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5 Things Worth Admitting To
By Anne-Marie O’Neill
In this era of TMI tweets and status updates, we often offer up the most trivial of personal details while keeping the important stuff to ourselves. Here, five experts weigh in on what’s really worth sharing.
You Don’t Have All the Answers
By and large, people don’t like to live in the realm of “not knowing.” It’s terrifying. Which is why everybody wants to have all the answers. Atheists think science has the answers. Religious fundamentalists believe their particular theology does. But “not knowing” is a richer and more gratifying place to be. I have no idea what’s going to happen to me, why the universe is the way it is, or what will happen to my life force once my body stops working. You probably don’t, either. So just breathe and live in the great, beautiful mystery. And floss regularly.
You Spent a Small Fortune on Yourself
Even in this day and age, many people still don’t level with their spouses about how much they paid for some coveted service or item, like a salon treatment or a fancy new grill. Indeed, it can be difficult to own up to, say, a $70 haircut at a chic salon when your husband shells out just $22 at the barber. But keeping money secrets in a relationship creates bigger conflicts down the road. Sure, in this economy, sharing such information may lead to a discussion about cutting back. But your partner will also get a better understanding of what you value most— and those conversations will ultimately bring the two of you closer.
Your House Is Usually a Disaster Area
The next time you entertain, don’t pretend that your place always looks perfect. It’s as annoying as a stick-thin model saying she eats like a horse. If someone compliments your home, be honest and say, “I’ve spent the last two days cleaning up. You have no idea what was behind this sideboard.” It’s impossible to keep it together at all times. Wouldn’t you rather be friends with someone who owns up to her imperfections? I know I would.
You’re Tired of Hearing About It
Life is too short to listen to people talk about the same problems over and over again. I have a friend who is often in victim mode. If she calls me to rant at the end of a long day, I’ll say to her, “I love you, but I can listen for only three minutes and then I have to go.” I’m not cruel. I’ll say it in a lighthearted way. That helps soften the blow. Friends have to be honest with each other to have emotionally healthy relationships. Otherwise we would all be screening every call, and that’s not how I want to live.
Be frank about your age, your sexual orientation, your criminal record (if you have one), your tattoos, your scars, and your prescriptions. Admit to your bad moods, your neuroses, your fantasies, and your fears and it will be so cathartic you won’t need therapy. Better still, you’ll be able to gossip without hypocrisy. I am candid about myself in my column, and that frees me to investigate the private lives of public figures. The same applies to everyday gossiping: No one can fault you for talking about others’ indiscretions if you’re the first to reveal those things about yourself.