I'm not gonna be your friend. I'm gonna be your lawyer. But I'm gonna do more for you than your friends.
- lawyer Tommy Killian to a client, in Bonfire of the Vanities
SETH (20-something): Why can't we just discuss this? Maybe you're not seeing my side.
MARTY (his father): Your side? You're doing wrong. I'm not your best friend, here to nod my head and sympathize. That's your mother's racket. I'm your father. I let you know when you screw up.
I like those two quotes, because they highlight a problem a lot of people have: They want everyone to be their friend.
Of course we all should have friends. Lots of them!
But it's also important to have people in your life whose first priority is not to be your pal, but to be an objective voice of reason.
That's because - just like the rear view mirrors of cars - we all have blind spots.
Actually, there's a psychological term that deals with the human blind spot - The Johari Window:
Look at that red rectangle. It's probably big enough to fit some significant things, no?
So how do you learn what those things are?
Asking your friends, "Is there something I don't see about myself?" is a good start. But, being human, most of your friends are almost never gonna give you the whole picture. They're going to want to be unconditionally supportive, which means glossing over some hard truths.
A good therapist can help you find your blind spot - for a fee, of course.
They're rare, but we all have one or two friends or loved ones or colleagues who are blunt to a fault.
Those are the people you should seek out once in a while and ask, "What am I missing about myself?"
"What do you think is holding me back?"
It takes some stones to ask these questions. And it's not gonna be easy to hear the answers.
But is anything worthwhile easy? Doesn't growth come from discomfort?
So I ask you - Who is the person that can fill in your blind spot?
Are you ready to ask them to?