When Honesty Is NOT the Best Policy

Got tact? If not get some. Now.

You are going to run into a lot of people that offend you. And I don’t mean enemies. I am talking about colleagues or even those who supposedly are your friends.

They will consistently make dismissive or insulting comments about you, or about something important to you. You will feel hurt by it, or at least irritated. But then they will guilt you into pretending you are not hurt, or that you shouldn’t be. These people will try to convince you that you have no right to be offended.

They’ll say:

“Hey, I tell it like it is. No bullshit with me. I call it exactly as I see it, and people who can’t handle that just need to stay away from me and get out of my way. Laughing at yourself is good for the soul, learn to do it.”

Translation: “I’m too bitchy to summon up the energy it takes to be civil to people, too lazy to try to understand something different, and too insecure in myself and my beliefs to just stay silent on the subject.”

Also, have you ever noticed that the people who are most proud of being able to “tell it like it is” are the very ones who are the most offended when you tell them how it is?

Don’t be this person. There is nothing noble in being frank to that degree. Sure, it may make you a few fast friends that share your propensity to make yourself the center of the known universe, but the rest of humanity will at best tolerate you, and more than likely despise you. As well they should. You should be building relationships, which is a two way street, not broadcasting that you are small minded and petty, and waiting for those that don’t mind it to show up at your doorstep.

Say whatever you want to your spouse, or within the confines of your home or your closest circle of friends. But once you step out onto the planet Earth, you are going to be dealing with literally millions of different ways to perceive this one life we have. That life is far too short to put people off by not censoring anything you say.

We are not talking about matters of conscience here. This isn’t about denying your religion, or refusing to stand against a moral wrong that you feel you have the power to bring to light. But ask yourself if telling someone that they always wear ugly sweaters, or that their stories are boring, or their boyfriend has bad teeth really rise to the level of high morality. Does your faith in God truly require you to make these sort of comments?

In the end, ask yourself if anything positive is coming out of something you are saying to another person. If you are not trying to save their life, or make them feel better about something, chances are your insults are simply expressions of fear disguised as honesty designed to aggrandize yourself. Do the world a favor and refrain.

And that’s me telling it like it is.


  1. N/A

    I get what you're saying about taking it past productive into mean, but my clients come to me because they appreciate that I don't bullshit them regarding their site redesigns or content they want to post.

    If you are just going to pay someone to tell you what you want to hear, not only will you never grow as a business but you'll never grow as a person.

    Just my two cents.

  2. Well, it's like I said, you have to weigh the situation. But for my money, when it comes to initially building relationships of any kind,(business, romantic, friendship) tact is the keyword. I know from my perspective nothing turns me off more than people who have to comment “honestly” on everything the see and perceive around them, when there is no reason to do so other than “just being honest.”

  3. N/A

    Right, I agree with you. I guess it's more people seeking me out specifically so it's kind of backwards to what you were saying. In my situation, they come to me specifically for that reason and in the situation you laid out, it's the person being a loudmouth for the primary purpose of hearing themselves talk.

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