Cars have them. Dryers have them. Cigs (bad, bad) have them. Coffee makers have them.
And yes, humans have them.
Unfortunately, our filters don't engage automatically like the afore mentioned filters do in their respective processes. Our filters, the one's that we sometimes call upon when deciding how to answer a question or approach a thought or subject with another human being (i.e. should I be polite, should I be painfully honest, should I ignore, etc.) must be mindfully engaged if they are to work.
I find this topic fascinating.
Boundaries in relationships can be a very good thing: I know where I stop and you begin and infrequently shall the twain meet. My inner thoughts, motives, actions do not have to be on my sleeve and out there for every person that I come in contact with. I have the choice-- which makes life a heckuva lot less dramatic than when these boundaries or filters are not in place.
But shouldn't there be a place that we can go to with the people that are dearest to us that isn't about walking on eggshells and is real and genuine and honest and can be called upon during times of stress, turmoil, confusion or just a good old fashioned healthy debate? Are we only friends if we are being polite and trying to make each other feel good?
I've heard men address this as a very gender-loaded subject. Seems many men think they are much more comfortable confronting each other and giving constructive criticism than they see women being. Some men think that it's just the business of being a friend or colleague-- saying what is on your mind with filters sat on the way-low setting. These men observe that women seem to be more sensitive in this area and shy away from confrontation, conflict or heated debate; so as to avoid hurting any feelings or stepping on egos at all costs.
As one man said to me, "If you have really close friends, you HAVE to be brutally honest with each other-- otherwise it is just another superficial relationship. Right?"
To which I answered in the most professional voice I could muster: "uhmidunno."