said, if you give her reasons (should you choose to) or as she insists, you stand your ground and tell her you won’t change, OR, as you said, she continues to disregard your feelings, it may be time to either confront her about this in an isolated manner, or make your own judgements.
Again, this is my opinion, and every situation is different with different contexts, but given what I know, don't write her off too quickly if it is just a quick passing comment. If she pushes, despite you blocking, then perhaps confront her in a nice way.
Sometimes, the line between being outright nasty and just truthful for the right reasons is extremely fine and you need to make the right decisions. Don’t burn your bridges, but at the same time, you need to do what is right for you.
Does that help? Thanks again for the nice message.