Monday, February 1, 2021

There’s Something On Your Face

I spent the afternoon with a friend last weekend. When I got home and looked in the mirror, I realized I had something on my face. Embarrassment set in as I wondered if it had been on my face all afternoon. Why didn’t he just tell me?

Maybe it was an attempt to preserve my feelings. The thing is, I wouldn’t have been offended if he just told me I had something on my face. I felt infinitely sillier knowing it was just sitting there, the awkward elephant in the room, third wheeling on our afternoon. Had he just pointed it out immediately, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. I would’ve laughed, wiped it away, and moved on with my life without ever thinking about it again. Instead, he pretended it wasn’t there so as not to hurt my feelings, unintentionally making it a bigger deal than it ever had to be.

I wonder how many metaphorical things I’ve had on my face – flaws, shortcomings, or areas that need improvement – that people have been too afraid to bring up to me. I wonder if I’ve ever been a jerk or simply not met someone’s needs or expectations and they’ve kept their mouth shut for fear of hurting my feelings.

There’s nothing offensive about observing a fact and pointing it out if your intentions are to help someone in the long run. It’s better than the alternative of ignoring it, inevitably allowing tensions to rise and resentment to silently build. If I have something on my face (literally or figuratively), I’d rather someone just tell me so I can wipe it away and move on with my life. Don’t be afraid to tell someone there’s something on their face – we would all rather know.