Litmus, Litmus on the Wall: Could you read my blog?

I went shopping for ideas at today’s daily prompt and found this one:

Litmus, Litmus on the Wall

If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?

What attracted me more, though, was to find out what Litmus is, at the Oxford dictionary…

Litmus

  • A dye obtained from certain lichens that is red under acid conditions and blue under alkaline conditions.
 It couldn’t possibly be that, then I found this one:
Litmus test
  • 1 Chemistry A test for acidity or alkalinity using litmus.
    2A decisively indicative test: effectiveness in these areas is often a good litmus test of overall quality

Ok, got it.

Could you read my blog? 

Yes, well, actually not… I browsed through that very long, endless post. 

Had I known you wanted me to do so… I’d’ better not stayed here drinking coffee with you. 

It is over…no friendship is possible here!

Kidding you…this is very ‘good – from the gut – material’ for friendship building.

This was an honest ‘no’ – giving also a subtle, careful hint on the text length – and getting to closure by demonstrating a considerate attitude.

We don’t get many opportunities to hear what people really think about us, as they may fear to hurt us, and in the process, hurting the relationship.  We don’t make it very easy for people either if we have the tendency to take criticism personally.

Being a friend is much more than loving and praising achievements. Having the courage to tell us to our face that we are wrong, and may end up falling from the cliff (before we get to the edge), is what friends are for.  Sometimes our perceived enemies are our best friends, and the ones who helped us the most, when pointing out the things we don’t want to hear, or are not aware of on ourselves.

Going through the 30-day’s Blogging101 course, which started last week, has been an incredible experience, just for what I said above. I heard that there are over 1000 people from all over the world participating in the course; we never met, we are not friends, and have only one common factor uniting us – our interest to learn how to make our blogs better by performing daily tasks well orchestrated by Michelle Weber.

What is happening with this group, though, is made of the same fabric that grows friendships. Giving time, and making an effort, in the good or the worse moments. That costs a lot, and not many people go out of their way to help strangers. Kindness, consideration, attention, support, and also constructive criticism are hard currencies. This group has given just that to each other, for free. Spreading the love…just as Michelle tells us everyday!

So, next time someone asks you to make a ‘Litmus test’ to indicate if you can be friends with another, think about that: goodness is not always anticipated nor visible, but is present in every person. Perhaps, all we need is to give it first, starting a chain of reciprocal reactions. You may make many friends on the way…

 

Materialism and Friendship

Photo credit: David Goehring, Flickr

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/litmus-test/

Photo credit: Featured image by https://flic.kr/p/7N8dfY

16 thoughts on “Litmus, Litmus on the Wall: Could you read my blog?

  1. It’s the courage part that’s tough. The part of us that wants to hear the honest truth, although we know it might sting. Or, the part of us that speaks up to say the difficult thing to a good friend. From where do we get the courage to hear/say the unpleasant things?

    • Difficult question. If it is about me, I prefer to hear it. If it is about others, I will not given unwanted/unrequested truths – unless the person is deeply troubled and needs urgent help – because if people don’t want to hear it, I respect that and choose my battles carefully.
      I guess the only way to know where to find courage, is to try by doing anyways. It will never be easy, I am sure. I don’t know of anyone who likes criticism, including me, as the point of departure is that we all want to do well, and have good intentions. It is not about liking it, though, but taking ownership for the changes we want to make for ourselves, and if we are caught losing sight, a helping hand from a friend is all we need. What may make a difference, is not the content, but the format used to deliver a tough message.
      This is how normally I do; and sometimes it doesn’t work…I admit, but I believe that most of the times this way works better.

  2. Excellent points. And I agree with Kimberly’s comment – where DOES the courage come from? There are things I can’t say to my husband because I know he won’t understand the true message and will most likely take offense. That’s a sad state to be in, unable to honestly share with your partner.

    • Thanks, Janey. I gave my personal view on Kimberley’s question, but it obviously works only for me. I would add, though, one more point. Even for a very direct person like me, I do believe that I’d better always check if people are ready to hear something, otherwise it will be catastrophic. Waiting for the right moment is everything. Sometimes, the best way to help is simply to listen a lot first, and only then we can find ‘their way’ and convey a message that they perhaps already knew it but didn’t want to hear.

  3. I read your blog today. 🙂
    My family has a running joke going. When they see me coming, they quickly say, “I read your blog today. It was good.”
    Truth is they may not have actually read it. They just know I want to hear it.

    • Hi Tim, thanks much for reading and sharing that one. I know what you mean, I get the same from family and friends, and don’t even dare to ask what they thought about a post or another, not to embarrass them. But it doesn’t bother me. Blogging is my choice, no theirs, and there are many things they do that doesn’t interest me either. I know on what and when I can truly count on them. I prefer to keep their undivided attention for those moments. Cheers…

  4. I surfed today’s daily prompt as well and could not nearly come up with anything as genuine as you have written in this post. I wish it had been easier and I commend you for carrying it out as well as you have done here. Of course, if someone is reluctant to read your blog, that person is the wrong person for you to befriend! Do you actually ask the question (“have you read?”) of people? You could try to persuade a newcomer to read your post. In my blog, I have answered a number of the most recent daily prompts, but I did not explain the origin in any case. I wonder if that would have been better. In some cases, I included the title of the daily prompts to partially explain what I was saying, but I think your approach may be a little more honest. Good luck!

    • Hi Patrick. We all write genuine and honest things and that includes you. We just see things from different angles and use different ways to express ourselves. That’s what makes reading others all more interesting and enriching. Thanks for bringing your views and doing exactly that.

      I haven’t actually asked anyone if they read the blog, except my husband…as I’m a bit shy and don’t want to impose this on anyone. I’d rather ask a stranger as you suggested. Good idea!
      I may as well get more honest reviews than from those who may think that may upset me.

  5. I often find myself ‘struggling’ with these situations. When receiving feedback, I always urge people to come at me with the absolute truth, even if it is supposedly harsh. I tend to be thick skinned most of the time, so the saying ‘What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’ applies to me. However, when it is MY turn to give feedback, in most cases I resort to the ‘medium over content’ approach that you talked about.
    ‘Double standards?’ you might ask. Sure, if I’m able to help somebody improve without discouraging them, why not?

    • It seems we aren’t alone, as everyone struggles for the same reasons. The ‘medium over content’ approach is more about being respectful and to a certain extent, about having humility to accept that although we think we know what is wrong, maybe our perception is not entirely correct; only listening will help us distinguish the tress from the forest. It takes too to tango, right?
      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I did read your blog … @timpepper (very funny family you have but I understand them, they are everywhere) … and got the meat of the article. Well, my friends sometimes shudder at my frankness in saying some things, but I try to weigh the situation and who it is I’m speaking to before I do. Most people can’t take the truth.
    I love the piece and the pix with it.

    • Thank you so much. Happy you read it and also left your comment. This subject turned to be surprisingly very interesting to many people; we seem to agree, as you very well said, that most people can’t take it. Let’s keep our frankness, I do believe it is more authentic way to behave that also builds more than destroys relationships. Cheers.

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