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Tuesday, 13 December 2011 22:34

Is Honesty REALLY the best...?

I've been described as blunt and insensitive - although rarely to my face, which I find a bit annoying.  As a teenager, I had a tendency to attempt to engage people in debates whether they liked it or not.  This meant I would state a strong opinion and wait for a reaction.

I've grown up since then, and I realize that not everyone likes to debate, and I even tend to shy away from debates myself since I have discovered that stating honest opinions can permanently damage friendships. 

I recently had a friend approach me about her new 'business' (opinion alert) - you know the type, the companies that sell a particular kind of product at high prices but no one seems to actually buy the product except the people who are supposed to be selling it? So the point of being a salesperson is not to plug the product as much as to plug SELLING the product.  The whole thing seems strange and uncomfortable to me, but I readily admitted that I knew nothing about this particular company and agreed to check out her catalog and to do some research before making any judgement calls. 

So I did a few Google searches and did some Wikipedia browsing and discovered all I needed to know to know that I wanted to run as far away as possible from this particular company.  This put me in the difficult position of approaching my friend about it.  Now, I'm not a fan of evasiveness.  To simply not mention the issue until it comes up, and then skirt around it as much as possible is cowardly and stupid.  If you really believe something - make sure you are really certain about WHY you believe something - that's why I like to do research, and then find a way to truthfully and tactfully vocalize it to the person it affects. 

I want to note here, that I completely realize that the internet is not necessarily the greatest tool of research, and can have a lot of bad information. What I realized about the company was how it is viewed by the general population.  It was my feeling that I did not want to associate myself with the public's perspective, just as I would not feel comfortable working for a company that was widely perceived as being highly unethical. 

So, I had to approach my friend about my disinterest in her business.  I realize that email and letter writing may seem cowardly, and maybe it is, but I've found that if I can write out my thoughts and read them over again to myself I can be sure that I am saying what I need to without coming across as insulting which I sometimes do when I'm speaking.  I've found it to most often be a safer way to communicate.  I wrote her an email.  She hasn't responded in over a week.

Maybe it is just because it's Christmas, and she's busy, but I may be leaving one more person in the line of friends in my 'Honesty Wake'.

Consider this scenario.  You are in a relationship with a person who is BAD for you.  Not so bad that he/she beats you or steals from you or tells nasty lies about you behind your back, but just generally treats you badly.  He/she controls what you do and who you hang out with, maybe he/she has a bit of a spending habit but gets really angry with you for spending any money on yourself.  Maybe he/she is a mean person, or maybe your personalities are just really incompatible - like, if you are the kind of person to give until it hurts, and this person takes without even thinking about it, or appreciating it. 

Would you want your closest friends to tell you the truth? 

My answer to this is a resounding YES!!!!

When my husband and I were dating, I had previously been in a BAD relationship and had learned that when you are in a relationship you don't always see it very clearly, so I asked EVERYONE what they thought of my relationship with my new boyfriend.  I asked my parents.  I asked all of my friends - and I made them promise to tell me the truth.  I asked our pastors and leaders in the church.  His family was quite against our relationship and actually went to great lengths to ensure that we ended it, and although I was quite certain they were mistaken on a number of points, I couldn't shake the memory of my situation with my previous boyfriend.  My previous boyfriend's mom was feeding my new boyfriend's parents information, which made the situation so much more complicated, but that's beside the point.  And because I knew they COULD be right, I had to double check that no one else agreed with them.

Now, if my relationship with him was also bad, and none of my family or friends had the guts to tell me the truth, I would have felt completely abandoned when I discovered the truth for myself.  I honestly would have felt as though my family and friends didn't care enough for my happiness to make sure I didn't get into something that might make me miserable for the rest of my life. 

A few years back, I lost a friend to a situation like this - I think, anyway, she never actually told me why she stopped speaking to me.  She became involved with and married a person who was actually a lot like me, so his weaknesses were glaring to me.  She was the kind of sweet and wonderful person who would sacrifice the rest of her life for another person, and he seemed to be taking whatever she gave him without giving anything back.  This is a struggle I have had always - I am self-centered and would easily take someone for granted - it was necessary for me to marry someone who can put his foot down once in awhile and make sure I don't take advantage of him.  I could have been wrong about my friend, and I understand that, but she would come to me with situations she was concerned about and ask me what I thought about them.  Note - SHE ASKED ME.  Feeling very strongly about honesty, I had no choice but to tell her if his (or her) actions seemed off to me. 

Anyway, she eventually stopped speaking to me and I heard vague reports from other people about why, and the whole situation still haunts me because although I feel very strongly about being honest, there is a part of me that wants to go back to her and tell her whatever lie would make her want to hang out with me again... We live very close together and have both had our first baby's within a year of each other.  This is the kind of thing we dreamed about in college.  But now we don't speak. 

I guess the point of this story is to rant about how uncomfortable I feel in this world where people seem to want to hear what they want to hear over what may actually be the truth.  For all of my friends out there - I will always want the truth, and whether you like it or not, you can always trust me to give it - or at least my honest opinion, whether I'm 'right' or not is totally up for discussion.

Read 1809 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 22:08

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