Little white lies save relationships.
“You look great in that,” when you wish he’d throw that old shirt in the bin where it belongs.
“I don’t mind,” when of course you DO mind but can’t be bothered arguing.
“I’m not upset,” when the truth is staring at him right in the face.
Those comments can hardly be called little white lies.
They’re more like life preservers.
They’re phrases you throw out to preserve social harmony.
“I adore your cooking.”
Because he wouldn’t tie on that apron again if he really knew what you thought of his Irish stew.
“It was nice to see your family again.”
Because he’s still momma’s boy after all these years (manipulative old hag!).
“You’re so much buffer than he is.”
Because his manhood must reign supreme.
If it’s for a good cause, then the truth is malleable. Wouldn’t you agree?
After a while, you get used to saying things you don’t really mean.
Of course I love it when you do that to me.”
“I hardly spent anything on these shoes.”
“I don’t mind going without you.”
He thinks everything in your relationship is fine. Everything he does pleases you. You’re the perfect partner: flexible, easy-going, unattached to having things go your way.
Until you blindside him by breaking up.
Not telling him the truth about how you feel has consequences.
He doesn’t know what’s not working until it’s too late to fix it.
A recent study found that we’re more likely to lie when we feel compassion for someone. Such “prosocial lying” ensures you don’t hurt the other person any more than absolutely necessary.
No wonder we lie the most to those we love.
You may slip into lying even more easily if you see yourself as a kind person.
The study found that “people who feel compassion for others seem remarkably prone towards lying.”
So what effect does that have on relationships?
Don’t trust your nice, sweet friend (who never says a bad word about anybody) to give you feedback. She may be incapable of giving you the honest, unvarnished truth.
Similarly, it’s a red flag if your partner says your relationship is wonderful and you’re wonderful and everything’s perfect and there’s nothing he would change.
If he’s still saying the same thing after you’ve been together for ages, he may be keeping something back from you.
And if YOU are the one treading lightly around the truth to avoid hurting him, consider this.
Research has found that suppressing your feelings—by brushing over discomfort, minimizing negative reactions, or agreeing to things you don’t want to do—not only leads to a decrease in marital satisfaction…
It actually increases your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Pushing down your feelings instead of communicating is a mortality risk. It dampens your immune response. It can literally make you sick.
Brad Blanton knows all this.
That’s why he invented Radical Honesty.
First of all, the obvious disclaimer:
He’s a man.
Not exactly trained in the subtle art of social nuance at his mother’s knee.
He describes himself as “white trash with a Ph.D.” His language is frequently offensive. He’d disrupt a polite dinner party with glee.
But he’s a rare advocate of total honesty in a world where spin and soundbites are second nature to any 12-year-old with a social media account.
Almost all of us lie about who we are and what we’ve done and what we think and feel, regularly and habitually, in order to create a good impression and maintain our image of ourselves, the way our culture encourages us to do.”
We even teach our children to lie from an early age. “Tell your grandmother you like her present.” “Tell your cousins you’re happy to see them.” “Don’t you dare say, ‘Yuck,’ even if you don’t like what’s on your plate.”
Our intentions are good. We’re just making sure our children always know what to say in these situations.
But we’re asking our kids to cover up how they REALLY feel. To deny the validity of their experience.
Lying distances us from our own experiences. We experience a situation one way, but we tell ourselves it went differently. To tell the truth to ourselves would be too unbearable. We discover we can’t even be honest with ourselves.
Lying also distances us from other people. Even those closest to you may never know what you’re really thinking and feeling. If they knew the truth, they’d discover just how long you’d been lying to them—and your relationship might never recover.
We spend half our lives trying to figure out who we can tell our truth to and how much of that truth we can tell and how we should frame it, rather than simply living our truth out loud.
Telling your truth sets you free….
Until it sets the world against you.
And that’s what faithful practitioners of Radical Honesty often find.
They remove the filter between their mind and mouth, blurt out something socially inappropriate, and get themselves fired. Or unfriended. Or divorced.
Perhaps the lesson of Radical Honesty is that we should do our best to create a space where everyone can be honest without fearing punishment.
But as for the choice as to whether YOU should be honest or not?
That’s up to you.
 Radical Parenting (Stanley, VA: Sparrowhawk Publications, 2002) 6.