I thought they deserve the truth, but what they need is acceptance and compassion.
Living on the other side of the globe, video calling my family every Saturday morning became a ritual…
Me: I felt like it was necessary for them to know. We’ve been friends for years, and suddenly I just stopped talking to them. I mean… I feel like I owe them an explanation as to why I decided to drop this friendship. *voice urgent*
She: Hmm is it really necessary? Maybe you should leave it… kind of open-ended? *uncertain*
Me: But I think they deserve the truth? And maybe after they know why, they could do something about it? Like think about it or… I don’t know.
In between the sound of fast-clicking mouse and keyboard clanging, I could hear my sister mumbled…
“Isn’t it more for your own good? You want to tell them to satisfy yourself, the image of integrity. Very selfish.”
It turned out my friends did not even notice my intentional pulling-away. They just thought I was busy.
“As a friend, it’s been hard to see you two in a toxic relationship. I tried to help but you still chose to be together. If I continue being friends with you, I’d be negatively impacted.”
Months later, I regretted my decision and invited them to pizza.
My sister was right, but I was not ready to listen.
Eyes swelled from days of crying, I sat on the bed clutching my phone. Still feeling guilty, I thought speaking the truth may be my only saviour…
He: How did it happen? The kiss. And where?
Me: I’m so sorry… but do we have to go into this?
He: I deserve the truth.
Me: Please… *fingers trembling as I typed*
He: I will stop replying.
Me: Okay… at the park… and it was an urge that I’ve felt for a few times before. Each time, I had been able to stop myself… until then.
He: And you still want to be his friend?
The honest answer would hurt him. I struggled to hit the send button. What is the right answer?
He logged off and didn’t speak to me for five days.
They say honesty without compassion is cruelty, but what is the perfect balance?
How do we put compassion and empathy into the mix and not lie?
And what about when the person demands complete honesty? How do we know if they are ready for the truth? Or should we give it to them anyway?
Staring into the water, we sat on the rocks and stayed in comfortable silence. This happened often. We took the time to let our thoughts settled before opening our mouths again…
He: Maybe everyone has their own truth. *calmly*
Me: What do you mean? *cocked my head*
He: Your truth may be different than mine. We may have different interpretations of the same experience. We see the world differently.
Me: So what’s true for you might not be true for me.
He: Right, so striving to tell the truth is really for your own benefit. That way, you can convince me of your reality. *turned to face me*
Me: But I don’t see how it could benefit me? *genuinely confused*
He: *Think for a moment* perhaps you want to see yourself as a good and righteous person. Being honest and telling the truth help you build that facade.
Me: And what’s so wrong about that? *defiantly*
He: Nothing, but none of us is that great.