from experts in the field:
from an expert in the field:
Author Jonathan Wells is the founder of AdvancedLifeSkills.com, and a
professional Breakthrough Strategy Coach.
opinions expressed are
those of the individuals or
and are presented to
foster discussion. Costco
and The Costco Connection
take no position on any
Should we rethink
the rating system for
television and film?
IS THERE A WAY to be
honest without being rude
and boorish and harming
relationships at work and at
home? I think the answer is
yes. Here’s how.
Say a co-worker asks,
“What do you think about the Smith project?”
Well, deep down you know that the Smith project
is a bad idea and is going nowhere. Should you say
exactly that, or something a little more diplomatic?
Wouldn’t being honest here hurt, alienate or anger
your co-worker, damaging your relationship and
chilling future initiative?
Instead, consider this response: “I can see that
you are really passionate about this project and I
admire that, but to be honest, I have a few concerns.
For example, have you considered how you will
address (solve, get around, etc.) this possible roadblock (issue, challenge, bottleneck, etc.)?
This approach allows you to be honest and
look out for the welfare of your co-worker without
hurting his feelings. Now he can rethink his
approach and address possible deficiencies because
you cared enough to provide honest feedback.
Or take, for example, a more personal situa-
tion. When a concerned husband senses that his
wife is troubled, he might ask, “What’s wrong?” A
common response in this situation is “Nothing.”
Does that mean that nothing is wrong, or does
it mean that something is wrong but she’s not will-
ing to talk about it? Her body language is telling
him there’s a problem, but her words are saying
something else. This is both confusing and frustrat-
ing, especially when an honest response could actu-
ally help deepen the relationship.
If she’s not ready to discuss the problem she
could say, “I am working through something right
now, but I’m not ready to talk about it.” He’s no longer confused and she hasn’t resorted to dishonesty.
Is this approach more work than being dishonest? Maybe at first, until you train yourself to honor
the other person with your honesty. But in the long
run it promotes trust and respect, which are truly
valuable qualities in any relationship.
I believe that good communication skills and
discernment make fibbing obsolete. Worst-case
scenario, if you can’t find a kind way to be honest
you simply opt not to answer the question. The
psychological and ethical effects of dishonesty are
inseparable. When you violate your personal code
of ethics (which for most people includes being
honest) it creates inner conflict. This conflict
between what you believe and what you do undermines a sense of self-worth and the ability to trust
others. In the long run, these factors will diminish
the quality of your relationships and, by extension,
the very quality of your life. C
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March 18, 2014. results
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Fran Childress (
http://insightfully-yours.com) is a social worker and
LITTLE WHITE LIES to
spare the feelings of others
are generally considered
harmless. Most of us tell
those little white lies to our
friends, co-workers and
family, not to hide any
wrongdoings or to be malicious but out of sincerely good intentions.
From the time people start their day to the
time they go to bed, they spontaneously tell little
white lies by praising their children, telling their
partners how awesome they are or giving a co-worker or friend a trifling compliment.
Most children thrive when given positive reinforcement in the form of white lies. Although a
recent study published in Psychological Science
suggests inflated praise appears to backfire with
children who have low self-esteem, most experts
advise caregivers to encourage children without
using blatant over-the-top lies. For example, if
your child is proud of herself because she made her
own bed but it is not exactly the way you would
have made it, practice the white lie technique.
“Good job” or “well done” are encouraging words
when you know the child did the best she could.
The work environment is also a place where
brutal honesty is not recommended. It is consid-
ered rude to offer your honest opinion on issues
such as co-workers’ appearance or even job accom-
plishments. You may not agree with how they fin-
ish a job or the way they choose to dress, but this
is where those little white lies can circumvent hurt
feelings. Being too honest may lean toward intimi-
dation and/or possibly verge on what could be
considered bullying behaviors. It is more impor-
tant to keep a good rapport with the people you
work with than to be completely honest.
This approach applies with friends, as well.
You may think your friend’s newborn baby is not
too attractive, but it is not OK to verbalize that
thought, even if you are asked. If you have to, lie
or find something positive to say (e.g., “Your baby
has beautiful eyes”).
Finally, but most important, remember that
whatever is said to a partner cannot be unsaid.
Once an honest opinion leaves a person’s mouth,
the damage is done. Insensitive comments
excused as “just being honest” could haunt the
other person for the rest of his or her life.
Sometimes giving an honest answer is warranted, but for trivial matters when it would only
create hurt feelings, it is not recommended. Is it
really necessary to be brutally honest and say “yes”
when your partner asks if those jeans make her
backside look big? C