“Just be honest“. While everybody says it, nobody really means it all the time.
While honesty is always the best policy, it’s not always the most sensitive policy. So we lie – to get out of trouble, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to make ourselves feel better. And we all support these lies. When a girl asks, “does my butt look big in these jeans” she doesn’t want a yes or no. She wants a complement, she wants to be told she is attractive; that wasn’t the question. Honestly? Your butt looks big in everything you wear – you have a big butt! That’s not to say it’s unattractive, the question was answered honestly. Asking “does this outfit look good?” or “do I look pretty?” may have elicited a different response.
When the waiter asks if everything is alright, because I’ve spent years in the service industry, I say yes. After spending the last 5 minutes complaining about my food to my companion, when asked I don’t want to trouble them. Like I called their home to complain about it? – this is their job! When invited to eat food that I don’t eat, I claim to have already eaten and pray, hope and beg my stomach not to expose me as there is no way in hell I am going to eat the pickled pig’s feet parmesan on the table. When a client’s tastes have appalled me, instead of saying “did you come to work on the short bus?” I say, “That’s a great idea, I’ve also noticed xyz positively affects sales”. Honest? Of course not, I think their idea is counterproductive (read:stupid).
I got to thinking about honesty when a soul naÃ¯ve as Bambi asked me what I was thinking. Just how crazy are you? Never, ever, for the love of all that is holy ask me what I am thinking! If I am not talking – LUCKY YOU! But I sounded the warning bell anyway:
“Honestly?” RUUUUUN! IT’S COMING!!!
Nooo! Poor guy, he will be sorely missed.
Seriously though, I was honest; not brutally, but deeply. It freaked him out. Should I have held some back? Maybe (Mom says, “Don’t let all the crazy out at once”). Is holding back honest? No (â€¦ and he already knows I’m nuts). Did he really want honest? No, again. He wanted me to tell him only as much as he wanted to hear. He wanted me to tell him if his butt looked big (figuratively, to round out the analogy- not literally!) but not exactly how big.
The difference between telling the truth and not being dishonest is semantic at best. So do everyone a favour, when asking someone to “be honest”, make sure you really want the honest answer before putting them in a position to lie to you. Lying doesn’t make the liar feel good. It’s stressful memorising flashcards of lies you’ve told and to whom. It doesn’t feel any better to find out you’ve been lied to.
Or you can try my trick: Let all the crazy out at once. That way, whether you are honest or not is moot. You’re just crazy and cannot be held accountable!
Foxy thinks your butt looks great! But to be honest, she would really appreciate you removing your backpack on the metro and other close quarters.