Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

I am a very straightforward person. You don't have to guess what I think or read my mind to know what my opinion is. And I appreciate this quality in others. I've always thought it was a good thing. But, is it?

Do people really want to know what you think or do they want you to agree with them and make them feel better?

I'm not talking about brutal honesty here - or insults. And I don't blurt out everything I'm thinking. But if someone asks for my opinion, I give them an honest one. If you see someone struggling with a situation, maybe they continue to make the same mistake over and over, you've listened, sympathised and finally you tell them what you really think - even though it isn't easy. Don't you owe that to people in your life?

I'm also sincere when I give a compliment. If I tell you I like your hair, your attitude or your writing. I mean it.

One weekend with my extended family, instead of telling the truth I only said nice things, things people wanted to hear. My mother asked me what was wrong with me. And my sister got frustrated because she said I was the only one she could rely on to give her an honest opinion.

What do you think? Do people really want the truth?


Annette Gallant said...

If I ask someone their opinion, I want their honesty - but I expect them to do it in a kind way.

However, some people are always fishing for compliments (I try never to do it, but I know people who do it all the time)so I don't think honesty is always the best policy in this case.

Anne MacFarlane said...

Annette, sometimes when someone asks me what I think, I ask them if they really want the truth.

Kelly Boyce said...

Most people that know me know, if they ask my opinion I'm going to give them an honest answer. If someone doesn't know me, I warn them first and ask if they really want my opinion or do they want me to tell them what they want to hear. And when I ask someone's opinion, I want their honesty. Otherwise, what's the point in asking?

Anne MacFarlane said...

Exactly Kelly.

Cat Schield said...

Great post. Your timing is interesting. My current WIP involves truth and family. I'm grappling with how much info do you share when you know it's going to upset someone in a big way? Do you tell them the truth or only what you think they can handle?

There are people around me I wouldn't offer my real opinion to if they paid me. And there are people that don't hear the truth when you say it.

And I don't usually ask people's opinion because I like the delusional world I'm living in!