Honesty is a funny thing. As kids we are taught that honesty is an absolute, that you should always tell the truth and that lying is terrible. But from that point on situations challenge the absoluteness of your honesty and the white lie shows up. White lie is a nice way of saying justifiable lie and usually our justification is concern for another person's feelings. There is a point where this might make since but more and more I think that we are doing ourselves a disservice. As I thought about this earlier this week I tweeted this:
Why the sudden concern with honesty? Mostly because, as we connect with more people over facebook, twitter, and countless forums, I see a trend toward acting dishonestly under the guise of not hurting someone's feelings. All too often I hear people say that they accepted so-n-so's facebook friend request only to hide all of their updates or unfriend them at a later date just so that they don't have to tell someone they weren't interested in their updates. This is something I would expect from a teenager and not from an adult. When I hear someone say that it instantly dilutes our relationship because what I hear is that you are more concerned with appearances than experiences. Another thing that I have noticed, especially in photography forums, is the creation of honest evaluation zones. Areas where it is clearly declared that posting there will result in honest evaluation of the work. This seems backwards to me and implies that everywhere else people should keep their honest opinions to themselves. Shouldn't we feel free to be honest except when asked not to be instead of vise versa?
Honesty does not need to be cruel. As with most things in life, we choose how to accomplish things and the outcome often is a direct result of the process. The difference between "That Sucks!" and "I don't really like this." or "I don't like it be cause of [x], [y], and [z]" is night and day. Both get your point across that your not happy with what you are being shown but one way is cruel and the other is just honest. And out of that honesty can come growth.
There are two sides of this equation though, the person speaking and the person listening. As a listener we need to be open to criticism and remember that we are the ones who give someone else's opinion power. If you value someone's opinion it is probably for good reason and wouldn't you rather they speak to you honestly? I would, it's how I am going to grow. If you don't value your critic's opinion then what do you care what is said? If you find that it bothers you then maybe it is something you should look at at least to figure out why. Not everyone is your friend and not everyone wants to read your facebook updates, are you doing them for yourself or for other people? If your doing them for yourself then keep doing what your doing and don't worry about what everyone thinks. If your doing it for others maybe you should listen and adapt instead of getting mad.
Honesty is an absolute. I should always tell the truth. Lying is terrible. Let me worry about my feelings and let's grow into better people together.