Is honesty really the best policy?

Have you ever had someone say something to you that upset you, made you mad, or otherwise hurt your feelings? When you point that out, have they said, “Well, I am just being honest!” Doesn’t that make you want to say — “Well, lie a little!”

So many times people use honesty as a weapon. They believe that just because it is true, it ought to be spoken. Now before I start getting emails from people that think I am condoning lies or misleading comments, let me be clear — I am not suggesting that lying is a good idea. I am simply suggesting that just because you THINK it’s true, doesn’t make it true. Just because you think it is so, doesn’t make it so. I know, I know, that is probably shocking for some.

I went on a blind date once — against my better judgment. We sent each other pictures in advance. At the conclusion of the date she asked me if I thought she looked like her picture. I said, “You know, a picture only captures a person at one moment in time — it doesn’t give you a real picture until you meet them.” She then said, “You know, when I got your picture I thought you were really good looking, but now that I have met you, you are pretty old, tired and worn out.” I asked her why she would say that, and she said “I am just being honest.” (No emails with your vote as to whether she was right please.)

Here are the filters for how you should communicate the truth:

1. Is what you are about to say factually accurate?
2. Is what you are about to say useful for the listener?
3. Is what you are about to say constructive for the listener?
4. If you decide you must share your opinion, make sure to let them know that it is just that an opinion.
5. Be as open to their feedback as you expect them to be to yours.


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