When I was in middle school, my three best friends and I decided that we couldn’t truly be best friends unless we told each other everything—no inhibitions, no sugarcoating of “the truth.” We called the session “Heart-to-Heart in the Dark”, because, as you may have guessed, we sat in the dark (often in one of our bathrooms) so that we wouldn’t actually have to look one another in the eye when we spoke on our feelings.
Honestly, we didn’t have much to gripe about in middle school, and often our complaints centered on a friend saying she liked one boy but would text the boy another girl liked during the same week. Sometimes we argued about the way in which we reacted when we hosted the Heart2Hearts. The conversations were petty and never left us feeling good—often the chats would end abruptly and we would continue the sleepover avoiding subjects vaguely related to anything regarding the aforementioned.
Eventually we grew out of this ritual, because we quickly learned that honesty for the sake of being honest doesn’t help a friendship grow. We weren’t indestructible because we could “tell each other everything”, and found that our friendships flourished when we could be honest without being mean. And that’s what those chats were. Of course everyone has the right to speak their truth and talk about what bothers them, but there is a fine line between honesty and brutal honesty. Censoring your words and still being able to talk about what bothers you is the most efficient way to convey honesty because you aren’t destructing bonds in the process. People aren’t better for something being picked apart with each conversation exchanged.
Like I said, we grew out of this habit, but it made me more conscious of the way I speak to people. As adults, you’re able to talk about your experiences and the way other people’s actions affect you in a way that is beneficial two-fold: you’re able to speak your mind and the person you’re speaking to is made aware of a potentially harmful habit. These things shouldn’t be done out of malice, or because you want to say that you are totally honest with another person, but because as a friend, you owe each other the respect that these conversations carry.