Ask some of my oldest and dearest friends what one of my character traits is and one of the top will more than likely be my honesty. If you ask my opinion, or for help on something or for advice, I will always give you my honest thoughts. If you are one of my close friends, sometimes the thoughts may seem harsh, but I never give them in a mean spirited way. I expect that if you ask me, it's because you really want to know, so I will tell you. Of course I strive to give it as tactfully as possible and with as much cushioning as possible, but it will be the truth, you are guaranteed that. This is always done with love and I know that the understanding between us will make the truth palatable. I would expect nothing less from my friends. If I ask it, I don't want to be lied to, I want to know. I rarely take offense and assume that others are the same (maybe this isn't such a super assumption, but hey, I'm being honest here). My good friends love me because of (or maybe in spite of) this. I have a hard time with people who ask loaded questions then get their feelings hurt because they didn't hear the answer they had been hoping for. Often times when a question is asked and I'm not sure how the truth will be received I will ask, "Do you want the truth or an easier answer?" I will never offer my opinion or advice that might seem unkind without being asked. Simply: if you don't want to know, don't ask. If I have never complimented your shoes, and it will make you cry to know that I think they are hideous, don't ask. If I have never said your baby is cute, go ahead and assume that I think he is, but don't ask, because I just may not think that Jr. is adorable. And on the flip side, I don't give compliments or praise that I am not sincere about. I won't tell you that you look like you've lost weight or that your new haircut is super cute, if I don't honestly believe it.
Another of my traits that my close friends know about is that I have an exceptional aversion to strangers. I have a hard time chatting with people who I don't know well, have little in common with, will probably never/have no desire to ever see again.
And lastly, another aspect of my personality: I am not a toucher. I find almost all kinds of touch to be very intimate, and only appropriate in certain conditions: being physical with my husband, snuggling my big and little babies, a hug and kiss for my dad, a hug for a friend in need (a touch I use only when I feel 100% it is needed), a pat on the back for a friend who has done well, a handshake with a member of the ward. I am frequently astounded at the casualness with which some people use these kinds of touch. The 60 year old man (who I have on good authority talks about his appreciation or disapproval of the physiques of ladies in the ward) who will rub my back as I pass by, the overly friendly bagger at the grocery store who strokes the hair of my children, or tickles them on the back, the complete stranger (or even casual acquaintance) who assumes because I'm pregnant that I will appreciate a hand on my belly. I don't get it and I certainly don't welcome it.
Here's the problem: Why can't I use my honesty to tell these people to stop, that I would prefer to not be touched, or stroked, or manhandled in anyway. Why am I so up front with those I love and so scared of hurting the feelings of these people who I have no connection with? Do I care more about these strangers taking offense than those who really matter? Is the fear of confrontation so ingrained in me that I sit back and let people do what they want for fear of their backlash? Why do I care?! I don't know. Honestly, I don't.