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Honest Doesn’t Mean Tactless!

Jul 23, 2015 | Ponderables

I just saw a TV show where the murder victim didn’t have a lot of friends because of his policy of total honesty. Hardly the first time I’ve seen something like that. We often hear it’s not good to be too honest.

Well, I want to tell you something. There is no such thing as being too honest. There is such a thing as being rude. There is such a thing as being inconsiderate and hurtful. There is such a thing as saying everything that’s on your mind. There is such a thing as speaking with no internal censor.

You can be honest without being hurtful. Can we be very clear on this, please? Just because something is true doesn’t mean it has to be said! That’s just rude.

Something bothers you about someone you really don’t have to have much contact with? Guess what. Nobody cares but you! Hate your coworker’s new haircut? So what? It’s not your head. Think your friend’s girlfriend looks like a chipmunk? What good does it do to say it? It’s not like she can do anything about it.

It is not dishonest to keep those things in and not say them. It is considerate. It is kind. It is reasonable. It is polite. It’s living in society. It’s understanding that you are not the only person in the world with feelings.

The question I try to remember to ask myself before I do or say something is, “Who is helped by this?” If the answer is, “No one,” I probably don’t do/say it. If the answer is no one is helped, but no one is hurt either, I may go ahead with it.

If you really feel absolutely compelled to let your friend know that color is really awful on her, find a way to say it so it is helpful, not hurtful. There’s always a way. I mean, come on. Isn’t that the way you want people to treat you?

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