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  • Janelle Watson, LMFT, PMHC

When 'Nice', 'Honest', and 'Kind' Go Shopping

Picture this! The Communication siblings (Nice, Honest, and Kind) went shopping for a friend’s birthday party. While browsing in the clearance section, Nice and Honest ran into the guest of honor while she was exiting the fitting room. After chatting for a bit, their friend made a request. “I’m trying to decide whether to get this outfit, but I cannot make up my mind. Can you help me?”


Now, although the Communication siblings might seem similar, they have very different personalities. Nice is something of a peacemaker. They never want anyone to be upset with them and try their hardest to make sure that everyone is okay. They might go so far as to bend the truth to make bitter pills easier to swallow. Honest, on the other hand, is a straight shooter. They are a devil-may-care truth teller who believes that unfiltered truth is the only way to go. They are not interested in babying people who are too sensitive. If you ask their opinion, they will give it to you. Nice and Honest were happy to help and had this to say:


Nice: “I think you look amazing in that outfit. Not many people can pull off stiped high water pants and polka dot fur trimmed crop tops, but you make it look effortless!”


Honest: “What in the world are you wearing? You look like a hot mess; take that off immediately!”


As their friend bursts into tears, more confused than ever about what to do, Kind walks up to them looking perplexed. Kind is the sibling who listens more than they speak. They like to be as authentic as they can be while also being compassionate towards the person they are talking to. Kind doesn’t have “go-to” phrases because what they have to say depends heavily on the situation. When asked to provide an opinion on their friend’s outfit, Kind had this to say:


“I know that you wanted to go with something bold for your birthday; you definitely achieved that goal with this outfit. However, I don’t think it flatters your body type the way your other outfits have so it wouldn’t be my top pick.”


Their friend thanked Kind for their feedback and walked away to make her final decision.


*************


When thinking about how you want to communicate, the urge to sugar coat, people please or, when pressed, unleash the sharp bite of a truth bomb might be strong. I encourage you to pause for a moment and lead with a thoughtful, compassionate statement instead of the low hanging fruit of habit.

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