Honesty is it always the best policy or not?
Honesty and Relationships
Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie.
-- Robert Brault
If your relationship is near the end or if you are looking for a new partner it's likely that you have placed honesty and trust high on your list of core values or qualities that you are looking for in a mate. In fact, most of us would say that honesty is crucial to a successful relationship. Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who is a liar?
But if we're honest with ourselves most of us would say that stating the whole truth and nothing but the truth in every relationship and every situation no matter how much it may hurt someone's feelings is not always the best policy. For instance, I remember my mother saying, "If you haven't got anything nice to say then don't say anything at all."
So where is the line? When is it better to keep quiet to save another person's feeling and when should you tell the honest, unadulterated truth? Does it matter your motivation? Is it contingent on the person's feelings? And is it doing others a favor to spare them the truth to make what you say more palatable?
Expressing the truth through honesty can bring people together
Assuming you have a strong relationship, expressing your true feelings can bring you closer to another person. We all have friends that we love because of their ability to tell us inconvenient truths. In fact, not only is this a critical skill, but it also opens up new possibilities for your relationship.
In fact telling the truth helps us not to get mired in misunderstanding. It allows us to avoid making assumptions and instead abolish our fantasies of the ideal image and begin to really experience a real relationship, learning to love others despite their annoying and often irritating qualities.
Who Can You Look To As A Role Model?
If you are not sure how to be honest or what level of honesty is good, analyze the people around you who you admire. Do you know anyone who is a role model for honesty? You may not find them on the national level where hypocrisy and dishonesty seem to be spreading like a contagion but maybe there is someone close to you who you can learn from.
Steps to learn how to be honest:
- Learn to be honest with yourself. Sometimes people are their own harshest critics, but other times people lack the ability to self-analyze. Recognize your own feelings and take responsibility for the way you feel.
- Recognize that we all judge situations based on your own values, life experiences and ideas. Just because someone did something doesn't mean it means what it would have meant if you had done it.
- Acknowledge it's easier to see other people's faults.
- Express gratitude when someone is honest with you and helps you see yourself more clearly. No one is perfect, but if someone loves you enough to constructively give you information which can help you become a better, more complete person this may be a true friend.
The bottom Line
Most individuals who are in a health relationship agree that using full, total and complete honesty without a filter is the recipe for disaster. But if you are able to use honesty in an unselfish, conscious, loving way and not as a weapon it can help strengthen relationships and move your relationship from mediocre to a healthy and satisfying relationship that you deserve.