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Honesty among friends 
7th-Feb-2010 10:38 am
Angry Marvin
Poll #1522561 friends and lovers

Suppose you tell a good friend of yours that he/she can speak freely with you about any subject. The friend the proceeds to harshly criticize your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other. How do you react? (Select as many as apply).

You become angry at the friend for criticizing the person that you love.
You are hurt by your friend's bluntness or insensitivity.
You resign yourself to the fact that your friend is only doing what you gave him/her permission to do.
You wonder if what your friend says is true and begin to second-guess your relationship.
You take the position that what your friend has said has damaged your friendship, irrepairably.
You take the position that what your friend has said has damaged your friendship, perhaps not beyond repair, but it will never be the same again.
You ignore your friend for the time being until you figure out what you are going to do.
You tear a strip of your friend for being such a dick.
You try and convince your friend about the good side of your spouse/s.o. etc.
You try to get your friend to like your spouse/s.o. etc. better by having the two of them get to know one another better.
You cry.
You punch your friend, or strongly fight the urge to do so.
You never speak to your friend again.
You never tell anyone that they can be completely honest with you again.
Something else (what?)
7th-Feb-2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
I think this one is SO situational that it's really hard to pigeonhole my reaction to one of the above options. I've never been the sort of person who wants to have or be the friend who is always nice and never critical. I do think you should be nice and supportive of your friends most of the time, but OTOH there are times when you're not doing your friend any favors by telling them white lies or avoiding the truth. I sort of think of this like the folks who come on American Idol, who are COMPLETELY tone deaf, and when asked 'hasn't anyone told you you're a terrible singer before?' they say that all of their friends/family always said they were the best singer ever. This person hasn't really been done any favors at all by being told repeatedly that they're good at something they aren't.

ANYWAY. I think it depends what the criticism was and why your friend is telling you. Is it a serious concern that this person has and are they saying it as respectfully as possible? If they're just bitching about not liking your spouse because THEY don't like your spouse, that's not okay. If they have an actual concern about your relationship, then I'd try to consider what they said, bearing in mind that they might not be right but are bringing this up out of a genuine concern.

7th-Feb-2010 07:29 pm (UTC) - Other
I tell my friend that though he/she is allowed his/her opinion and allowed to share it with me, he/she is not allowed to insult my boyfriend (especially since we've been together for 1.5 years). I then tell him/her that their opinion is harming our friendship, as I value my boyfriend more than any of my friends.
8th-Feb-2010 12:36 am (UTC) - Re: Other
If your friends liking your boyfriend is a requirement of your friends, you're not a very good friend.
7th-Feb-2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
I picked other because I'd never say that to anyone in the first place.
7th-Feb-2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
But suppose that someone said it to you. How do you think you would react?
7th-Feb-2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
I'd accept that it's their opinion and be glad they're comfortable enough with me to express it. Not everyone in the world is required to love everything I love, especially not my friends. And who's to say I didn't need to hear what they had to say? Maybe my boyfriend's an abusive douche but I'm rationalizing staying with him.
8th-Feb-2010 12:37 am (UTC)
THANK YOU for being smart enough to realize this. So many women get offended and defensive when you say something about their significant other... It's like their brains melt and they fail to realize that they are indeed two different, separate adults and that saying something about one is not saying it about the other.
8th-Feb-2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Exactly how I feel.
7th-Feb-2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
My friends don't have to like my partners. They can say what they like about them as long as it isn't racist/sexist/ableist etc. An acquaintance once described the partner of my partner as completely barmy - if I'd have had enough confidence that day I would've torn them a new one.
7th-Feb-2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
This happened to me. Except that I didn't invite the comments about my husband, and she decided to tell me what she thought when she received my wedding video. Wonderful. (Note sarcasm). It took a while but really it did end the friendship.
7th-Feb-2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
I think it depends on what exactly was said, and who said it. My fiance and I have been together for 8 years, so it would be strange if a bunch of complaints just came out now. I'd probably try to defend him/point out his good traits, though.

