I used to be quite candid, but over the past year I’ve noticed that I try much harder to not step on toes. This has resulted in more stress, more gossiping to friends instead of addressing issues, and less of seeing what should happen, happen. I jumped at the chance to try being radically honest for a week, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!
To start, I set some parameters for myself:
No saying anything mean. Things that may not be what the listener wants to hear are fine, but nothing that will hurt feelings or constitute as teasing. Also, when talking to someone about another person, don’t say anything that I wouldn’t say to that person’s face.
Complete honesty. No “little white lies,” no stretching the truth.
When appropriate (no interrupting people or using this as an excuse to break the first parameter), say exactly what’s on my mind and make sure to voice my own opinions. This means standing up for myself or others, or otherwise saying what I think even if I’m not asked (again, as long as it’s an appropriate situation).
After testing this out for a week, here are the three main things I figured out this week!
We tell more white lies than we realize.
It wasn’t until this week that I realized that saying “I don’t know,” “I’m fine,” or “It doesn’t matter” can quite often be teeny tiny white lies. Of course they aren’t lies most of the time, but how many times have we said we’re okay when we’re really falling apart? I really noticed this when a friend asked me why I like LinkedIn so much, and I almost replied with “Idk.” I didn’t go into crazy details, but I did give a few sentences on why it’s one of my favorite social sites.
What I learned is that saying something doesn’t matter to you when it does or that you don’t know when you do leads to a lot of self-doubt and lowering of your self-esteem. You don’t have to give someone an hour-long lecture when they ask you a question, but actually saying what you’re thinking is really very freeing!
Asking for what you want works sometimes!
Lately, I’ve been the kind of person that meekly says something, and then complains when it doesn’t work out how I want it to. At a work meeting, I did the opposite. When a Twitter strategy was being implemented, I chimed in that I didn’t think it worked for the company and that I thought it was too click-baity. It worked, and we all ended up compromising on a new strategy that’s worked out great!
Related: 6 Ways to Get What You Want at Work
What I learned is that one of us will always get what we want, but politely chiming in that you don’t like the color T-shirt your service group wants to order can never hurt!
Standing up feels absolutely incredible.
There were several incidents where I essentially told people that they needed to get off their high horses. Actually, I literally told them to do that!
Three instances occurred when three girls (all over 17) tried to shame other girls for cursing—specifically saying “damn.” Yep, a word allowed on any radio station in the U.S.—meaning you could walk into a Target and hear it. In every case, I reminded them of just that—and that in the real world, if it’s not around kids or in a professional situation, you can’t tell someone what to say. And it felt great! In none of those situations were the girls that were “cursing” being inappropriate, and I was tired of people deeming themselves morally superior for choosing to say “dang” instead. There’s nothing wrong with choosing not to curse, just like there’s nothing wrong with saying “damn” when you drop your car keys.
Another moment like this came when a girl was ranting about how ugly she thinks stretched ears are and how her body is a temple—right in front of someone with stretched ears. No one said anything until I pointed out that no one with stretched ears cares if hers aren’t—why does she care if other people choose to make their piercings a few sizes bigger?
What I learned through this is that issues like this can be tricky, but if someone else is voicing their opinion on something, don’t be scared to say something you feel needs to be said—or to stand up for someone or something you believe in.
At the end of the week, I felt great being more candid! I subconsciously reminded myself that I am worth being heard—and I think I avoided stepping on toes as much as possible! It can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to say what you’re thinking, but overall it’s worth it to figure it out. I may fall back into my habit of saying “I’m fine” when I’m really not—but overall I’m going to try to keep up with this honesty thing because it truly is the best policy!