“Don’t hide your feelings,” psychologists have said for years. That’s why the idea that “To build a solid relationship, you must always express your true feelings,” has become widespread.
It’s good to think again.
Your true feelings may offend or provoke the other person. I experienced this myself in my first year at university. As you will soon see, my relations with girls were not socially smooth. For some reason I still don’t know, a very attractive girl named Jennifer, who has been on my mind all semester, has decided to go out with me. Our relationship went very well until I realized that I only liked him for his looks. One night, as we lay hugging each other in front of the fireplace, she brought up the subject:
“I guess you’re dating me because I’m blonde,” she said. I tried to explain that you were wrong. ‘This is absolutely not true! Actually, I don’t like blondes that much,” I said.
I spent the next two hours explaining my true feelings.
However, I soon realized that I had made a huge mistake in expressing my true feelings. The realization that I made a mistake, I might say, was almost abrupt — Jennifer turned away from me with a disbelieving expression, stammering, “Are you trying to say you don’t find me attractive? when he said.
“No, no, no, that’s not true!” Trying to dispel her doubt, I reiterated my feelings openly: “You’re so attractive! I find brunettes more attractive, that’s all. Of course, I’m not dating you just for your looks.”
Jennifer wanted some clarification. “Okay, so you like me but you find other girls more attractive than me, do you?” she asked. This clarification question made the thread stuck in my own throat even tighter. Everything went bad after that night, she.
In that moment, mad with desperation, I needed a strategy. I knew Jennifer wanted some reassurance from me.
I could tell what aspects of his personality I liked. That’s what he wanted me to tell him, not that I find brunettes more attractive. (Jennifer explained all this to me before she left.)
My experience with Jennifer illustrated a very painful but equally important truth: Expressing your true feelings can only make matters worse. My open communication with Jennifer only caused us to have an argument about whether I found her attractive.
Expressing your true feelings can be an unemotional act. Even if your true feelings will upset the other person. If this is your guess, you can vent your feelings to see if it’s correct; you might think he might want to know your true feelings; even if your true feelings will upset him. If this is your guess, you can express your feelings to see if it is correct. Many people prefer to keep some of their feelings to themselves.
I still remember Jennifer’s words: “Even if you find brunettes more attractive, you shouldn’t even think about telling me that!”