Let’s Talk: Brutal honesty, or sugar-coated truth? Which is more important? 31

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I grew up with the notion that there’s a nice way to say anything; that a few choice diplomatic words can be the difference between somebody leaving a conversation content and upset; that it was every person’s duty to make that effort.

I carry that belief with me to this day. But only recently have I begun to appreciate that the world is more complex than that. Sometimes the blunt path can be the best in the long run.

In high school, I spent a good deal of time seething over the various harsh opinions of a friend. She had a knack for criticising those close to her in the most upsetting possible way: with truth.

Sometimes it was as simple as questioning my taste in music and movies; I was rarely able to explain why I liked something, and left feeling equal parts upset with her and myself.

Sometimes it cut far more deeply: “I’ve got to be honest. The two of you aren’t right for each other at all.”

Bluntness is tough to take; the natural human reaction is to want to defend yourself. However, it was so much harder knowing she was right. The principles I lived by weren’t always fully thought-out. Her harsh honesty left me reevaluating my own beliefs and priorities; they made me realise I was more naive than I realised.

Yet that tough, non-sugar-coated education genuinely did turn me into a better person. They broadened my horizons, taught me to think before I acted, and most importantly, made me see the world better from outside my own mind.

Would these words have made such an impact had they been delivered politely? As much as I’d like to believe positive reinforcement could have had the same outcome, it’s hard to deny the “tough love” approach worked. Maybe it’s not so black and white after all.

Today we’d like to ask the Starts at 60 community which is more important: delivering the whole truth, or delivering it nicely? Where do you draw the line? When was the last time you gave (or received) a harsh truth?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Honesty is always the best policy, the thing is we have the father of lies (the devil) as our adversary, who wants to kill and destroy.

    2 REPLY
    • We have a savour ( Jesus Christ) who freely spilt his blood and was crucified for our sins for He has been given authority over all things in the heavens and she earth and under the earth. If you don’t know Jesus, ask him to reveal his self to you and he will.

  2. Depends on the time place and people a place for both!

  3. I prefer to be honest straight up with people as there can be no mistake as to what I have meant, not always received very well however my friends know that is the way I am and usually appreciate me telling it as it is.

    4 REPLY
    • Me too but get people seem to get the bull by the foot at my intentions and guess what don’t really give a damn too much anymore especially with certain ones. I have been told at least I think before I speak not always I try most of the time its their peoblem if they take things incorrectly it means they really don’t have much knowledge of who I am.

  4. be honest, but take into account others feelings, and use diplomacy, for instance I would never tell a friend, that dress looks terrible on you it makes your bum look huge..instead I would say another style and colour would really suit you. I don’t like being unkind

    1 REPLY
  5. Sometimes people like to live in the role of victim and pussyfooting around what the truth is only enables the person to live lies and bull. Truth does hurt sometimes but truth sometimes needs to be stated.

    2 REPLY
    • Well yes Lee but sometime people are so caught up in living lies that it takes a real friend to actually say the truth. A real friend will tell me when I’m kidding myself that I can wear that bikini that makes me look like something out of a horror magazine a real friend will tell me if the person I’m married to is playing around they may be hard truths but I’d rather know truth. Truth is empowering once you face it.

  6. I would always prefer an honest approach however I agree that it is important to know who you are dealing with and use the appropriate approach. I was taught the good, bad, good sandwich and I dislike it immensely. “You did this well… however..!” Just give it to me straight up.

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