We’ve all been there.
At some point in our lives we’ve all had our spirit broken by someone we trusted – a friend who was supposed to build us up, actually took us down.
In a recent post on Oprah.com, author Elizabeth Gilbert shared that she once dealt with a ‘brutally honest’ friend in her 20s. This friend, she says, was more interested in being ‘brutal’ rather than ‘honest’.
Gilbert said 20 years ago when she was having dinner with this person at a Mexican restaurant, her friend asked, “Liz, can I be brutally honest with you about something?”.
When Gilbert replied yes, her friend took “a shiv out of her purse and expertly slid it right between my ribs”. Metaphorically, of course.
The friend told Gilbert she was selfish and lazy, she would never make a living as a writer, that nobody liked her boyfriend, and that she didn’t have the face to carry off her current pixie haircut.
As she sat there stunned, staring at her half-eaten fajitas, her friend put her hand on Gilbert’s and told her that she had to keep her around because she’s the only person who would tell her the truth.
And she did.
“Here’s another example of how dumb I was in my 20s: I actually believed her. Thus, I kept this friend in my life for another five years,” she wrote.
Elizabeth Gilbert has four questions you should ask yourself before you trust anyone. Post continues…
“Whenever I faced a difficult decision or needed an opinion on a sensitive issue, I would return to her and ask once more for the brutal truth—which she would happily deliver, smiling with pleasure as she donned her executioner’s mask and got busy hacking me up.”
Gilbert explains it was the success she started seeing in her professional life – the same success her friend said she’d never see – that made her realise how brutal and unnecessary her friend’s advice was.