I am not your ‘safe’ friend.

I am not your ‘safe’ friend.

What makes for a ‘safe’ friend to talk to?

I feel like the answer varies with people.

For example, I know most of my friends would be devastated if I lied to them, but when I post online about lies, there are always some people who claim that they preferred to be lied to, to save their feelings.

I would not be a ‘safe’ friend for those people, ever.

Especially in a highly emotional or trauma-based situation.

And that’s OK. I don’t want to be everyone’s safe space. I can’t. I don’t have the energy, and frankly, that’s not my priority.

But let’s talk about why I’m not your ‘safe’ friend.

I’m probably not your friend.

That’s the big one, right there.

It’s possible I know you. We may be acquainted. We may be friendly. We may hug and smile and laugh together. I am definitely that person to more people than I ever would have expected, and I appreciate that honor.

But a friend? The kind of friend you can tell anything to? The kind of friend that will be ‘safe’?

Well, for some people, surprisingly yes. Even for strangers online, I can be a ‘safe’ friend.

But for many, no. Because we’re too different. The way my brain works is just not compatible with most human operating systems.

So, before expecting something out of me, check out this list of why I’m not ‘safe,’ and decide for yourself.

I’m honest and direct.

If someone asks me a question, I’ll reply.

I’ve learned, though. I often stop to ask if they really want my answer. From their answer, I can often determine whether they are just looking for validation, a couched reply, or the full truth.

But not always.

Especially not with people who are not direct by their nature.

Because I don’t recognize their subtle cues.

And that makes me ‘unsafe’ for many people.

You know what else makes me an unsafe friend in some situations?

I expect others to be honest and direct as well.

When someone tells me something, I believe them.

Which, probably seems like a good thing. It always was to me.

Except that I’ve learned that the truth for many people is not direct. Or perhaps I should say there is not just one truth.

They want this thing, AND they want the exact opposite.

So, they say one and not the other, and I believe them. They are telling the truth, but not the WHOLE truth, and so I miss a big part of the picture.

And then, some people don’t tell the truth. They have been taught their truth is not worth sharing, so they lie. Not intentionally. In reaction. Out of fear. In self-defense.

I believe them and I base my actions on their words.

And that makes me ‘unsafe’ for many people.

For many people in my life, though, I am the SAFEST person.

They can tell me anything and know that I will not be reactionary.

I accept them, now, exactly as they are.

I engage for as long as they need it.

I tell them the truth as I see it when they ask.

I ask them questions that may help them understand their own thoughts and feelings better.

I listen and reflect back their words as I understand them and I validate their experiences.

I will let it go when they set their boundaries; I will not push or cajole for more details, because that’s not my right.

AND, I also…

…call them out.

I hold up the mirror.

I point out their hypocrisy.

And that, more than anything, makes me ‘unsafe’ for many people.

I’m OK with this.

And you’ve been warned.

What are your thoughts?

What makes a friend ‘safe’ to you to share your heart and mind? What makes someone unsafe?

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