Telling People the Truth Doesn’t Win Friends
Some of us are truth tellers. We see the truth easily. Then we take it one step further and point it out. Unless you’re in a profession like a therapist or counselor where truth telling is important, be careful with the truth.
Because most people don’t want to hear it.
It’s like the old joke when a woman asks her husband if this makes her butt look big. Any husband with any sense that wants to stay married knows how to answer that question. “No, honey, you look great!” All the while knowing, OMG, she really shouldn’t wear that!
Or like your girlfriend who breaks up with her boyfriend. Afterwards, you admit you never liked him anyway. She gets upset and confronts you, “Why didn’t you tell me!?” Your stuttering answer usually sounds something like this, “Uh, because you didn’t really want to hear it.” True dat, she didn’t. We’ve all been there – either on the break up side or the friend side.
Keep It to Yourself
It’s great to have “super powers” to see the truth, but sometimes you gotta keep it to yourself. My son has always been super observant. From a very young age I noticed that in him. Now that he’s a teenager combine observant with thinking you know it all combined with “I’m gonna tell you whether you want to hear it or not” attitude. That last one doesn’t go down so well with us. Teenagers know it all, doncha know? Mine does.
On more than one occasion I’ve let him know that people don’t really like to be told the truth. They don’t really like their “bad” behavior thrown in their faces. As I always tell him, it’s not really an effective way to win friends and influence people. That’s the name of a book, BTW. I recommended he read it.
We Really Don’t Want to Hear the Truth
Why don’t we like to hear the truth? For one, when it’s your teenager telling you, no one likes to have things pointed out by their child. For two, the truth hurts as the saying goes. Sometimes he might be right about someone’s behavior, but people don’t want to hear it, even if it’s true. We weren’t asking for your observation. A little fib is ok on occasion or just not telling the whole story to spare someone’s feelings like not admitting your wife’s butt really does look big int that outfit. I’m ok with that fib.
In therapy or counseling or coaching it’s ok because you’re paying someone to tell you the truth. You’re paying someone to tell you that you’re basically a jerk if that’s the case. In that sense it’s ok because you want to learn and grow from it. Because they’re professional, they’ll tell you in a respectful manner. They’re not going to come out and tell you that you’re a jerk, even if you are. They’ll soften the blow.
When you ask someone for their opinion of you or any question for that matter, don’t ask unless you want to know. It’s like when I do a psychic reading. Sometimes a woman will ask me if her guy is cheating on her. Don’t ask unless you want to know! Because I’m honest and she’s asking, if I see it, I’m going to tell her. I will couch it with this is what I see, psychics can be wrong. Please don’t shoot the messenger! I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But since you’re asking…
Know When to Use Which Super Power
If you have those truth-telling super powers, be careful with them. Your keen powers of analysis come in handy when your boss asks you to analyze something. Same with your powers of observation. It’s great to have it, but only when asked. Not everyone wants to hear what you have to say. As with all super heroes, learn to use your powers. Share them delicately and only if people ask.
Don’t be the one who points out everyone’s faults or calls people on the carpet because they didn’t do something. No one wants to be humiliated, called out or embarrassed, especially in front of others.
Bottom line is you may think you’re helping people by pointing out their flaws. Unless they ask you, trust me, people don’t really want to know. Even then, proceed with caution. In a controlled environment, it’s fine, but most of the time, stay clear of that trap. Yay for you to have great powers of observation and truth detecting skills. A piece of friendly advice – keep it to yourself. You’ll win more friends and influence more people that way.
There are times when the truth is appropriate, especially if someone’s asking. How do you know when? Use your intuition. It will let you know if someone can handle the truth or really needs to hear it. Like probably many of you, I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news but I’ve had to give it at times, especially when I felt like the person really needed to hear it. I let my intuition guide me whether to tell them or not. You can tap into your super power, your intuition, and figure that out too!
P.S. If you would like help developing your intuition or would like to know when it’s intuition talking and when it’s not, feel free to contact me.