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Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

When and how to be truthful; not every situation demands a straight answer

Honesty pays in the long run. In relationships it is absolutely vital, as without revealing how we feel, we cannot achieve true intimacy with another. However, being honest does not mean being blunt and rude or volunteering an opinion when you have not been asked. Not everyone needs to know how you think. Ask yourself "Will being honest achieve anything?" and "Am I being kind?" If the answer to the first question is "Yes" then the second question ceases to be quite so important, although it is always worth bearing in mind.

It is absolutely fine to duck the question if asked personal questions such as “Do you like my hair/dress/new car? You can respond neutrally or redirect e.g. “That cut is very classic.” “I saw that very same dress in Vogue this week.” “What a wonderful colour your car is.” It is not important to be wholly truthful in your opinions as they are precisely that – your opinions. Where it is important to be truthful is in matters concerning the cornerstones of a relationship; to others what you say is who you are.

It is not OK to go along with someone on fundamental issues such as where you will live, the upbringing of your children, what gives you sexual pleasure or how you wish to be spoken to or regarded. You need to make sure you let your views be known and that you listen to the other’s point of view; you may need to compromise. You will certainly need to employ good timing. However, if and when you are going out with someone, you mislead them by going along with them and not expressing your own views, then at some point you will come to grief. Your resentment at your own needs being subsumed will come out in some way. Maybe you’ll be sarcastic, maybe you’ll be unhappy, maybe you’ll never reach your full potential and fulfil your hopes and ambitions and you’ll become bitter. I can’t tell how these squashed needs will reappear, all I can promise is that they will. Certainly misrepresenting yourself will mean you get things you don't want or like and that others will make assumptions based on false beliefs about you - ones you have let ride or even nurtured.

So it is important when you meet others to gently let them know your values and expectations in order to avoid future misunderstandings. Hopefully, the way you dress, speak and act projects much of who you are or aspire to be. When a person knows who and what you are they can decide how much of a relationship they wish to have with you. If you build on firm foundations then you will be able to take the knocks and bumps that come with any relationship. If you have falsely represented who you are, others will be disappointed and assume a lack of integrity, but much more importantly you will be disappointed in yourself. Therefore, in close relationships of any kind honesty really is the policy and a great buiding block for a happy future.

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