Don’t you just love overhearing snippets of conversations?
I’m not a snoop but some types of random communication between strangers help to kickstart my writer’s ear — I like to tune into the way people talk, their quirky wisecracks and tone of voice.
It can be interesting research for any writer.
Because its real life now, that’s why. Every writer knows how important it is to capture authentic dialogue in their work. It’s the unique flavor of people and their conversations that we want convey in our creations. Even nonfiction writers who pen their wonderful articles here on Medium can learn so much from the art of listening, right?
Sometimes, its enough just to listen to the earth.
There are a few young men working outside in my neighbor’s backyard right now. I can’t see them. Too many trees in the way. But I can hear their laughter and quick witted banter over Sydney’s coolest radio station — their blue colored choice of music, tuned into Triple J.
J for …. Jives? Jockey? Jam?
I actually don’t know. Let the “J” remain as mysterious as the lady-jesting blokes out back. Yes. They have been chatting about females. Or rather, teasing each other about the opposite sex.
I’m not eavesdropping. Promise. But it’s a bit a hard not to hear them when volume control is nil. Anyway, they got me laughing. Here’s a little preview:
“You can’t tell me that’s she’s this and that. She can’t be all that good if you’re her only option.”
“Maaate… does she even know your name?”
Real life. Real love. Real conversations.
More Real Life & Love
This month, I have had the greatest pleasure in working with my LOL writers to bring their real life & love conversations to the page. We’ve had a little taste of just about everything — from wild African ventures to Holi Indian celebrations to soulful poetics to falling in love to the odd controversial piece.
I love being a part of the diversity that we are creating together for our readers, and honestly, I think that I am in love with all of you — gratitude, that you choose to house your good work here at LOL with me and Miss Sassy Lexi.
Check out the March story pages below. There is something there for everyone. ❤
Just the other day, my mother went to tell me about someone else’s personal business. I instantly rejected the conversation about a relative who feels the need to share with my mom all the ins and outs of her relationship. From her sex life to money matters; to the hottest topic to land on this week’s quibble-table — she divulges everything. It’s no wonder her relationship is mostly miserable, and that she’s whining on the other end of my mother’s phone every other week. They were right, those people who said that there is NoHonor Among Thieves.
It might sound a bit dramatic, but spilling your guts about someone you love in such a personal way is a bit like theft — Trust-theft.
Sure, every now and then we might need to talk to someone about our personal lives and relationships, we may even be tempted to vent. But doing so can be harmful and hurtful to the one you love. I mean, unless you are experiencing a major issue or crisis in your relationship, rarely can anything good come out of others sticking their nose into your business.
Right? Our relationships, feelings and love are about as personal as our business gets. Here are five things I think you should never share about someone you love and the reasons why it’s better to keep your mouth shut:
Private messages are exactly what the name implies; private. Whether it be emails, text messages or personal messages via social media or any other means, if the message was meant for you, keep it that way.
The above-mentioned messages are still considered conversations between two people. When I send a personal message to my partner, I do so in confidence and trust that he won’t air it to his best friend and vice-versa. The same rings true for any personal message I send to those in my life.
Whether the message is romantic and intimate or a little on the nasty side following a disagreement, the correspondence between you and the person you love makes for building trust and intimacy within your relationship.
So, that means sharing the content of text messages and private emails is a fast way to destroy what intimacy you’ve got going on between you. You don’t want your partner to think every single conversation you have is going to be open to everyone, and I’m certain that if the shoe was on the other foot you’d be mortified too.
And as For Those Grudge-Messages . . .
Don’t be one of those people who hold onto messages to use as future ammunition against your mate after you’ve broadcasted the contents to your friends. Remember that relative who I mentioned earlier? She has a backlog of these waiting to strike when her man aggravates her. It’s a bit like gathering spears of poison to inject into your life.
It is unhealthy for your relationship because collecting and/or copying those messages for a future throw-back is grudge-holding behavior that will slowly kill the trust between you.
“Grudges are essentially an emotional process that becomes stuck and unable to move forward. As a result, people who hold grudges are often in a state of mental and emotional distress. So much energy is focused on negative and spiteful feelings that it overtakes the relationship altogether.”
Everyone loses when a grudge is held. Let it go and seek ways to loosen any emotional grudge-holding patterns your behavior reinforces — which may mean working on the communication in your relationship or finding a skilled therapist to help you move forward.
Yes, keep your mouth shut about cheating.
If either of you commits infidelity, keep the dirty laundry in the dirty laundry basket and clean it up yourself. I know, it’s natural to want to cry on someone’s shoulder and seek those who will support our position when we get hurt, only the fewer players involved in this game, the better.
If you really need to talk to someone, it’s best to seek support in the form of a professional therapist during these delicate situations and not your immediate circle.
