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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Ode to Frankness

It's been a fairly busy week and a half for me back here in North Carolina--hence the lack of recent posts. I've been helping my oldest friend get ready for her wedding (which takes place this weekend), moving my belongings out of my rented-out townhome (yup, I'm a land baroness), visiting friends, tying up loose ends, and missing Spike (of course). However, those are other stories for other days, perhaps--not the point of this post. Here's the point.

One night last week I went to dinner with Bosslady and my copywriting/ghostwriting Obi-Wan here at the office. During the course of the meal, Bosslady told me, "You know, when you're not here I forget how much I like you." She paused for a moment, then asked guilelessly, "Was that offensive?" Not coming from her, anyway. I told Bosslady as much. And here's why. Bosslady is always direct and honest with her employees and friends. I have realized that I find it very refreshing to be around someone who's a straight shooter AND who really has my best interests at heart. Bosslady definitely qualifies.

Feedback from folks like that leads to the greatest amount of personal and professional growth, no doubt about it. My co-workers and I know that whenever Bosslady busts our chops, she's doing it because she wants us to improve, and she respects us enough not to lie to us. It's when she STOPS calling you on the carpet that you're in trouble.

I myself am often not a straight shooter. Take my introverted nature, people-pleasing personality, and ingrained Southern politeness, and you've got a recipe for not wanting to say the hard stuff. Being falsely nice has come back to bite me in the butt often in life (usually in the form of being ashamed of myself, other times by being taken advantage of), but I just can't seem to kick the habit to the curb once and for all. Baby steps, though. Bosslady has inspired me to be more direct with my family and close friends, so we'll see whether or not her influence spreads from there. I've found that telling the tough truths has earned me more respect from some quarters, but it's also hurt some feelings since unadulterated frankness is not my habitual way.

Imagine how different your personal relationships--and the world at large--would be if everybody were frank. Not mean, not cruel, but frank. I'd like to tentatively suggest that we'd all be better off. That said, here are some of my favorite examples of Bosslady frankness, all offered out of love:
  • "You're one of the weirdest people I've ever met!"
  • "You are such a 70 year-old woman. I bet you and Spike wrap up the Cracker Barrel biscuits in napkins and smuggle them out." (We do, actually.)
  • "I finally understand your sense of humor. It's British!"
That's all my brain can think of at present. Back to Oklahoma on the 15th. That's Sunday!

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