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How Candid is Too Candid?


You Hurt My Feelings, a Prime video movie, raises serious questions about how honest to be with people. When we see intimates doing things that harm them, don’t we need to hurt their feelings a bit to help them? If we have a friend who drinks too much then engages in risky behavior, don’t we owe it to them to burst their bubble and share our fears of what dangers might befall them? If a parent needs to go into a nursing home because they can’t care for themselves, isn’t our role to keep them safe even if taking away their autonomy means wounding their pride in being self-sufficient? 

Because one of the film’s main characters is a psychotherapist, the movie explores candidness in the professional as well as personal realm. Though therapists are expected to be kind and compassionate, we also get paid to make people emotionally uncomfortable in order to change. Sometimes we’re afraid to hurt clients’ feelings and are less than honest. Other times we say hurtful things without realizing it or when we’re not functioning at our best. Then again, there are truths that hurt that need to be said.

One theme of the film is how to be supportive with people we care about. If someone’s hellbent on making it in Hollywood but they’ve been awful in several local productions you’ve attended, what do you say to them? How do you balance encouraging them to follow their dream with not wanting them to be disappointed or even ashamed when/if they fail? If someone regularly picks the wrong lovers, do you go along with their fantasy that this time will be different or point out their self-destructive tendency to protect them?

There’s a fine line between being supportive and saying exactly what’s on your mind and there’s, unfortunately, no formula to follow. Each case is different than every other. We need to consider that the person, situation, relationship, timing, etc. all determine what to do. Sometimes we’re okay playing it safe and other times it’s best to take a risk.

Regarding therapy, do you want a therapist to say only what you want to hear so you’ll feel good or do you seek out and appreciate their views which might be contrary to your own? Are there some kinds of hurt you can tolerate and others you can’t? Unfortunately, the major way we grow is through experiencing emotional discomfort.

And when an intimate says something that hurts you, do you tell them that or keep it to yourself? If you let them know, do you lash out in anger, apologize for being hurt, play down your feelings, or do you try to understand what you’re feeling and explore it with them? There are no easy answers here, but all of the above are great food for thought.