Because it is your relationship and your decision about whether it is worth fighting for or not — and not best friend’s or your mother’s. A professional therapist has the unbiased skill set to help you heal from the betrayal, while those close to you may do more harm than good because their feelings will be influenced by their connection to you.
People are people and none of us are perfect. A large part of being human is learning and growing from our mistakes, as well as our ability to forgive. The same holds true in knowing when to walk away from someone and realizing its time to begin something new.
Only you know what’s best for yourself and no one really understands the dynamics happening in your relationship. Also, if you do stay together, you risk tainting your friend’s or family’s perception of your partner — or yourself if you were the one to stray.
Your Sex Life
I used to have a friend who enjoyed talking about the nitty gritty’s of her sex life. So much so, that I’d almost feel as if I was involved in a threesome. Almost. I found myself redirecting the conversation a lot of the time because I felt awkward knowing intimate things about a man with whom I wasn’t involved.
Broadcasting the details of what happens in your bedroom makes your intimacy a group activity — where you’re having sex, how often you have it or don’t have it, your partner’s sexual fantasies and delicious little kinks — all of that raunchy intimate stuff should be kept between you and your mate; and maybe your sheets.
Because sex is the greatest expression of love that two people can share; in body and in spirit. Making love to someone is the physical representation of your complete union. It is the ultimate language of love that should not be compromised by becoming someone else’s entertainment or fantasy.
“Sex is sacred because of its role in bonding. Mutually satisfying sexual exchanges naturally intensify bonding … Sex opens the heart only if we bring the energy up … the awakening all of the senses, tuning in to subtle energy, letting go of judgment and blame, expressing gratitude for the gift of life, and savoring the present moment are wonderfully supportive tools for intimate relating.”
Lovemaking essentially creates intimate fusion, reaching deep and soul-sacred levels. Don’t kiss and tell that kind of stuff — speaking it out loud to others somehow betrays the reconciliation of energies; and sharing those beautiful experiences will spoil the union.
If, on the other hand, you’re having problems in the bedroom, discuss it with your partner. Otherwise, speak with a therapist who can help you figure out why you’re having these issues.
Your Lover’s Secrets
“Trust is easy to lose and hard to get back.”
— Kristie Overstreet
Your mate loves you. Trusts you. You might be the only person in the world who sees every part of them; you are their soft landing place in an uncertain world brimming with strangers. Throughout our lives, we experience very few people with whom we give our trust enough to share our inner-most thoughts and feelings.
So, don’t betray that precious trust.
Trust is at the core of any relationship. Without it, we have little foundation on which to build a great bond with the person we love.
If your mate tells you something confidential, keep your mouth zipped.
Whether it is a buried skeleton in their closet, a long-held secret burden or deep insecurity — if your partner has chosen to confide in you, it is super important to maintain their confidence.
We all have skeletons in our closets. Well, most of us.
When your mate tells you something deep about themselves, breaking their trust is not only disrespectful but will undermine their ability to trust you if they ever find out. The other thing about it is that blabbering your partner’s secrets to your friends will cause weirdness between them and your partner.
Then, of course, the inevitable will happen — you’ll end up feeling crappy for it. We do receive the same kind of energy we put out into the universe.
People talk all the time. We are so busy talking and posting the latest on social media that we can easily become disconnected from what’s real or oblivious to the feelings of others.
We forget discretion is a virtue. And we don’t always remember how to hold our truest connections in esteem.
At the end of the day, your relationship, feelings and the way you want to love someone is nobody else’s damned business.
4 things to consider before you get brutally honest with the people you love.
I’m not sure why people feel as if the truth needs to be brutally delivered in order to be effective. I believe that honesty embodies the qualities of love, matters of the heart and empathy. Brutality and cruelty are elements directly opposing the true meaning of authenticity — even when dealt in the form of “truthful” words.
Being honest is a virtue. Being brutal and cruel is not.
Honesty should never to be delivered harshly. At all. It is a farce to believe otherwise. Furthermore, using honesty as a weapon to hurt others is unnecessary and uncalled for. You can be honest and kind without being hurtful and brutal with your words.
Time and time again, I have heard people say how they prefer to “tell it the way it is”, but their beliefs and opinions about something are not the same thing as the ultimate truth.
Our perspectives vary. The way I see the world and filter my thoughts are not going to be the same way that you do. That doesn’t make me delusional. Nor does it give you the right to negate or belittle me with your brutal version of the truth to appease … erm … your ego?
My husband is inclined to not sugar-coat the truth. Like, ever. He is blunter than a hollowed-out cigar filled with cannabis. This might sound counter-productive in the realm of self-liberation, but I often remind him that there is no need for him to always express his opinion about everything under the sun.
