“Is it ok if we lied to protect the feelings of the other person? Or should we just tell the truth and hurt?”
How would you react when someone asks your opinion about a new a shirt which you find totally disgusting? Or how about that new hairstyle which, in your opinion, is suited better on a mop than on crop of a head?
Most people lie to save themselves from potentially awkward positions or problems. However, more prevalent in our daily lives are we confronted with the question on whether we should let others in on the brutal truth or to save ourselves from hurting another person’s feelings, especially if he/she comes with you in high spirits!
Faced with the above situation, there is a tendency for us to choose and rationalize the ‘white lie’. Unfortunately, the problem with lying is that we often require another lie to cover up the previous one. Secondly, by building up ‘untruths’, we also compromise our integrity and put our trustworthiness at risk, among other things. These three reasons alone are sufficient at putting you at unease. The long term effects are far worse, as constant lying not only blurs how trustworthy you are to others, but more importantly how trustworthy are you to yourself. Seriously, does it really feel to go through your days constantly doubting yourself and every decision you make, every minute and every second of your life? Personally, I’m not really keen on that prospect. And I’m pretty sure most of you aren’t either.
So here’s the good news: The truth need not hurt! And I’m here to show you today how it’s done. It’s a technique I call: Sincere Appreciation.
2) Wllingness to see the positive side of things
Most people confuse honesty with “brutal honesty”. There is a difference between the following:
1) “I can’t believe you spent $99 on that new shirt! I think it’s totally disgusting” ;
2) “You bought a new shirt? WOW [Yucks!] I think it looks [disgusting] great on you!” and;
3) “I see you’ve bought a new shirt! It looks expensive! But I somehow I think that green one which you wore to work the other day looks better on you!”
Can you see the difference? The first one was brutal honesty. It was said without regard for the recipient’s feelings. The problem with it is that it hurt’s the recipient’s feelings… and nobody likes to be hurt. Do you?
The second one was flattery. It was said just to make the recipient feel good ONLY! The problem with it is that, besides incorporating the problems of lying which were discussed earlier, those words really reflect the lack of substance of the flatterer [EMPTY WORDS!]… it’s only a matter of time before the flatterer will be exposed by the truth. As the saying goes, “one may fool some people some of the time, but one cannot fool everybody all of the time.” Imagine how flat one would look when 99 people tell the truth, and only 1 person told the lie. Who loses?
Now the third reaction was one crafted out of love. It’s one that embraces the truth and tempers it with kindness and regard for the recipients’ feelings. It displays a willingness to see the truth and positives: the extravagent price of the new shirt, and honest preference for an older alternative, both of which are really compliments to the owner’s wealth and taste respectively! In any case, both the opinion provider and the owner are able to revel in the joy and avoid any potential hurt and awkwardness of the truth.
Thus in using the technique of Sincere Appreciation, there’s a higher tendency for all parties to come out winners!
Try it! And let me know how it goes!