Honesty is NOT the best policy but conversations are helpful – thoughts on relationships

Honesty is NOT the best policy but conversations are helpful – thoughts on relationships

Coming from a priest that title may seem odd if not ironic. After all, is this not what one should hold on to? Is this not what should be advocated in a world that has made dishonesty is home and called it alternative facts? I am writing these thoughts specifically to address the issue of honesty in relationships. I am doing this not because a smart line crossed my imagination but simply because as complex as relationships are, I have come to believe that given certain circumstances, honesty is not the best policy.

Let me begin with my life learnings. I have been known to call a spade a spade and I use the past tense ’know’ with a certain sense of responsibility. On hindsight I think I was very brash years in the early years of my priesthood. I said what ‘I wanted’ to say rather than choose what needed to be said. Well. I did get a lot off my chest and I did feel I was being ‘transparent’ and not shady in my opinions. Diplomacy I thought was for diplomats, I was just expressing the need to say things as I saw them. I paid a price. You see, you may say this is not a matter of honesty but of discretion and yet I insist that brashness aside, the honest remarks made on several occasions did not go down well with even those I loved.

Life is not as simple as we would like it to be. While we may feel that an honest sharing of ‘everything’ is essential; while I sense the need to be transparent one hundred percent, the consequences are not as often as a religious admonition on honesty may be. There is a price to pay whether you shoot your mouth off or honestly express an opinion or level up with what gnaws at your soul. Ironically, instead of the reward that honesty purports you might end up paying a nasty price for what you consider an honest opinion. Sometimes sugar coating serves a purpose.

Am I advocating dishonesty in a relationship? Well, for starters, not everyone can handle a good measure of honesty, after all you were given a consolation prize and made to believe you won something when in reality you lost the race. So, the system devised a dishonest, sugar-coated way of dealing with what should have been an honest situation and told you to go home empty handed. Sadly, we grow looking for consolation prizes and think that life served us lemons for that passionate desire we had to plant a lemon tree.

Relationships are fragile to say the least. Good doses of honesty in a relationship may work sometimes but don’t work most of the while; what does work is conversation and do that ever so gently. If you get into a relationship conversation like the way a bull goes into a china shop the end result will find you picking up several pieces of very good china.

How then do you handle that which you really want to talk about? Begin by talking about ‘the china’ don’t be a bull; figure out for what purpose was it made, where was it made (don’t assume china is made in china) figure out who made it and then decide where or how you want to use it. You get the analogy? We assume much in every relationship but the fragile nature of a relationship needs fragile handling and that comes about with conversations rather than doses of honesty.

Assume less, talk more! That’s the mantra that every relationship needs to have. Conversations help you test the waters and while a particular conversation may not be apt for today it does not make it a conversation that can’t be held on another day.

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5 thoughts on “Honesty is NOT the best policy but conversations are helpful – thoughts on relationships”

  • I learnt this along the way, practical wisdom for the outspoken.


  • As Christians, there’s one more variable involved – prayer. It sounds cliche, but it’s odd that we say we believe in God and yet our first reaction is to give our opinion before praying which makes us “practical atheists” (and I’ve been guilty several times). Jesus – God Himself – spent entire nights praying before preaching!

    But prayer does work. I’ve got so many examples where I’ve prayed for someone instead of speaking my mind and a few days, weeks or months later, they themselves realised my perspective without me saying anything.

  • Good thought Ashwith, and something we can all do. I too have seen communication backed by prayer really fruitful.

  • Its plain Truth in simple words and a truly valuable advice to us all.



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