To lie or not to lie, that is the question. Should you always be honest?
Honesty is a major cornerstone of every relationship. Everyone knows that relationships built on lies will soon crumble and fall. If you can’t trust someone to tell you the truth, then you cannot trust them at all. Right?
Well, if that is true, then what would you say to someone who asks, “Should you always be honest and tell the truth in a relationship?”
The answer would seem to be yes, but then we have all been asked questions like these before:
- “Do these pants make my thighs look big?”
- “Do you like this outfit on me?”
- “Do you think I look the same as the day we met?”
Each of these questions carries the threat of hurt feelings if we answer honestly. Often we believe it is better to tell the person what they want to hear, even if that means lying to them. The facts are that when people ask that type of question, they are not looking for the truth. They are looking for affirmation.
So, setting aside those landmine-type questions, let’s tackle the larger issue of whether or not you should always be honest in a relationship. Here are my thoughts.
Honesty is Still the Best Policy
I believe that telling the truth and being honest with our friends, spouses or family members is the best of all possible actions. When people know they can trust us to tell the truth, they will be far more likely to trust us in other areas, which leads to more stable relationships. Sometimes people will not like the honest answers we give, but if at all possible, be honest.
Honesty is not the Only Option
Someone once said to me, “No one likes me because I always tell the truth.”
That sounds good, and they certainly were proud of the fact, but my response was simple. “Do you think that is the best thing to do?”
“Well, I am not in the habit of lying.”
“Is lying the only other option you have?”
What else indeed! How about saying nothing? What rule is there that says you always have to say what you are thinking? There are times when it is best just to say nothing. If you aren’t asked for an opinion, then don’t give it. If your advice is not requested, then keep it to yourself.
Honesty Is Not Always Answering the Question That is Asked
Sometimes a question is asked of us, that we would prefer not to answer. However, if not answering is not an option, then what do you do when the question asked of you is one you would prefer not to answer? Well, you could try telling the person you would honestly prefer not to answer the question, or you could try to determine why they are really asking it to begin with. Let’s take one of the questions above as an illustration. If your spouse says, “Do you think I look the same as the day we met?” You know they want to hear you say yes, but no one looks the same as the day we met them, unless we just met them yesterday.
It is important to try to determine the reason why a person asks a question. If you are not sure, simply ask, “Why are you asking me that question?” The truth is that when someone asks a question like that, they really want to know if you are still attracted to them, even though they know they have changed physically. Don’t lie to them, but seek for a way to answer the question they are really asking, rather than the one they actually asked. Something like, “If you are worried that I am no longer attracted to you, then don’t be. I love you more today than I ever have, and I don’t plan on changing my mind.”
I realize that this may be overly simplistic, and I can’t deal with every circumstance in this post, but I hope you get the idea. The one thing I don’t recommend is lying. However, I hope that you can see that there are other options available to you other than telling lies.
What do you think? Do you think it is acceptable to lie in certain circumstances within a relationship? How would you justify doing so? What are your thoughts on the advice I have given here? I realize this is a complicated topic, and I would love for you to take a moment and provide some feedback. Let me know what your thoughts are, and please…be honest!