Ever since I was a kid, my parents and teachers used to tell me that “honesty is the best policy”.
We all have heard this phrase while growing up and just like all of you, I also believed it. Though, when I was in a relationship, I realized that there are different rules about honesty for adults. I have always been an honest guy and I don’t know the art of manipulating the truth. Sadly, I learned the hard way that too much honesty in a relationship can be catastrophic.
I have recently come out of a serious relationship and one of the reasons behind our breakup (yes, you have guessed it right) was honesty. As surprising as it might sound, the foundation of a relationship is not always built on trust and honesty. Sometimes, we need to act smart and play around the truth in order to avoid an argument or please our partner.
Since the bitter experience of my last breakup made me realize how too much honesty in your relationship can backfire, I don’t want you all to make the same mistake. I thought of contemplating a bit and coming up with a few instances in which being honest might not be the best policy.
How can too much honesty in a relationship be catastrophic?
If you will always be too honest with your significant other, then chances are that you might end up hurting them quite often. If you don’t believe me, then think of these instances.
- If your partner is overly invested in something
Okay – this is something I can say from a personal experience. My ex was overly invested in her startup that was not going anywhere. While I appreciated her work, we both knew that she was bad at managing her finances. Since I wanted to help her, I told her the same without any filter. Well, my honesty did take a toll on our relationship as I came out as an unsupportive partner.
If you are going through something similar, then I would not recommend being so direct to your partner. There are times when we get overly attached or invested in something and we just can’t let it go. Even though we know we are doing wrong, we don’t want it to be heard – particularly not from our loved ones. Wait for the right time or let them learn from their own mistakes.
- When being honest can hurt your partner
This is undoubtedly the most prominent scenario when too much honesty in your relationship can be a bad thing. I can think of so many instances when I hurt the people around me (or even when I got hurt by someone else) purely out of honesty.
It doesn’t matter if it is a small comment or a major observation, if you know your words will hurt your partner, you should certainly think again. Consider your partner asking you how they look when they are wearing a new outfit. Even if that color doesn’t look best on them, chances are that your honest comment might upset them.
I know that was just a small thing. The truth is that there are thousands of times when we need to play around what we think to please our partner. And you know what – there is nothing wrong with that if it makes them happy.
- It’s all about the right timing!
At the end of the day, it all comes down to this – is this the right time for you to be so honest? To understand this, you need to think from the perspective of your partner. What if you have a big day at work or you are in the middle of your commute and your partner tells you out of the blue that they don’t feel happy in the relationship anymore.
I’m not saying that you should refrain from being honest all the time. Nevertheless, make sure that it is the right place and the right time.
- Are you being honest or rude?
If you are an honest person like me, then you can certainly understand this dilemma. A lot of times, people perceive honesty as rudeness.
Let’s suppose your significant other cooked a meal for you that didn’t turn out to be so well. If you are an honest person, then you will simply tell them what you didn’t like it and how it can be better. It doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate their efforts or that you didn’t like the meal at all. Nevertheless, your partner might think of it as a rude comment and that can end up in a fight.
I know it sounds way too real as it happened with me as well. The best way to resolve this is by preventing too much honesty in your relationship. Also, you can consider sugarcoating things a bit so that it won’t hurt your partner.
- When you are drawing direct comparisons
There are times when we end up hurting our partner unintentionally by simply comparing them to someone else. Even if they have initiated a conversation or asked you to make a choice, never speak your heart out without thinking of its repercussion. Trust me – it can be a trap. Sometimes, people just want to feel valued in a relationship. Never be too honest in a relationship while making comparisons. Even if you have to give them an affirmative answer, pick your significant other. Always.
- When other people are involved
Sometimes, too much honesty in your relationship can end up hurting a third person as well. For instance, if your significant other has introduced you to their family or friends and you didn’t like their behavior, then you don’t have to let them know about it right there. Simply wait for the right moment.
Similarly, if you think that anyone else is involved in an argument and your honest reply can change its trajectory, then you need to be extremely cautious. Even if there is a drift in your relationship, try to get it resolved on your own and avoid involving anyone else. By being too honest, you might end up hurting a lot of people at once.
How to be honest without being brutal or rude?
If you are fundamentally an honest person and can’t alter the truth, then you need to learn how too much honesty in your relationship can be a bad thing. Too often, honesty is perceived as rudeness. To avoid brutal honesty, I would recommend following these suggestions.
- Don’t be too direct or blunt
This is the most important rule of communicating in any relationship. Yes, it might sound confusing, but you should avoid being too direct to your partner all the time. Sometimes, it is better to simply give those subtle hints and let your partner read between the lines. Even if you are being honest, try to say it in such a way that you won’t come out as rude or heartless.
- Clear your intentions
Even if your heart is in the right place, chances are that you can hurt the people around you with your brutal honesty at times. To avoid this, you need to let them know about your intentions.
For instance, if you and your significant other are planning to go on a hiking expedition and you know they are not wearing the right shoes, then you should be honest. Though, when you let them know about it, clear your intentions. Say something like “While these shoes are great, we have to walk a lot and I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable after a few hours.”
- Think of the consequences
This is something that every individual should take care of while saying anything to the people around them. Remember, your words can trigger a series of actions and you should always think of the consequences beforehand. If you know that by being honest you will hurt your partner, then it might not be the right thing to do. Before you say anything, filter things quickly and don’t say anything that can cause more harm than good to your relationship.
- Change your perspective
At the end of the day, you won’t be able to understand how too much honesty in your relationship can harm things until you change your perspective. Take a step back and try to walk in the shoes of your partner. How will it make you feel if your partner is brutally honest all the time? I want you to really think it through and you will certainly have your answers.
- It’s all about the right words (and how you say them)
Even if your intentions are good, if you won’t say it politely, your honesty can break someone else’s heart. Remember, it is all about the words that we use and how we say them. Let’s consider an example. Instead of saying “You are not looking good in this red dress”, try something like “While this dress is looking great, why not try that blue dress now – it makes your eyes pop.”
Okay – I’m not saying that you have to be dishonest all the time and that honesty is dead. All I’m trying to convey is that sometimes too much honesty in a relationship can be devastating. Be honest and transparent with your partner when it comes to the big things. Though, you should also learn the art of molding the truth so that you won’t hurt your partner with your brutal honesty. Try to remove the brutality and rudeness from it, and you are good to go!
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