Let’s start out with a disclaimer.  I get an idea for a blog, I pen it into my planner, and then I write about it.  My thoughts have been fruitful of late, so I’ve been about 2 1/2 weeks ahead in the thought process.  Now, since I took a hiatus, the idea for today’s blog came over a month ago, from a blog my friend Eilene wrote.  Here’s the problem- i don’t remember enough about her post to give it any kind of real reference as to what motivated me to write this.  But anyway…

What are the qualities you want in a friend.  Think about it.  I’ll wait…

Say, you want a friend to be honest.  Honesty is a good trait.  We want to deal with people in our daily lives who speak the truth and don’t lie.

Right?

Honesty is good, right?

We want our friends to be honest, right?

I binge watched “Grace and Frankie” (spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen it but plans on it) Before Frankie married, someone told her the man she was about to marry was gay.  Truthful, right?  Frankie didn’t speak to that person for 40 years.

Now, the person was honest, right?  But look at the outcome.  How honest do we want our friends to be?  How many people in our lives to we want to be completely honest with us?

Honesty often hurts.  When confronted with the cold, hard facts, we often crumble.  We get defensive.  My daughter recently asked me to review something she had written for her AP Lang assignment.  I told her it wasn’t very good, that she kind of skirted the question, and the voice was very passive when clearly the tone of the piece was supposed to evoke emotion.  My daughter stormed off.  She told me I was horrible.

Horrible?

Isn’t honesty good?

Don’t we want people to be honest with us?

Let’s think about how we define honesty.  Honesty is when we tell the truth.  Honesty is when we don’t lie. Lying is bad.

But are there things that are OK to lie about?  Are there times when a lie is justified?  Are there times when honesty is probably not the right course?

Let’s try this.  To be deceitful is definitely bad.  To tell a woman that you are single, when you are in fact married, is a bad thing.  Does anyone think this is an acceptable lie?

So, lying to be deceitful and not let someone have the whole story is bad.

Now I’m going to give you another TV reference.  Big Bang Theory spoiler alert.  On a recent episode, Amy picked out a wedding dress.  Penny and Bernadette thought the dress was hideous.  When Amy asked, Penny told her the truth.  Amy’s feelings were hurt.  Did Amy want the truth, or did she want agreement?

Which brings us to: if a friend asks an opinion question, is it OK to lie?  Would it really be a lie if Penny said the dress was beautiful?

In TV world, Penny ended up telling Amy that the dress was Amy’s choice, and it didn’t matter who liked it.  I thought this was the right approach to the situation, but does this choice make anyone feel better?

Opinion honesty is a tough call, because opinions are just that: opinions.  Opinions are based on a particular individuals thoughts, and might not necessarily be based on fact.  In my writing group, we share work.  Now as you know, writing work is very personal.  No one wants to be told that there is a flaw in their writing, or an inconsistency.  So I was in a quandary yesterday.  I told one of my writing friends (who is an absolutely amazing writer BTW) that I thought she had an issue with character development with one of her characters.  But it was based on my opinion.  True, i gave her examples of why I thought the character needed to be fleshed out a little more, but I don’t know if I’m right.  (mark this date down: I admitted that I might not be right about everything)  But I felt I needed to tell her how I felt, and why.

Should we give friends out true opinions of things, even when they are going to go against someone’s thought/beliefs/feelings?

So what are your thought on honesty as to how it pertains to friendship?  What is your definition of honesty?  Are you always honest with your friends about everything?  How about family?  Are you always honest with your family?

Discuss…

 

82 thoughts on “What Does Friend Really Mean?

  1. For the most part, brutal honesty is my preferred method. My mother never beats around the bush, so I learned it from her, I guess. 12 step recovery has only reinforced the idea that brutal honesty is the way to go; I care far more about saving an addict’s life than I care about saving their feelings. A former sponsor did have to teach me that “honesty without compassion is cruelty”, so I’m still trying to train myself to be compassionate when I deliver brutal truth to someone (I’m a work in progress)

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    1. The compassion part is tough though, because no matter how you sugar coat it, bad is still bad. I struggle with the concept of how honest do we want to be. I totally get that brutal honesty is vital to the recovery process, because without it you won’t get better. And I’m pretty honest with my daughter. But friends….that’s a tough one. How much honesty before you lose the friendship?

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  2. You can be honest without being cruel. If your friend asks your advice on an outfit that doesn’t suit, maybe it would be better to mention that you are not sure about the style/colour etc on her and that you always thought pink/green/red etc were better on her. Honesty without cruelty.

