Honesty is the best policy. You probably have heard this a million times, and for good reason. If you don’t adhere to this advice, whatever it is will come and hit you in the face afterward.
Remember, honesty is the core component of any healthy relationship, whether it be with a personal friend, colleague or partner. Honesty builds trust and trust is vital to all relationships. Lying to your friend can ruin a relationship almost instantly if the lie is significant.
You first must decide whom you should be honest with. If he or she is timid or shy, then don’t be harsh and too direct. If it is a friend with whom you know you can share anything, then inform them accordingly. Change your approach to suit your friend’s personality and express your message in the appropriate way.
Search for the right place and time to clear up and find the truth. Don’t tell anyone something that might be hurtful in front of other people. People will be able to accept your honesty much better if they’re in a relaxed environment.
Try to get them on their own. The best way is face-to-face; it lets the other person see your body language and lets them “feel” what you are saying, not just hear it.
Try seeing some potential situations where you might need to respond, and be in a place where you can identify a white lie and then choose to accept it or not.
An example is the “Do you think I am fat?” question. If a friend of yours is being self-conscious and is a little bit overweight, then confirm that belief. Don’t say “You’re not really fat,” as this sounds like you are being sarcastic or don’t really care.
Maybe say this instead, “Believe me, you are not fat. There are many people who are much larger than you.”
Another one is the “Do I really look that ugly?” question. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All beauty is relative. Everyone has different opinions about what beauty is; it’s very important to identify each individual’s beautiful features and focus on those areas when answering a question like that.
If your friend does not have a beautiful body, let him or her know about her/his gorgeous eyes, or stunning smile. So, stress these points and make this clear to your friend or significant other instead of answering the “Am I ugly?” question.
Then there’s, “A friend of yours would like to break up with his or her partner.” It’s vital to express your opinion. However, only do so if it’s relevant. If you just do not like your friend’s partner, then don’t let that be an excuse to influence your friend to terminate the relationship. If your friend’s partner is violent or abusive, then convince her or him to end it with the reason that she or he might get injured.
It’s easier to hear the truth from a friend than from an acquaintance or stranger. If you aren’t particularly close to a person with whom you would like to be honest, but you still want to convey your message, then ask someone who is close to that person to do it.
For example, you might tell this person’s close friend that he or she has bad breath rather than telling the person yourself. But be careful not to gossip about someone either.
Remember, take note of the person with whom you want to be honest, and adjust your tone accordingly. What I mean is, don’t be over-the-top or loud with a quiet and shy person. In short, don’t be rude.
There are other ways to inform someone of something without directly hurting his or her feelings. Ideally, follow a negative statement with two positive ones.
While excessive white lies are counterproductive, remember that some things just are better left unsaid. You are not obligated to say anything, and what is not said doesn’t need to be taken back.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, became famous for going to great lengths to return a few cents that did not belong to him; hence, the nickname “Honest Abe”. By applying honesty to the little things, you will get in the habit of being honest in general.
Sometimes, too much honesty hurts feelings and may turn your friendship sour. Some people may misinterpret it as a lack of support or criticism. Telling a “white lie” always is tempting when you don’t want to offend sensitive loved ones (especially children), but be creative in expressing the truth instead so you don’t have to tell lies.
Focus on the positive aspects and not, in all honesty, on what you think is negative. Instead of saying “No, that dress suits you well,” say, “It’s not as stunning as the red dress, which looks amazing on you.”
Practice your right to remain silent. If you don’t know what to say, just say “Let’s talk about this another time.” or, “I’m not comfortable talking about this right now.
Address this but don’t say, “I don’t know” if you really know something; it can come back to bite you in the rear later. If a person gets pushy and insists you know something, reiterate that you don’t want to talk about it right now and leave the conversation immediately.
When you’ve done everything already, and the only choice you have is to be honest—then do so, but be gentle. Wrap the potentially hurtful truth in appreciation, praise, and, if applicable, affection.
At its core, being honest is difficult because it makes us vulnerable. It shows people who we really are and that we make mistakes. This gives them a chance to criticize and reject in a more hurtful way than if we’d hidden the truth or lied to begin with. And sometimes, the truth just hurts.
But, honesty develops character as well as credibility and trust, all of which are the building blocks of high self-esteem and healthy relationships. Being honest isn’t a goal you check off a list. It’s an ongoing process that will both challenge and benefit you throughout your life. Nothing is as liberating as having nothing to hide.
We make judgments, assumptions and theories every day, but in order to be honest, it’s important for us to acknowledge them for what they are: ideas about what the truth might be, not the hard truth itself. When you make a statement, try to add the phrase “In my experience…” or, “Personally, I’ve found that…” at the beginning, or end it with, “…but that’s just my experience.”
For example, “In my experience, people who have physically demanding jobs tend to have stress, but that’s just my own opinion. That might not be how things are everywhere.” It lets people know that you are making an observation that is limited to your situation instead of making a broad statement.
Dishonesty has many negative consequences that often are not immediate or noticeable. They usually build up over time until they hit us like running into a brick wall, at which point it may be difficult to see how dishonesty has played a role in our unhappiness. It tends to make a bad situation worse. Honesty, IS the best policy.