Remember when we were kids, we were taught to always tell the truth and everything would be fine?
At some point, it seemed like this was no longer true. We started hearing a whole different story.
Let me explain.
I remember going along with my sister to the hairdresser to get my little nephew’s haircut (4 years old at the time). As we walked in, my sister told him, “Justin, today the nice man will be cutting your hair because the girl is cutting someone else’s hair.” Very upset with this news, Justin yelled out, “mommy, I don’t want the fat, bald man to cut my hair. I want the girl to cut it.” Everyone in that salon turned to him, smiled and glanced at my sister and I.
Of course, at this point, my sister and I stood there with our mouths wide open, wanting to crawl under a table. My sister took him to the side and told him that what he had just said wasn’t nice and that saying things like that can hurt people’s feelings.
The poor kid was confused. He couldn’t understand why saying the truth and stating the facts could be hurtful to someone.
Now, as we get older, do we remember this and become disillusioned with telling the truth?
Even when telling someone something that may hurt them is the best thing for them, we prefer to lie just to avoid having to deal with the person afterwards.
I’m not saying to go around insulting people and calling them fat. Isn’t there a difference between deliberately wanting to hurt someone and caring enough about them by telling them the truth?
A few weeks ago, I witnessed a good relationship gone badly between 4 people in a hostel that could have been avoided.
Check this one out:
They had spent the whole day trekking together. Three girls from different countries and Ramiro who had arrived that same morning. The four of them would be spending the next four nights sleeping in the same 6 bed dorm.
At supper, over a bar-b-que, the way they talked and laughed together, one would have thought they had known each other for years. It was getting late and Ramiro decided to go to bed. Before doing so, he pulled out a supply of ear plugs and offered them to the 3 girls. “Girls, here take some. I had a long day and when I am tired, I tend to snore pretty loud.” All 3 girls responded, “You’re so sweet, don’t worry about that, it’s all part of the experience. We won’t need ear plugs.”
The next morning at breakfast, the 3 girls came down after Ramiro. They did not sit at same table with him. Even when Ramiro called them over, they said good morning, waved at him, but did not join him.
That evening, he offered them ear plugs again. “Girls, did you sleep well last night? Do you prefer wearing ear plugs? I always keep a supply when I share a dorm. I know I my snoring is loud.” Again, the girls responded, “We don’t want ear plugs, thanks.”
The next morning, they completely ignored him, whispering among each other. Ramiro asked, “Girls what’s wrong? I thought we agreed to go to the waterfalls together.” The girls replied, “Nothing’s wrong, we’re fine. We’ll just hang around here today.”
That night, while Ramiro was sound asleep snoring away, one of the girls got out of bed, walked over to him, bent over beside his ear and at the top of her lungs yelled,
“IT’S ENOUGH! STOP IT! It’s 3 nights we don’t get any sleep because of you!”
The next morning, a huge argument broke out between them.
Ramiro asked, “Why didn’t you take the ear plugs?”
The girls replied,
“We were being polite. You should have known that and had some consideration by getting a single room dorm.”
Has politeness become the easiest, fastest way to avoid uncomfortable situations and conversations? A way out of dealing with confrontation and keeping the peace, making the biggest lie ever told to be, “Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine?”
How can we possibly be true to ourselves, accept who we are and discover our strengths and passion if we can’t be true to our feelings and live with lies we tell each other?
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind – Dr. Seuss
Where’s the line between honesty and rudeness? And between politeness and disrespectfulness?
What do you think?