Sentiment. It's a funny thing. People say it and don't mean it, others say it and mean it too much. They say it in the heat of passion, in the beginning of a new relationship or for personal gain. But why do those kind words, those things that make the heart twinge, dwindle when you're deep into a relationship?
Sometimes we say it to our friends, and of course mean it, but often it's so sporadic that the friend may even forget the ways you feel about them. It's there though. Isn't it? That's why friends can go weeks or even years without speaking to one another and then when they get back together it's like no time passed.
When you're in love with someone, your soul mate for lack of a better word, the ways you feel about them are often taken for granted. And sometimes, those kind words are replaced with digs, meant to be teasing, but yet can be soul-crushing. Like the husband who says, "yes dear, you do look fat in that dress." Does he mean it? Or is he trying to be funny because you've asked so many times and he's always said the same thing, "you look beautiful."
I've seen it in family relationships, too. My dad and I have a weird relationship. We love each other, of course. We say it, too. But rather than say something nice about something we have done, it ends in silly banter that is often insulting. Sometimes to the point that one of us really does start to feel hurt. Usually me. But I get over it and it's back to the banter.
Men don't share those sentiments enough. They don't say things like, "you make me feel good about myself." "I am so comfortable with you, I can totally be myself." Women can say it. It's genetically built into us to make our friends feel better. To make our children feel special. To remind the man we love that we're there for them even if they don't reciprocate.
I have a friend who is a fabulous writer, who is the best critique partner anyone could ever have. We are open about our feelings about each other's stories. So comfortable, in fact, we can say things like, "That chapter is really fricking boring. What's the point of it?" Or, "I hate it. What the hell were you thinking writing something like that." It's certainly not a dig. It's no slam at each other as writers. It's just we know each other well enough to realize we have each other's best interests in mind. We both want the same things and will do whatever it takes to get there. Even if we have to be blunt.
But why can't we be as honest with everyone in our lives without worrying about hurting their feelings?
I guess it just one of those things we'll never really understand.