I read an article over the weekend in which the author encouraged us to lie, especially to our loved ones. I had to re-read his words because I could not believe it. His premise was that in order to keep the peace, we lie to one another and not reveal our true thoughts.
One of his arguments was that we can't always say exactly what we're thinking.
At times we have to be mindful and discerning about how we speak to people. This isn't lying -- it's phrasing things so that another can more easily hear it. After all, none of us enjoy being criticized or put down. And those forms of communication are totally ineffective anyway.
So instead of saying to my friend, "you don't do anything anyway so why not." I might re-phrase it to "you have the time since you don't have a lot of commitments."
Even after finishing the article I was far from convinced of the merits of lying. In fact, I think the opposite is true. In all relationships, and especially love ones, we need honesty.
Am I alone in thinking this?
Here's why honesty matters
How do you have a relationship without trust? I need to trust that my lawyer or accountant is ethical, does things legally and has my best interests in mind. Likewise, I need to trust that my employees are truthful with me, don't steal or reveal trade secrets.
As we need trust in our business relationships, we need it even more in our intimate ones. I want to know that what you promise to do, what you say, you genuinely mean. Then I can count on you, physically and emotionally. I used to have a relationship in which I could not rely on my partner. He was never there for me. He would always say yes or be indecisive but then when the day rolled around, would be unavailable. Guess what happened?
2. When You're Trustworthy, I Open Up More
We all crave intimacy. We all want to be known and understood. This only happens when we feel emotionally safe with another person. I allow myself to be vulnerable because I know my husband will support me. If I share a deep fear or angst with him, he doesn't belittle me or make me wrong. Instead he listens deeply, and encourages me. This kind of sharing can only happen when we're truthful. If instead of listening to me, my husband cracked a joke or placated me with a lie, I would cease opening up to him. And eventually we would grow farther and farther apart.
3. A Genuine Sounding Board Not A Yes Man
Think about it. Do you have respect for people who always tell you what you want to hear? It may feel nice at first but isn't it so much more refreshing when someone is honest? When they question your judgment or actions? We all need people in our lives who can be the voice of encouragement or concern -- who take on either role. It gives us clarity and truthful feedback. This only comes with honesty, trust and rapport.
What works for you in your relationships? Do you find that you tell little lies often for fear of hurting someone's feelings or because you don't know how to be truthful? Or do you feel that your relationships are built on trust and honesty? Tell me what works for you. I'm all ears.
Shakti Sutriasa is the Founder of DecideDifferently.com, a personal development company committed to empowering people to live more connected and fulfilled lives through coaching, counseling and workshops. Her unique approach combines modern psychology and spirituality to support people seeking positive change and self-transformation. Shakti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has an MA in Education. Learn more at DecideDifferently.com