Tell Us What You Really Think



Tell Us What You Really Think

I hear that a lot. Tell us what you really think, Joe. Apparently the remark is issued when I’ve said something blunt or passionate. Which is OK since I don’t really mind the comment. In fact, usually in hindsight, I derive some fulfillment from it.

I get the most fulfillment out of when someone says that and I think but I didn’t even say anything outrageous or passionate. It just was. The reason I get most fulfillment is that when that happens and I wasn’t even trying to get a reaction, then I know that was just me. And it’s good to just be able to be yourself.

Sometimes I think we all need to be more open and honest. I’m not sure why I think that because I think while I might be honest I am certainly not open. What the hell am I thinking?

I guess I must be open a little or I wouldn’t hear the “Tell us what you really think” line. But I’m not that open. I’m a pretty nice guy, though like anyone sometimes I say something mean and feel bad about that. So there’s no way I could be that open. That would verge on cruelty.

But not everybody is nice. And not nice people being really open could only go terribly wrong. Might be funny in a movie but that’s about it.

And the other thing that could go wrong is that not nice people would confuse being open with the need to complain or give advice. I think I get that fear from watching too many bad psychologist/therapy scenes where the therapist says to a couple “You need to open up” and there is an immediate dump about everything that one hates about the other, which is great in theory, not so great on the street.

Filters. We need filters. Some people don’t have good filters. I am pretty sure I’ve thought thousands of times “I did not need to know that.” Which is related to “I did not want to know that” but slightly different. Talking to me equals filter. Talking to therapist equals no filter. So if there’s no filter I’m going have to go ahead and charge you my normal therapist fee for that conversation.

Children don’t start with filters. The other day a friend of mine said his daughter gave him some great feedback on some music that was pretty honest and direct.  I said the observation was certainly honest but lacked the context to make it useful.

Context is what should inform our filters. People often confuse being honest with being blunt. I hear people say “I was just telling the truth. I don’t know why he got so mad.” Duh, you were a blunt ass who managed to achieve exactly the opposite of what you were aiming for because you lacked the context to inform your filters so you could employ tact.

I guess context and filters allow us to have tact so we can, as Jack Nicholson might say, handle the truth. Or perhaps so that we can be good purveyors of the truth, not jack asses.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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