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    1. I get that. But in the end, your friend is still going to know you don’t like their choice. It’s a tough call that I struggle with

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  3. I have been known to be a blurter of the truth- so much so that I have learned, finally, after getting into much deep shit, that it is best to think hard and study all the angles before opening my big fat mouth. This is much easier to do when no one is asking me for my opinion (because I swear, my mouth will open of its own accord without invitation). But when someone asks me? Especially if I actually care? I’m gonna be honest. There’s a way to do it gently and kindly, but I’m going to get my point across. The more important the question, the more honest the answer. Because we all deserve the truth, even if it hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that we all deserve the truth. But do we want it? It’s like a few good men….you can’t handle the truth. I think there are a lot if people too sensitive to actually hear the truth

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  4. I think there is a reason for the expression, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Because seriously, no matter how honest you strive to be, people’s feelings get hurt. I’ve learned that almost anything said with good intent and couched the right way is the way to go, but sometimes I just opt to say nothing. As they say, “The truth hurts.” And that’s the truth.

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    1. I think everyone lists it as the most important quality in a mate/friend/family member, but I think it’s one of those things that looks good on paper but not in practicality. I’ve seen more things end cause someone was honest

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  5. I would prefer honesty. Sure, I might be upset in the moment, but in the end, I think I would rather know the truth. In your examples above – if I were about to marry someone who was gay, I would want to know. Again, I might be mad at the start, but wouldn’t it be better for both of us for me to know and make my marriage decision appropriately? Also, if I looked hideous(an every day thing for me) I would want to know.

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    1. I’d like to think I was mature enough to have your attitude, but I’m just not sure. I’m always really careful when my friends ask about some new that they’re dating, because I don’t know if they truly want to know that their new beau seems to be a jerk

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  6. I am a horrible liar. You can see it on my face and you can hear it in my voice. And I hate being lied to. So, I’m in the “truth is the best policy camp.”, I guess. But I agree with Miriamacsite that you can be honest without being cruel. I’ve had too many fake friends over the years. I’m too old for that anymore. That’s my honest opinion. LOL

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    1. Fake friends are an entirely different animal…but there are times. A good friend got divorced a few years ago, and I always hated his ex wife. After they separated I was worried about saying that I thought he was well rid of her because I was worried they would get back together

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      1. That would be awkward. Just curious…did he ask your opinion (I’m not saying that in a snarky way – BTW). Because I also buy into “If you can’t say something nice” philosophy sometimes. If he didn’t ask, then I wouldn’t give him my opinion. But if he did ask, then that does put me in a tough spot. Maybe “Does it matter what I think?” would be a good response. Then if he cornered me, I’d probably tell him that I thought he could do better. Honest, yet kind. Just my opinion.

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      2. No . He didn’t ask. But he was feeling down about the divorce and I wanted to tell him she wasn’t good enough for him. (Part of the problem was that she thought she married down)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m more honest with friends than family. Its a habit hard learned. Show family the tender,vulnerable parts of your self and they’ll strap on the cleats and stomp it till its dead. I don’t like lieing. If I don’t want to hurt your feelings I may not say anything at all. Or smile&nod.

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  8. I have several answers:
    1) I have a saying, “People would rather hear five lies than one truth.”
    2) There is definitely a difference between telling someone what you know (your fiance is gay), as opposed to your opinion (your dress is ugly).
    3) In my friendships, I prefer honesty all the way around, but you can keep your opinion about what I’m doing, wearing, saying, to yourself lol and I try my best to do the same. If you like the dress, wear the dress. I’ll never be the friend that’s like, “girrlll, why do you have on that dress?” I assume you’re wearing it cause you like it.

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    1. As always…very insightful and well thought out answers. The opinion one is tough for me. I rarely ask someone’s opinion about clothing that I buy because if I like it I don’t care,but I will often ask my daughters opinion when I’m coordinating accessories because my daughter has a good eye for style and she has a sense of my style.
      I’m intrigued by the 5 lies more than one truth thing…I’m going to o rethink that

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      1. I’m trying to tell you Ann…people don’t wanna hear the truth. They like the idea of hearing the truth, until they hear it. But I’m looking forward to more thoughts on this.

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  9. I agree with the “how you say it” camp. This idea is a recurring one, even in conversations with my husband over little things. He keeps insisting that he is only telling me how he feels, while I suggest he needn’t have been so caustic about it.
    My children seem over-reactive no matter WHAT approach I take. Clearly, they are deeply affected by how I show I feel about them.

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    1. My daughter is sensitive to criticism too. I’m wondering if that’s just a kid characteristic because they’re still developing their personalities (I’m not sure if that’s the right word)

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  10. People are offended if you lie to them. People are also offended if you’re (too) honest with them. 😉
    I have given up on both. I rather stay quiet. Then maybe I won’t get blamed.

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  11. I just returned from a weekend away with some old friends. We don’t see each other often, life over the years has taken us in various directions. But the weekend provided some needed and refreshing time together. I believe sharing honestly about life and struggles was therapeutic. Would this type of conversation have been possible with all of my friends?……no. Is honesty about every single thing necessary?……..no. When a friend is about to make a decision you believe to be a huge life altering mistake, I believe honesty needs to be considered. If a friend is seeking your approval about an outfit, or something that will be forgotten or can easily be rectified, your opinion is just that, an opinion. If you know your friend well, you know how to answer that question.

