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Honesty Doesn’t Have to be Brutal

08/02/2014

It’s been my experience that people call it being “brutally honest” when you are straightforward with them. But is it brutal? I don’t think so. Sure, if you say something blatantly honest in a harsh manner to a person who isn’t ready for it, then I can see how abrasive the truth can be.

But for the most part, I don’t think telling the truth is a bad thing. People appreciate knowing where they stand with you. Your future boss will want to know what to expect from you, and they can tell when someone is being fake. In recent times a guy fresh from college was “brutally honest” in his cover letter, and that not only got him an internship, but it also led him to his current job. You can read about this honest young man here.

The best interviews I ever had were ones where I didn’t get creative about my experience, where I could adequately explain what I am good at, and do you know what? Interviewers like to see that their candidates are human and are working on their weaknesses. In fact, most people like to see when people are working to improve themselves. It means that you are worth the investment.

And I’m not just talking about interviewing for a new job. I’m talking about owning up to your mistakes in your current job and in your relationships. Of course, if you admit to your mistake the next words out of your mouth should be, “and I’m trying to fix it right now!” And you should be trying to fix your mistake. Not only does it reflect well on you, but it doesn’t detract from the good-doings of other people. I’ve noticed that your coworkers won’t like it if you hog the limelight.

But in relationships honesty is very important. Honesty leads to trust, which is the building block of any good relationship. We don’t have to watch teen dramas to know that lying can lead to messy situations and lost love. Sometimes that means telling someone something that they would rather not hear, but in the long run it will be a better thing; if they break up with you over something you honestly believe, were they really a good match for you? As the saying goes, “Lies fly then fall. Truth hops but keeps going,” as stated in one of my favorite childhood novels, “Perloo the Bold.”

There is an easy way to break a hard truth to someone. Well… an easier way. Sit them down and say, “There’s something I need to tell you, and I’m afraid it’s going to upset you.” That way they can prepare for the worst, which is usually worse than anything you actually have to say. Then you just say whatever it is you need to say in a calm voice while keeping eye contact. It helps if you use as much “I language” as you possibly can – “I feel that things in my department aren’t getting done quick enough,” or “I feel that when I say what I think that I get shut down, almost like you don’t want to hear it.” By shifting the focus onto you, you’re taking away the accusatory feel of your truth, and therefore are lessening the blow. Thus: your brutal honesty is no longer brutal. And, more importantly, creates much more effective communication.

 

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From → Business, Romance

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