Naturally, his first reaction is to push back. It’s in his nature. He’s a classic Aries male who possesses a rapid-fire wit and rebellious personality; and he’s a warrior for what he believes to be honest and true. He thinks about it, though.
He was able to understand that while honesty is important in a relationship, it doesn’t have to be expressed harshly in order to make a point. He realized his abrasive manner was causing more harm than good in his relationships — with me and our children.
His hard messages were being buried beneath an avalanche of hurt feelings. Words can be so damaging. Words can kill.
As assertive and straightforward as my husband can be, I have had to learn how to match his strong personality traits with some fire of my own. Each time he chose to speak nothing but the “brutal truth”, I’d show him another, more thoughtful way to express himself without the severity.
I can’t be certain if it was my influence, but over the years he has learned to deploy a little finesse in his brash ways. He has learned that his truths do not always need to be voiced so forcibly, and that there is great value in thinking before taking the leap into brutal-honesty kingdom — And he cares enough to consider the impact of the way he delivers his words.
Brutal honesty can actually impede communication with loved ones rather than achieving harmony. It is about telling the truth in a way that your partner will hear it and benefit from it. In this case, when my husband attempts to be tender in his honesty, I am better equipped to receive it without feeling hurt or blame.
You can be present with your issues with some degree of gentleness.
Fact: Feeling strongly about your opinions doesn’t make it a fact.
Being incredibly honest is not about being brutally truthful, either. I would even suggest that it is in our intention to be “brutally honest” that is actually holding back some honesty.
You telling it like it is isn’t the same as how it actually is; this a fundamental misbelief and where we so often get it wrong.
I’m not saying that you have to compromise your honesty. There are ways to be honest and kind at the same time. We can honor the true meaning of honesty and deliver our truths with heart instead of brutality. It’s a choice.
Consider the following points:
1. Brutal honesty just tends to tear the person down.
What Goes Around, Comes Around.
Justin Timberlake sang a whole song about it and he is da man — Right?
Well, with moves like that he’s got to be.
When he goes around, we’re all in for the ride. Speaking of around, there is no way around it — Your treatment of others will reflect back on you.
So, before you feel the urge to be brutality honest, it is wise to choose your words carefully and acknowledge the other persons feelings.
It takes deliberate practice to actually separate facts from fiction. Focusing on facts — what we see, hear and observe — and then having the ability to avoid a knee-jerk reaction long enough to consider the feelings of others, is what it means to be mindful — to practice empathy and invest in your character.
Keep in mind that brutal honesty isn’t true honesty because the truth should never be cruel.
2. Pause and Breathe.
We’ve all heard the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
There be truth in those words too.
Once you’ve said the thing, it’s out there; forever floating around in word-land. Whether verbally, text or email — once they’re out, you cannot retrieve those damaging syllables and consonants.
There are many different ways to say the same thing, and each version has a slightly different connotation to it.
Why choose to shred someone’s soul when you can be just as effective by honoring and respecting it while speaking the truth?
Sharing your facts and viewpoints with empathy and compassion means delivering your honesty without harsh dismissal, blame or confusion — victimless truth without brutality.
3. Avoid the shutdown.
We all know that person who believes they have the right to rip someone apart in the name of honesty. The ones who shut the breadth of their hearts to justify hurtful words.
It’s a bogus mindset.
Delivering honesty in this way is when you shut yourself down from others and proceed to steamroll over someone else’s feelings without acknowledging their emotions.
Being starkly aware that you may express your truths while simultaneously validating what the other person is feeling will go a long way in maintaining your empathy without compromising your integrity.
It will also soften the blow which will foster more positive and effective communication — they’ll be more likely to listen to you and hear what you are offering. They will be more likely to accept your point of view and respect you all the more for it.
Positivity all around.
4. Honesty is not what you think it is.
Being honest has nothing to do with being angry, hurtful or mean. Letting off steam and venting is not the same thing as truthfulness.
Those emotions have very little to do with honesty, but for some reason we equate them with each other.
Being more honest is about being clearer; more specific; sincere and authentic. It’s about hearing the other person, taking the time to understand their perspective and realizing their feelings are important and thus, should be treated with care regardless of the situation.
A little more about honesty:
· Honesty is about communicating your truths through acts of kindness and compassion.
· It’s about human connection and spirit.
· It doesn’t require you to raise your voice or use ALL CAPS to make your point.
· Truths don’t need harsh derogative comments, threats or brutality in order to increase your honesty.
· You don’t need to be more effective at stating the observable facts of the situation and your honest perspective about those facts.
· You don’t have to be mean to be honest.
And finally …
It’s worth remembering that you can still speak your truth and honor your integrity without being mean or cruel to the other person.
Here is a truth delivered without brutality: There is no limit to how honest you can be; but there is a limit to how brutal and cruel you can be.