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    1. There’s definitely a friendship level that demand honesty. I have about 5 friends I’m always honest with, but they’ve been friends for at least 20 years. I think if a friendship lasts that long you can be honest. I think the newer relationships are the ones to worry more about. Family honesty…I’m still on the fence…

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  12. I told my best friend the truth about how the men in her life were using her and she dumped me. After 15 years of best buddy intimate souly friendship. So now I keep my mouth shut.

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    1. I think that actually happens a lot. It comes down to what I was saying to someone before, we all deserve the truth, but I don’t know if people can handle the truth

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  13. In my book honesty is the best policy. I agree that there are ways to be tactfully honest as opposed to brutally honest and you should use whichever is appropriate for the situation. I’ve been known to stretch the truth a bit or tell part of the truth but not usually an out and out lie. Good food for thought here.

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  14. I have different rules for different friends. I know this sounds horrible, but hey, I have friends I dig going out for drinks with, and then I have friends I would trust with a dead body. Runs the gamut.
    My very best friends deal up the bitter truths. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s what I will always go to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sort of like that. My dead body burying friends are good for honesty, but I think it’s because we’ve known each other for so long that I completely trust that they are on my side

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eggsactly! And it’s not like we’d be so morbid as to stop off for breakfast on the way back from burying a body in the deep woods. Unless we passed a Waffle House . . .

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  15. I was honest with a friend on Facebook and she dumped me long distance. I thought she would appreciate knowing the truth but she called me out and accused me of not getting my facts straight. Since I have lived in Florida and know the topic well….I like that my husband tells me the truth although I do get mad sometimes. It is best to hear the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, before she released me from her friendship on facebook, I noticed that all her best friends agreed with everything she said and didn’t rock the boat. Having met her in person, she was also the same way. I repeatedly asked her out for a cup of coffee, a walk, etc. but she was content to stay in the hotel apt in Abu Dhabi with her husband and complain. I feel nothing is lost.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. You give great things to think about.
    I think it really depends on the “WHO” part. There are definitely certain friends that I feel I can be more honest with than others and they can be honest with me, even if I don’t want to hear it.
    There are times we really need people to be honest with us, involving more serious things. Sometimes our silence can do more harm. We may be afraid to hurt their feelings, but if its a crucial decision, do you want to be responsible for them having long term problems because you were afraid to speak up?
    I believe that the people we can be most honest with are the ones that we know truly have our backs and we have theirs.
    We also have to use tact when being honest, that can go a long way in how it is received.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have friends that I’m brutally honest with, but they’re friends for like a million years. Nothing offends us anymore. But, it’s not as easy as it should be

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I think the truth is best. That said, years ago my youngest daughter cut her hair super short – shorter than most men wear their hair. She was in her early 20’s and it made her look about 14. Did I tell her that? No. I probably said it looked cute, so as not to hurt her feelings. But I wonder what the better thing to say would have been? Something honest, that at the same time did not hurt her feelings? Hard for me to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Honesty in friendships for me is being able to honestly tell the friend what I need right then. And for them to feel they can do the same with me. So if I or the friend says “I need you to listen to me while I vent” or “I’m looking for solutions/problem solving” or “I’m looking for advice” or “I’m looking for empathy” or “take the filters off I need your blunt opinion”. Seriously my friends and I all do this with each other. It’s one of the communication pieces I value in my friendships. And they too seem to appreciate it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s actually a really smart approach…tell them what you need. It should be so simple, yet it’s not always the approach we go with

      Like

  19. Best not to give an outright opinion if not asked for one and if asked, be kind. Maybe not say you think the new haircut is awful just tell her she looks fine but you liked the old hairstyle a little better?

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  20. I have tried this recently with my very conservative parents, trying to get them to address the elephants they often leave in the room. I failed , ended up frustrated and branded “emotional”. Honesty works better wth some friends over others I have found. Great topic xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I think you’re right. Some people respond to honesty better than others. We all think we want honesty, but I’m not sure if we really want it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it`s good from good friends and with the right tactic . I have had the odd new acquaintance declare how honest they like to be and start from the get go. I have never found that very cool and a little bit offensive. If that makes sense ? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s actually very interesting thought…versions of honesty. What does honesty mean. I hadn’t thought if it as a word with multiple layers, but it is…..it’s grey, not black or white

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  21. I think honesty is the best policy, but I also think tact is essential. We don’t have to say things in a way that makes people feel bad. Seasoned with salt is the way to go for me. And there will be times when I’ll just choose not to say anything at all to keep the peace.

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  22. Hey, this made me think about my stance on honesty. As of late I have a real appreciation for honest communication. If I hurt you, tell me, if I look bad in whatever I am wearing tell me, if I am about to make a mistake by changing jobs/dating someone etc tell me. I feel the friends we have, are there for a reason and it’s not just so we have someone to share wine and make up tips with. I want the raw intimacy that comes with a friendship. The trust that when they honestly tell me their feelings that I will weight it up and not be overly sensitive about it. That’s just my thoughts on honesty in friendships.

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