Column: Policy of honesty


How honest is too honest?

Everyone has opinions. When it comes to friendship, it can definitely be difficult when one finds themselves viewing things differently than their friend. 

Recently I had a conversation with a friend who needed a dress for an event that she was going to attend.

In regard to a dress I recently wore, my friend said, “I don’t like it.” I stared back at her, feeling offended. “It was cute for you, just not my thing,” she said in response to the awkward tension that seemingly separated the space between us. 

We quickly switched to another less contentious topic. However, days later, I still find myself thinking about that comment. 

I, just like my friend who had commented on my dress, have opinions about the way that those around me dress. And beyond just the way that people dress — the decisions that people make in their lives too. 

When my friend told me she didn’t like my dress, I felt like I was receiving a judgement that I was not necessarily open to receiving.  

With the distaste that I felt from my friend’s comment, I began to reflect on some of the things that I may say that are not necessary. 

In my opinion, honesty is always the best policy. Yet, sometimes it’s possible to be too honest. Telling the truth is important, especially in situations where not knowing the truth can cause harm. But in some situations, saying nothing is fine. 

While arguably my friend needed to let me know that she wasn’t interested in borrowing my dress, I believe that saying something as simple as, “that’s actually not really my personal style, but I appreciate the offer,” could have been a nicer way to put it. 

One of my close friends jokingly says, “Did I ask?” quite often, to my annoyance. But this question rings true in many situations. 

I guess there can be something in keeping certain judgements to oneself.

I know for a fact that my life would be in no way negatively changed if I were to go without negative comments on things as menial as clothing. 

And I know that I can also bite my tongue more often and reply to questions without inserting unsolicited input. 

I am not perfect — no one is — and I know that I will still slip up and fail the question of “Did I ask?” However, by being more intentional in the words that I choose, I can be more demonstrative of how I would hope certain people in my life would act. 

Even though telling the truth and being honest are amongst my core values, sometimes keeping something to myself may help me be a better person in the lives of those around me.

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1 Comment

  1. Embarrassed to Be Associated on

    These are the kinds of friends who you will no longer be speaking to five years after graduation. I am not saying there will be a fight–I am saying that you will realize that they are just jerks and your relationship was circumstantial.

    The fact that you are even taking the time to self-reflect is credence that you deserve more than that.

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