Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't be honest with me

Someone was just honest with me. Brutally honest, in fact. The person who was honest was a client and said that he felt he owed it to me to be candid. Maybe that is how he felt - he is just one of those people who has no sense of humor and no time for any kind of nonsense. As a result, he seems to be in a perpetually sour mood. In my opinion, I think he was just angry and was using "honesty" as a weapon.

I am not a fan of honesty. Not to say that I enjoy being lied to, but I do not like unpleasant facts being thrown at my head like rocks. I suppose that in the military or police force, or in situations when lives and limbs hang in the balance, there really is little time for nonsense and humor. But for the rest of us, and in 95% of normal situations, life is far too short to be lived "honestly."

Most people understand this, because this false honesty is used too often as an insult. Telling someone that they're fat is not a good idea, even if you really are concerned for their health. Comments on someone's poor clothing and style choices are similarly delicate. Presumably the fashion victim would be happy to know that tee-shirts with large wolf graphics are not really as appealing as they may think they are, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about delivering that message. Honesty is the wrong way. Bad breath and body odor are two more great examples - it's a good idea to let the olfactory offender know the discomfort (and maybe disgust) that they are causing those in the immediate vicinity, but a simple "You stink" or "do you ever brush your teeth?" is not the way to go about it.

If you are in a rush and don't have time to beat around someone's feelings, then the subject is better left to someone with more time on their hands. And sometimes things are better left unsaid. All of this may sound strange coming from this blog - I am an undeniable misanthrope, and find many amazing new ways to find fault with people. But I air those feelings here, and not in public. My coworker who sings loudly in the hall annoys the shit out of me but I don't talk to her about it because it's petty and mean. I have friends and family (mostly family) who have conservative political and social views, which I consider to be a character flaw, but we find ways to steer clear of those topics.

Maybe I just dislike conflict. But doesn't everybody?

1 comment:

miriamt said...

I am skeptical of this "honesty"too. Primarily as it is delivered as though it were a fact...a truth when it is only a forcible pinion and nothing more. When some one says "You are fat...I'm just being honest with you." What he is actually doing is saying "In my opinion you are fat. And I feel better bout my own self-loathing if I make you feel inferior by me pointing out that you have a greater body mass than I do."

The best answer is "So what?"