A couple of weeks ago I was having a margarita Monday with two of my best friends. Okay fine, it was a margarita Friday, but the alliteration’s not as good, now is it?
Too many tequila solutions into the evening, my friends started singing the praizes of the importance of honesty. I can take everything, my one friend said who – in my opinion – can definitely NOT take everything, but I cannot take someone being dishonest with me, even in the slightest. You lie to me, we’re done.
Yes! the other exclaimed. Unadulterated honesty is the single most important feature in friendship.
I disagreed, and not because I don’t consider honesty important, but because I don’t think my friends really want honesty in the un-shaped and un-capped condition they claim. If I hit them in the face with my unchecked honesty, they’d never leave their houses except to arrange my torture and murder. And I know for damn sure I don’t want unfiltered honesty…
I’m going to be super honest: I don’t do honesty well. Not because I lie necessarily, but because I keep my mouth shut when I shouldn’t. My honesty was always unadorned by humility and context, and it hurt. So I learnt to shut it.
But last week in a marathon work meeting I arrived at a new pitstop along the road to becoming a mature adult. At the tender age of 41 I decided to take out my cards, arrange them in a palatable sequence and lay them out hard. At the age of 41, I finally realised that angry honesty is the last resort of the unimaginative. Used well, used calmly and used with modesty, honesty can be pretty bloody awesome.
But easy it is not. It requires the courage to be open with who you are and what you feel. And that’s not easy for me. But as someone who was raised in a home where good and proper behavior was more important than emotional understanding and development, it feels kinda powerful to harness the power of the emotions without allowing them to run amok and poop on other people’s lawns.
Brutal honesty is as pointless and harmful as no honesty at all.