On knowing when to speak…


I don’t believe this. Not for one second. I used to think honesty was the best policy, but then I had some really painful, really honest things happen to me and I just can’t get on board with this anymore.

There are just some times when honesty isn’t going to do anyone any good. Sure, these instances are few and far between, but they exist. I assure you, they exist.

I can think of a million ways I’d like to be honest with people, to tell them what I really think, but I’m learning to take some steps back and consider: is what I’m about to say beneficial? Is it kind? Is it worthwhile? Is.It.True? If what I want to say doesn’t meet those requirements, it’s probably best to stop and think about it for a hot minute.

People don’t always need honesty. Sometimes, I think it’s better to be kind.

But even as I write this, I’m not sure I buy it.

Here’s what I think the problem is: Honesty gets confused with truth. And vice versa. The two are not the same. Speaking the truth comes with it the responsibility of speaking with love and kindness. Being honest? I don’t know…people can be really awful when they’re being honest. It’s a really easy way to cop out and say something horrible with the tag of, “I’m just being honest.” It doesn’t make it not hurtful.

Sure, hearing the truth can hurt, too. A lot. But if someone is really interested in telling the truth, it’s often coming from a place of understanding, of reasonability, of care.

So the next time you think you’re about to say something honest, stop and consider if it’s also true.


3 thoughts on “On knowing when to speak…

  1. I’m reminded of a checklist Craig Ferguson used in one of his stand-up routines:
    * Does this need to be said?
    * Does this need to be said _by me_?
    * Does this need to be said by me _now_?

  2. Very well said! Honestly and truth really are two different concepts and people can very easily hide behind the proclamation ‘I was just being honest’ when they know they were just being mean

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