“Am I a nice person?
It’s a question that can be as dangerous as asking, “Do I look fat in these jeans?”
I posed it to my husband Steve. The poor guy. He knew there was probably a “right” answer, and for a few seconds I could see his brain scrambling to figure out the question behind the question.
He responded perfectly.
“Most of the time, you are a very nice person.”
When it comes to questions such as this—questions that solicit genuine feedback and include a not-so-cleverly masked need for positive strokes—the relationship hangs precariously for just a few moments. Too much attention on where I need to improve on being “nice” misses what my heart needs to hear. Too many flattering words that imply perfection, and my head misses what it needs to hear.
Conversations like this work when there is a belief that the answer won’t damage the relationship. The relationship is framed around a simple principle: You and I are in this for the long haul.
My Master Mind group offers this type of commitment. When my four friends and I gather, we greet each other with hugs, laughs, and chatter. Then during the next three hours we will encourage each other’s hearts and will boldly share opinions, disagree, and challenge each other. When we leave? Hearts are intact and businesses will grow.
Here’s why I think these invigorating relationships last:
- We always speak the truth to each other.
- We leave any judgment out of the conversations.
- We have chosen to love/accept each other unconditionally.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could apply these principles or commitments to all our relationships? Personal and professional? Our work places, homes, churches, and communities would change. And that would be a good thing.
Building relationships that last takes time, commitment, and energy. The result? Life-changing conversations that make me a better person.
I’m a very nice person most of the time. I can live with that answer.
What characteristics describe the relationships that invigorate you? The ones where you’re in it for the long haul?