IS HONESTY THE BEST POLICY ?

The scene is of a dining room. The hostess has painstakingly prepared an experimental dish which she serves to her guests. The guests comprise of a lady and her children. The guests eagerly taste her creation.

Hostess : “So, what do you think ?”

Lady : “Umm..It’s not quite working for me actually.”

The children look on wide-eyed at their dialogue and say nothing.

Later that day, on returning home.

Child 1 : “Why did you tell her that you didn’t like her dish straight to her face?”

Lady : “Because that’s how I really felt about it.”

Child 1 : “Wasn’t that impolite ? You probably hurt her feelings.”

Child 2 : “Wouldn’t it have been better if you’d appreciated the dish and her efforts even if that meant lying ?”

This scene brings certain questions to the fore.

Was the Lady really wrong in expressing her frank opinion ? Is it alright to lie just to spare someone’s feelings ? Would the Hostess be better off with false praise ? Will honest criticism help her refine the dish or dampen her confidence in the long run ?

I’m the kind of person who is brutally honest about my feelings and opinions. I strive to sincerely express what I think about others and I actually like it this way. But every now and then I’m chided by for being too blunt. The following conversation is one I’ve had numerous times.

“You shouldn’t have said that”

Me : “Why ?”

“You just shouldn’t have !”

The general complaint for my affliction of truthfulness is that it upsets people and often comes across as rude. But wouldn’t they like to know what I really think ? Wouldn’t they benefit from constructive criticism? Wouldn’t they like to know where they’re going wrong ? Has being fake become the way of life now, the acceptable thing to do?

honesty 2
Photo Credit: kygp via Compfight cc

I have seen people who candidly confess their feelings (both positive and negative) regarding a certain someone to EVERYONE ELSE except the person concerned. Sometimes they behave in a completely different way in front of them and flip one-eighty when they’re not around. Shouldn’t these feelings be discussed with the person concerned ? Won’t being deceitful will hamper relationships in the long run ?

What if I was the person concerned and people talked about me behind my back ?

I would like to know how a person really feels about me. I personally, would like everybody to tell me the ugly truth rather than raise my expectations by innovating pretty lies. It’s better in the long run. I wouldn’t want to live a life that was an illusion, confined in a little bubble of lies. I want to be at peace with the supreme reality. It’s funny how everyone wants to know the truth, but nobody’s willing to say it.

Whenever I’ve lied in the past, it’s been like a burden placed upon my head. Being transparent gives me satisfaction as I’m not deceiving anyone, not even myself. But, the downside to being transparent though, is that sometimes you’re too straightforward with people in the first meeting itself, raised eyebrows and shocked expressions are guaranteed. Having said that, I would like to add – being frank does not imply giving a free reign to malice and constructing words for the sole purpose of wounding someone’s feelings.

We’ve always heard how “Honesty is the best policy” during our formative years. Kids are extremely open about their opinions. They say that : When a man says something cruel to you he’s being mean. When a woman says something negative about you she’s just jealous BUT when a kid says something, it’s most definitely true.

So why not make it a Moral Code- To say what is true !

Agree or Disagree (Its completely your call) ? Be honest and tell me what you think ! 😉

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2 thoughts on “IS HONESTY THE BEST POLICY ?

  1. Honesty is the best policy with people who can hear it. Many times people have a habit of blowing things out of proportion. And then it’s more effort in bringing things back to line. Imagine in your example, if at the lady’s reply the hostess says “Oh you think you can cook better? I put in so much effort and you don’t appreciate it” and starts crying. It’s an equally likely scenario to her saying “Oh, what went wrong? How do I fix it?”. But is the risk of going through the emotional drama worth that truth? In our busy lives, where time is low and patience even lower, Honesty needs to be carefully delivered, if at all.

    The same with discussing your feelings about someone with others. It is not as much a reflection on the person speaking as it is on the person spoken about. If people who know you cannot be honest with you, then it’s time to introspect and find out why.

    • Thank you for stopping by and taking out the time to share your opinion 🙂

      I agree completely with the fact that some people take honest criticism to heart and the drama that ensues is not what we bargained for.
      Perhaps this low tolerance has resulted in everyone being diplomatic. Which works for mere acquaintances but doesn’t with people close to us. We can’t pretend with them and frankly should not even try to !

      Having said that, One must also be prepared to take what one readily dishes out !

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