Language Barriers and Walls of Fear

17 Apr

As my good friend described a recent discussion she had with her boyfriend, she went on to explain how she has recently been thinking a lot about what it would be like to be a guy.

“What do you mean?” I laughed.

“That’s the same thing he said when I mentioned it to him!” she exclaimed. “He asked me,  ‘What kind of guy would you be?'”

“So what did you say?”

“Well, when I said it  I was upset about the situation we were in. I was pretty uncomfortable. I just said, ‘If I were a guy we wouldn’t be in this situation right now!’ And he just looked at me and asked me again what kind of guy I would be.” she stated.

“I think I’m as confused as it sounds like he was,” I said with a smile.

She sighed and launched into a 30-minute description of the events which culminated in this “if I were a guy” statement. Amidst the anxiety, there was confusion, annoyance, worry, and a foreboding sense of unrest.

“I couldn’t relax…and I was on freaking vacation! I was having all these thoughts about him, about us, about finally having a direction for my life, and when I told him about my recent epiphany about where I wanted to go from here with my career, he just stared at me! Kori, he said nothing back. He just looked at me.”

“How were you expecting him to react?” I questioned her.

“Well, if I had been him I would have said, ‘Wow, fantastic. That’s great!'”

“But he didn’t….what do you think was going on for him?” I asked.

“Thinking about it now, I think he didn’t know what to say. I think he had a lot of questions and a lot of feelings and so he just didn’t have any idea WHAT to articulate!”

“Sounds like the same way you were feeling when he kept asking you what you meant about ‘if I were a guy…'” I said. “I think he may have been asking you what kind of a guy you want him to be. And I think you are scared to tell him. He can’t ask and you can’t tell. That’s a pretty big language barrier.”

Ever notice how you’ll beat around the bush, say things you might not really mean, and get into conflict and a bigger mess than is necessary just because of fear  about a possible reaction from someone important to you? What if instead of guarding your words, you were honest– honest but compassionate–and removed the barriers to move closer to your loved one? In turn, you grow closer to yourself as well.

What do you do when you realize you have been wearing a mask? Do you peel it off and reveal yourself? Do you continue to hide and build up your walls? I’d love to know.

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