Let’s face it, ya’ll, being honest with people is a skill. Very few of us can do “honest” in a way that is loving. And “I’m just being honest” is not an excuse for when you hurt someone’s feelings. We’ve all been on the end of someone who uses a “truth bomb” as a cover to just rip us, and we’ve all been on the other side, where we are the ones being honest in perhaps not a great way.
I really do think being honest is the only way to have real relationships, but the trick is being honest in a way that is gentle and not brutal. Sometimes this means giving people the truth when no one else will and sometimes this means keeping your mouth shut. There are times when certain things just don’t need to be said.
Honesty is important because it relates to trust. If your friends can count on you to be the one person in their life that tells it straight, they will appreciate you all the more. But there is fine line between honesty and rudeness.
Being Gently Honest When Your Opinion Is Asked For
When your friend asks for your opinion, you have the choice in answering in a way that is brutal or in a way that is loving. And usually when they ask you for your advice or opinion, it is because they need to hear the truth. But sometimes friends aren’t ready to listen to that truth, either. If you are good friends with someone, they want to protect you from harsh words and maybe even their own stupid actions. Questions about their clothes, their partner, or something else important to them mean that they might be doubting their choices and they are counting on you to provide the answer that they cannot admit to themselves.
Being Gently Honest When You Want to Protect Someone
I’ve had experience in telling someone the truth when they couldn’t see it themselves, and most of the time this has been met with appreciation. My friends know I don’t want them to be hurt (not from me or from anyone else) and generally, they have thanked me when I was honest with them. But it’s a fine line. I know I’ve probably hurt some feelings too when I’ve been honest. The times that friends have appreciated my honesty are when I take time to deliver the words in a gentle way with love. I usually have to pray ahead of time and get myself in the right mindset. (Praying first is always a good idea, right?)
There are times when I’ve hurt someone’s feelings and then feel horrible and apologize, and if our friendship is solid this actually brings us closer.
I remember dating a really awful guy years and years ago, and literally everyone I introduced him to hated him. He was a scoundral. Everyone saw it but me. My friends told me he was no good. But I had to come to the conclusion on my own. Sometimes, it’s like that.
Being a Sounding Board For Your Friend
Your friends don’t want you to lie to them, but they also don’t need you to lay your negative opinions on them. There is a balance between honestly and just blurting out words that can harm and linger for years to come. Check yourself to make sure you respond to your friend without jealousy or anger, which can also add to brutal honesty rather than gentle honesty.