Brutal Honesty Isn't Necessary

I learned in my early teens that I liked to surround myself around honest people. I’m the type of person who likes knowing things. If I have something stuck in my teeth? Tell me. If you think I’m in a bad relationship? Tell me. If you think I should know anything at all? Tell me. I don’t like surprises and I hate to be blindsided.

Of course, I surround myself around people who aren’t afraid, to be honest with me. One girl (whose name I will not mention to protect the guilty) was more than happy, to be honest. She was the type of person who practiced brutal honesty and was really proud of it. She once told me that if people can’t take the truth it’s their problem. It rubbed me the wrong way but I wasn’t sure why.

Six months later I realized that her version of the truth was nastiness. She told me that my hair looked bad and I should stick some product in. That I didn’t know what love was because I hadn’t been in a serious relationship. That I was too whiny. That I was too obsessive with everything I did. She was driving me completely nuts.

But I couldn’t get mad. I liked the truth and I like to know what people are thinking. I didn’t really mind that this girl was pushing me in uncomfortable discussions. But sometimes, I didn’t need her opinion on something or she would say it in a way that wasn’t helpful to me.

I realized that although I valued this girl’s honesty I didn’t like her tone. I didn’t like that she commented on things that weren’t really any of her business. Before I knew it I realized that I actually didn’t like this girl very much. Or the type of honesty she supplied me.

This girl probably cared that I was (and to be honest still am) whiny and obsessive. She had a right to say that it was bothering her. But, she didn’t have a right to tell me out of nowhere in front of a group of our friends. Nor did she have the right to act like it was a joke. What she said was honest but, it was also embarrassing and uncalled for.

I love honesty. I like honest people. But brutal honesty isn’t necessary. I want people to be kindly honest to me. I want people to be tactfully honest. I want people to be justly honest. I want people to tell me the truth. But, I don’t want them to belittle me because of it.

I once read that the thing about being brutally honest is that it’s more about brutality rather than honesty. It’s a way for people to jerks and hides behind the screen of being honest rather than face the fact that their words are hurtful. It’s unnecessary and I’d rather have someone not tell me anything rather than use the truth to hurt me.

Life is too short for lies. Life is too short to walk around in ignorance. But, it’s also too short for jerks. So if you ever want to tell someone a hard truth try to do it with kindness.