I may also not feel comfortable with that person for a while, if ever again. It's not that I feel everyone should always get along with everyone, but there's a respectful way to go about such things... so again, depends on exactly what is being said. To use the American Idol example above, there'd be a difference between just yelling 'LOL YOU SUCK' and giving some constructive thoughts.

Edited at 2010-02-07 09:20 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
8th-Feb-2010 12:39 am (UTC)
But why does their opinion of another person totally separate from you have anything to do with your friendship with them?
(Deleted comment)
8th-Feb-2010 01:24 am (UTC)
I get that. But if you had asked for an honest opinion like the poll question said, would the circumstances be the same?
(Deleted comment)
8th-Feb-2010 01:39 am (UTC)
Understandable. :)
8th-Feb-2010 01:26 am (UTC)
I would do a number of those things, and some of them are a "maybe".
8th-Feb-2010 02:09 am (UTC)
Eh, my husband can be a bit of a dick at times (although his level of dickishness is probably not as high as mine).

So to answer this, I probably wouldn't care. I might feel a little defensive on my husband's behalf, but only for a little while, but I know who he is, good and bad. I have plenty of friends who have partners who are sometimes really freaking annoying - some of these friends are even partnered with each other.
8th-Feb-2010 04:27 am (UTC)
I'm sure it sounds like tunnel vision, but I can't imagine anyone not liking my boy - he's so awesome! Anyway, I'd understand that I was the one who opened the door to criticism, but I'd be hurt at my friend's choice of tone and lack of sensitivity. I wouldn't cry in front of my friend, but I would definitely shed some tears once on my own or with my boy.
8th-Feb-2010 04:43 am (UTC)
I think she's a better friend for telling me?

I attentively listen to what she has to say, and spend the next 72 hours contemplating what she said, because my friend has an interest in my well-being, and might have a point, or at least realize something I'm missing?

Then, if I find that I disagree with her opinion, or see it but equally find reasons why I still want to keep my S.O. significant, I respectfully disagree with my friend?

Afterward, I bask in the warm glow of knowing I've a friend who loves me enough to risk my reactions in all the ways in which the poll states, in order to look out for me?
8th-Feb-2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
You invited the situation so technically, there is nothing to complain about. In reality it may have been WISER for them to shut up about this particular topic.

But since they didn't and you asked, it's basically a matter of not REALLY wanting the truth on your part and somewhat insensitive behavior on theirs as this seems to be a touchy subject... If they're good friends, I would consider their opinion.
8th-Feb-2010 08:37 pm (UTC)

This would depend on how I was told. If the friend said that my SO was a good for nothing asshole or that they were too fat or too skinny or some other superficial/racist/immature comment then I would be offended and would not take their opinion seriously. I probably would not ask them for their opinion on anything again and the friendship would most likely end at some point. On the other hand, if the friend gave their opinion with a little more tact and maturely discussed why they felt a certain way then I would listen and comment accordingly. If it was told to me in this manner, I would respect the friend more even if I may disagree with them.

My friends don't have to like who I see but that does not give them the right to be a dick in telling me how they feel. The same would go for my SO if they were talking about my friend(s).
11th-Feb-2010 06:17 am (UTC)
I would probably not ever say that to anyone. I might ask someone to be honest about something in particular, but unless I asked for an opinion or advice on my relationship and/or spouse, I would not appreciate that opinion being voiced. That goes for any topic, but I especially wouldn't appreciate someone bashing my husband. [I can't imagine anyone doing that, though.]

If someone told me that I should be honest about anything and everything, I probably would not believe that they meant I could give them a negative opinion about their significant other. In my experience, most people do not really want that type of honesty. I would be honest about my political beliefs and things like that, but I'm not going to offer an opinion on someone's life unless they specifically ask me about that specific thing--and even then I might not be honest.

I am not really a people person, if that is not clear. *g*
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