truth be told

i’ve been thinking alot lately about honesty.

i pride myself on being honest…sometimes to a fault.  i just feel that if you care about someone, you should respect them enough to tell them the truth even if it might be awkward sometimes.  i don’t follow the rule religiously…i’m not a rude person, so if i’ve just met someone, or if it’s someone i know is in a fragile state, i’m careful.  i cannot stand it when people are fake or “polite” just for the sake of avoiding tension.  

i’ve had two different situations come up recently where i had good reason to lie, but i didn’t.  did i hurt feelings?  maybe initially, but i’m confident that in each situation my friend was appreciative of my being up front with them.  in both situations it was hard to tell them how i was really feeling, and i thought hard about doing it, but i still feel like it’s what i should’ve done.

i’m halfway through “The Year of Biblical Living” by A.J. Jacobs.  it’s a GREAT book but i’s taking me forever to read.  anyway, in the middle of one of my dilemmas, i read this passage about his wife running into an old friend while they were at a restaurant:

“Julie Schoenberg?” says the ponytailed woman. 

It’s an acquaintance Julie hasn’t seen since college.  Hugs are exchanged, compliments toward babies are extended, spouses introduced, mutual friends discussed. 

At the end of the meal, we get our check, and Julie’s friend says: “We should all get together and have a playdate sometime.”

“Absolutely,” says Julie.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I say.

Julie’s friend laughs nervously, not sure what to make of that.

Julie glares at me.

“You guys seem nice,” I say.  “But I don’t really want new friends right now.  So I think I’ll take a pass.” 

A few weeks ago, I read a book called Radical Honesty, which was about telling the truth in all situations.  It talks about the scary thrill of total candor, the Six Flags-worthy adrenaline rush.  I felt that.  I heard myself saying the words, but they seemed unreal, like I was in an off-Broadway production.

Julie is not glaring at me anymore.  She’s too angry to look in my direction.

“It’s just that I don’t have enough time to see our old friends, so I don’t want to overcommit,” I say, shrugging.  Hoping to take the edge off, I add: “Just being honest.”

“Well, I’d love to see you,” says Julie.  “A.J. can stay home.” 

i dont’ know that i can go this far, but it sure makes me think about how life would be if i were totally honest all the time.

so, how about you, kind post reader?  how honest are you?  also, would you prefer someone be totally honest with you or would you just like them to be “nice”?  have you ever been non-appreciative of someone’s honesty?

“In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.”  Proverbs 28:23

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4 Comments to “truth be told”

  1. i love this Katie. it actually reminded me of a letter you wrote me back in high school. i really cant remember what the letter was about but i remember we really didnt talk too much right afterwords. i really appreciated that you came to me about whatever it was (seriously i thought i would remember everything about high school…but i am 30, what can i expect). so having said that, i appreciated having such an honest friend like you!!!!

  2. I’m all for honesty if its said in the nicest possible way. I pick up my 8 month old from the nursery yesterday and the nursery worker hands her to me and says “she was bad today. she cried.”….. totally the truth — but i was caught off guard. had she said “she was a bit cranky today and cried some of the time” i would’ve taken it totally differently! 🙂 all for the truth as long as its tactful 🙂

  3. Your honesty is one of the things I love and appreciate most about you. I like to think I’ve learned to be more honest specifically because of the influence of you and Sami in my life. 🙂

    i love you!

  4. I think the key word here is “relationship”. When Jesus talked to the woman at the well, he talked to her about other things first…he didn’t call her a whore, but neither did he skirt away from mentioning he knew she’d been married four times. I think she could probably sense he deeply cared for her and knew her, so the honesty, although it may have hurt, helped her. It’s so nice to be known and I hope all of my good friends are honest in this way to me, because it’s really the only way I’ll grow.

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