Is it possible to be too honest? Is honesty really the best policy? The answer to both questions is … a definite maybe. And that’s because along with the obvious advantages, there are also disadvantages of being honest all the time.
Honesty can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, when you talk about verifiable facts, the truth is obvious.
If you were to say, “Birds have feathers,” you would be stating a truthful fact. If you were to answer the question, “Did you do that?” with the truth about your actions, you would also be stating a fact. And this is the type of honesty we all expect from ourselves and others.
But honesty gets to be tricky when you talk about opinions. Imagine that your best friend has just gotten a new hair cut that she absolutely loves. You think the cut is very unflattering. Are you honest with her about what you think or do you tell a “white lie” and spare her feelings?
Most people would choose to lie no matter how horrible they think their friend looks. That’s because it’s part of our social code. As a society, we prefer to lie about our opinions rather than say something that would hurt another’s feelings.
Yet, if you choose to be honest in situations like the one described above, you’ll experience the 4 disadvantages of being honest.
- You’ll feel annoyed when others aren’t as honest with you.When you live your life from the standpoint of total honesty, it’s natural that you would expect others to live the same way. However, in most cases you’ll be disappointed because most people will automatically adhere to the social norms of telling white lies instead of sharing their true opinions.
- Others will find you rude.When you truthfully express your opinions instead of sugar-coating things the way others expect you to, they’ll judge you to be rude.
- Others will respond to you negatively, when you honestly state your opinions without regard for their feelings.When you value sharing your honest opinion above concern for how others will react to what you say, they will usually respond with confusion, sadness, anxiety, frustration, anger, or worse.
- You’ll have fewer friends.When you make a habit of being honest all the time, you will have fewer friends. That’s because most people feel safest when they know that you’ll follow the social norms. However, the friends you do have will be those who truly love and appreciate you for being you.
As you can see, the disadvantages of being honest all the time are significant.
However, if being consistently truthful is important to you, then the drawbacks of always speaking your truth will not be important. For you, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of being honest all the time.
Please reach out and allow us to help you feel more confident (and perhaps more honest) in all your relationships including the one with yourself.