The lesson I learned last year and my goal from here on out is to be more honest. Tell the truth, be honest, discuss your feelings, don't bottle things up. Last year I lost two friends. There are lots of little reasons but one reason that I can identify and improve from here on out is lack of honesty. I am guessing one friendship was lost because of something about me. I bitch too much or I'm depressed or I don't know what. I'll never know because she never really told me. There could have been vague hints but (and I know this is hard) how about "you know, I've found it hard to hang out with you/I seriously think you should seek counseling/you really need to be more upbeat or people won't want to hang out with you". Yeah, it's really hard to say that (or it would be for me) but if the choices are buck up and speak out or lose the friend? And yeah, I'd probably be hurt or deny it if a friend said that to me, but I'd mull it over when I'm alone and give it some consideration. The other relationship began with excellent communication but somehow it got lost. It just got worse and worse until now there is nothing. Part of this was cowardice on my part. It's scary to confront people. But if you love someone isn't the risk of a little pain worth losing them completely? And, if you're afraid you will lose them by confronting them, consider that you will if you don't. Maybe we are too polite. I've really gotten into reading advice columns (Dear Abby, Dear Prudence) and this theme is constantly reappearing. Spouses and engaged couples who can't discuss simple things, people who no longer want to see a friend due to their attitude. Spouses should be able to discuss almost everything. If you're not comfortable or unable to discuss something like being fine with one orgasm per session (seriously, weird problem) than its not a great relationship. But shouldn't you be able to tell your friend when they've become an unbearable bitch (obviously say this less bluntly)? Isn't that what a friend is for?
I was talking to a friend today (who is very honest!) who mentioned the problem of being "too honest". Obviously there are caveats. Don't be a dick. There is a difference between "I'm concerned about the amount of weight you've put on" and "you look like a total slob, I'm ashamed to be around you, and you look like a pig at the slop bucket when you eat". Obviously I'm assuming we are all adults here (even if you are not legally an adult you can still try this!). I think I made the mistake in my last lost relationship of saying "don't be too honest". I've since decided that honesty is a trust. If you love someone you trust them and you are honest. You should give them your trust that they will not ask more than you can answer just as you would not ask them more than they would be comfortable answering ("did she look better in a thong than me?" "Do my sweat pants make me look fat?").
This applies to everyone. Parents, lovers and friends. I think the level of intimacy should reflect the amount of honesty. We shall see if my friends and family agree with me!