The problem with being honest, is that very few people are. People are used to reading between the lines, making assumptions based on what they would rather hear, or what they think you mean. It’s not always easy to say how you feel. It’s almost certainly harder to hear how someone else really feels, especially when you’re the subject.
But the problem is amplified when you’re reading between the lines, getting it wrong. And then have the unfortunate fate of having to hear what was actually being said, when the other person was being honest the whole time. And for their sins, they have the awkward task of spelling it out for them. Again.
So faced with this situation, is it best to avoid the truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings?
I’ve said and written many things that have hurt people. Some, admittedly, intentionally. Recently, I have been careful not to lash out, or to be unnecessarily scathing, but to write the truth of my experiences. Some people find it very difficult to read. I have noticed a very definite shift in my social circles as some people find my honesty uncomfortable. At the same time, I find myself much closer to others; friends that can identify with me or understand me better. That know how to deal with me when I’m going through a hard time, because I’ve already told them. I’ve also had beautiful messages from people that I don’t know saying that they’ve been helped by my blog.
I’m much more comfortable with honest people. I like to know where I stand and that my friends feel confident in telling me so. But honesty has it’s limitations. Honesty can look a lot like cruelty when not delivered with tact and compassion. And sometimes there’s no way of knowing how it’s going to be taken. It can be very difficult to stand outside of the herd and be true to your beliefs, feelings and values. Especially when you know it’s not going to feel good to hear it. Ultimately, I think that I’ll be better off in the long run. I have friends that value my integrity and understand that it’s out of respect for my them that I choose to be honest.
“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky