Someone asked me how to talk about uncomfortable truths. I found this fascinating.
I hope you do too!
What do you do when your partner has broccoli between their teeth? It doesn’t feel right to pretend it’s not there. But do you share this when you don’t want your partner to be hurt or upset? The first question to ask yourself is:
Do I think my partner would want to know? The answer to this, is almost always yes. So take this wisdom and let that lead your comment. “Hey sweetheart, I want to share something that I think you’d want to know. Can you receive a comment with love?” And once you have their agreement, continue. “Beautiful, you know I think you have the most gorgeous smile ever. But right now, there’s a little piece of broccoli caught between your teeth. I don’t want you to feel awkward. Do you need a mirror to help get it out?” Or, “Honey, I love the way you dress. And this might just be me. But I think you have 10 other shirts that make you look so much more handsome. Would you wear one of those for me? I love your red or blue one, or the new cowboy one, or the one your Mom just bought you? Would you look gorgeous for me tonight?”
The reason we are fearful of saying something is because don’t want our partner to feel hurt. But recognize the thing you are pointing out is to help your partner. And if you begin with a positive statement, it will be much easier for them to hear your suggestion. Also, you want to be clear that it is only your opinion, which doesn’t make it true for others. If you offer the suggestion with love, it will be received much more freely. And there’s a much higher chance that the person you are sharing this with will appreciate you caring about them and how they appear. If you share the information believing that they will want to know, and you check first to be sure, you can then start the conversation with a positive supportive intention versus feeding into the apprehension and fear. Remember, no one wants to be embarrassed. Help those you care for save face with grace. And keep a toothpick handy just in case!