17 February, 2011

Interesting discussion of openness and honesty

Some interesting discussion on my Facebook page regarding my recent posts on communication. I thought it was worth copying some of the comments onto here:

L wrote:

I was just thinking about openness and honesty yesterday and thinking that they are different things. People are sometimes not necessarily open but that doesn't mean they are dishonest, it just means their personality doesn't lend itself to openness and I don't consider that sinful. Of course some people are both not open and dishonest and some can be open and dishonest too. 
An example: You've mentioned before that you tend to give TMI when describing illness - that's being very open. Some would be horrified at describing their illness in that detail and wouldn't be very open beyond 'I have a stomach upset'. They are not being dishonest, just not laying everything out for the whole world to view. I don't think that's wrong, it's just their personality. People vary with how much of their personal life they want to share with others. It's not that they want to hide anything - it's just personal. I remember being gobsmacked once when, as a single woman, I was in a group of Christian women who were talking in detail about their relationship with their husbands. It obviously didn't bother them, but I certainly couldn't do that. I'm just musing here...what do you think?
K wrote:
Yes, we all can give TMI at some times, but I do think that most relationships have a better chance of surviving well if the communication is open and honest!
I wrote:
K - you are quite right. Relationships depend on good communication and that can only be good if there is an element of openness in it. A relationship where one person or both are stonewalling the other's attempts to get to know them will not last long or go deep.

L - I'm thinking. But you are quite right, openness and honesty are different. And being open for one person is different to another person. Though I think, that everyone, no matter what their personality or situation (for example ministry wives find this a hard issue in their congregations), should have at least a small number of people with whom they can share fairly openly with. I love the quote that I shared in a post back in October:

"As I tell the truth about our journey with our son, instead of hiding it like a secret, I've discovered a new kind of freedom. One woman in my Bible study said, "Carol, I used to think you were perfect, but now I think we could be friends." Carol Kent, Just Between Us, Fall 2010.
I'm not sure the issue is whether she was dishonest or honest before sharing this secret, but the issue is that once she did share it, it enriched her relationships. 

I love it when we can discuss things like this. None of the above three people are in the same country as each other, it's amazing that we can have this discussion at all!

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