How do you avoid pissing off your significant other if you write honestly?

Aaron Goldfarb ‏@aarongoldfarb: If one is 100% honest in his writing, good chance you’ll piss off your significant other occasionally if not often. What to do?

ANSWER:

Everyone has two boundaries. The things they can’t write about themselves. The things they can’t write about others. Some people I don’t care about. I’ll write anything. But in general I don’t want to hurt anyone. So there are some things I can’t write about my wife, ex-wife, kids, sisters, mother, friends, etc in that order. And there are some things I can’t write about myself. I can write just about anything about Claudia. [just kidding, Claudia. I won’t write about how you like…]

Sometimes you feel you didn’t harm someone but they feel harmed. For instance, I might just say, “Samantha” where Samantha might be the name of my sister and she might get upset because her name was mentioned. The best you an do there is have an honest discussion about why you have the boundaries where they are and see if they disagree. If they do and you want to stick by “do no harm” then you have to respect that. Take a bit more poetic license and see if you get back within the boundaries.

My wife once wrote about what happened to her the day her mother died. Her mother died a very upsetting death (are their non-upsetting deaths when a mother dies?) A family member of hers protested so strongly that there was a midnight deadline that she would kill herself if the post was not moved. At just about midnight she removed the post. Did she do the right thing? Or was she manipulated into it? It was after all, her experience, her blog, her mother, and the family member who was offended was not even mentioned in the post. I don’t know if she did the right thing but she made a judgment call and then went back and forth doubting herself, particularly since the post in question seemed to help a lot of people. I cried when I first read the post.

All of this is to say, nobody is 100% honest. Everyone leaves things out. Everyone adds things in. And top of it, we all have our prismed glasses that look at every situation, adding our own nuances that were never there, and scribbling in poetic license to fill in the gaps. Do no harm, have honest discussions, determine the boundaries, and then do your best to fill up every boundary you can in as artistic and honest a way as possible.

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