Written by Cassandra MacKinnon
Honesty – Free of deceit, truthful and sincere.
To be honest means many different things, truthful, sincere, candid, frank, direct, open, genuine, blunt just to name a few.
Honesty, in a relationship, can move mountains, sometimes it moves mountains so the path is clear and unhindered, other times it can move mountains in front of you, that you end up having to climb. But when you get to the top, you get the view that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Honesty is also a ticking time bomb, you could ruin someones relationship, a best friends party, let alone destroy a relationship that you helped create.
It does take skill and finesse to learn the boundaries of “how honest is too honest”, and to factor in that every relationship is different. Not only our romantic relationships, but our family relationships and our friendships. For example, what one friend may be happy to know, another may balk and frown at.
Being completely truthful is impossible
Honesty, truthfulness to it’s full extent, I personally, do not think is obtainable. There are many social surroundings where you will be asked to keep information. Information which may not be yours to share. Times where what you think, you really should keep to yourself. We do not go walking around saying every thought that passes through our mind. We analyse and process that information, and refine it. Being completely honest would mean walking around constantly sprouting whatever we think. Once you come to the understanding that full honesty isn’t obtainable, you can start to understand of honesty as a whole.
Choose when to be honest
Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, there is a time and a place for honesty. Telling your partner that they look hideous in a new outfit, moments before wanting to leave, is admittedly bad timing. Great that you were honest, but there is always a time and a place, and a way to approach certain subjects that are more sympathetic to others.
I tend to take a moment to conclude if this is the best time, the best place. If it is something sensitive in nature, I like to organise to meet them, one on one. This may be out in a neutral area, with little to no passers by. Your house, or even after the kids go to bed and are soundly asleep, so you won’t be interrupted. Turn your phone on silent, and give space to discuss whatever it is that has been worrying or upsetting, or even a secret that you need to discuss.
Choose who to be honest to
Everyone is different, and the level of honesty that you have with one friend may not be extendable to another.
Being truthful about some of the big things can take time, finding the right words, and a moment where you and the person you are talking to are as comfortable as you can be. But don’t take too long; as leaving a topic or subject for days on end, can slowly start eating you away, or you may forget about it until it comes back around to blow up in your face.
This is where I see that selection and integrity come into play. Integrity itself is the qualifications of being honest and having strong moral principles. Integrity is often an internal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards. Those standards are part of the selection process.
Selection is the action or fact of carefully choosing someone or something as being the best or most suitable. Often who we can trust, or who trusts us, has a lot to do with who we will choose to divulge certain information to. We trust that others won’t speak about our honest opinions or thoughts we have shared with them.
Secrets and Honesty can co-exsist
There are times where keeping information is understandable and even encouraged. I, personally, have had many relationships over the years, where selective behavior was the norm. Where it felt good that it was only for me and someone else to know, and that I was part of a select group. It does fall under the umbrella of secrets,information that we keep to ourselves, and that’s okay. Honesty isn’t the absence of secrets, it isn’t the opposite of secrets either. Being truthful, in my opinion, is knowing when to apply integrity and selection to the information that we keep. But I warn you to be careful, and understand that secrets are okay, so long as it is information that over a period of time, you would be happy to share and or laugh about.
Some things that we want to say, may have nothing to do with whether we are being “honest”. All of us, as humans, face moments where we are frustrated and upset, and want to hurt the other person. These moments, where we are blunt and cruel with our honesty, happen to all of us, at one point or another. I’d like to advise caution, something said in the heat of the moment can bring clarity, but said in anger, it can also be painful and hard to forget, even if the person who said it clarifies, or says it isn’t true.
Building an honest relationship
Honest relationships can be difficult to grow if they didn’t start out that way.
I want to shake my head because I have been caught in this trap too many times to count. Not voicing how you feel, can lead to numerous, headache inducing, issues.
Have a read of the (article above) to get a sense for setting up an honest relationship.