You know how mormon missionaries always travel in pairs.  Well, what

happens is they pair you with another guy and, somewhere between 6 weeks and 6 months later, you’ll get a

call telling you they want you to move to a new city and be paired with a new guy.

One day as a missionary I got such a call.  I started asking other missionaries if they’d heard of this new guy I’d be with.  People told me he was weird and grew up “in a bubble” (which is to say very ignorant: or nicely put, innocent).

When I met the guy, I realized it was quite true how he had been described.  What I didn’t expect, however, is that I would like it!  Despite his awkwardness, he had a quality I had never quite seen in someone so strongly: he was completely transparent.  In other words, he was an open book.

I think a lot of people look at that as a weakness.  If you’re transparent people can take advantage of you.  You can’t hide your emotions; people will know when you’re happy, and they’ll know when you’re sad.  In fact, it’s hard to keep secrets, and people could use that against you.

Meeting him, however, changed my perspective.  I felt like I had lived my whole life kind of putting on a show for everyone.  I remember in high school talking about girls like I was the horniest little straight boy around.  Looking back, I think I must have felt that if people had known the real me, they wouldn’t have liked me.  At the time, and where I was growing up, that might have actually been true.  But on the other hand, if I’m putting on a show, then even if they do like me, I’ll never really feel like they’re liking the real me.

I decided then that I wanted to become transparent too.  I wanted people to see the real me.  I didn’t want to keep secrets; I didn’t want to lie.  My hope was that someone could meet me, look me in the eyes, and know the kind of guy I was; feel instantly that I was an honest man and someone they could trust.

I’ve found that as I’ve worked to become more transparent, my ability to have real and lasting friendships and relationships have increased.  People actually prefer to be around someone who isn’t trying to prove anything, who isn’t acting like someone he’s not.

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