Prompt: “is honesty always the best policy?”
Honesty is a slippery slope, it’s not a “black-and-white” situation, there is a grey area. I see honesty with adults and honesty with children as two different matters; before you pass judgment, hear me out…
Children: If we are completely honest with our children then we are stealing the ‘magic of youth’ from them; “Santa isn’t real”, “The Cookie Monster isn’t actually talking to you”, “You will never be a Space Cowboy”. In this case, honesty is NOT the best policy… BUT that doesn’t make it okay for us to deceive our tiny humans about everything– telling a child that “the doctor is giving them a shot because they were bad,” is a horrible mistruth—a mistruth which is unfair to the doctor and to the child… So, let your imagination run wild with this ‘truth teeter-totter’—we need to preserve ‘the magic’ for our youth, but not litter them with lies of convenience.
Adults: I feel that TACT is essential in dealing with adults; there is no need to be rude or facetious. However, I do feel that honesty is always the best policy… Let’s say a family member gives you a hideous sweater for your Birthday. Saying, “That is hideous, you did a horrible job” is hurtful and uncalled for. However, I would not lie either. My reasoning; if they believe you were pleased with the aforementioned ‘hideous sweater’ you have now dammed yourself to a future of ‘hideous Birthday sweaters’… With this lie you have created an awkward situation for yourself, and you’ve continued to waste your family member’s money on ‘hideous sweaters’… Most importantly, ONCE YOU TELL THE FIRST LIE, YOU MUST KEEP LYING, AND LYING! Therefore, tactful honesty is the best policy.
Sometimes, however; I believe, we need to keep our mouths shut, “just to save a little face”. For example, political conservations that tend to ‘go around in circles’– like the ones I see on my Facebook mini-feed. I could reply to each political Facebook ‘status update’, defending my opinions, and backing them up with facts—but oftentimes, I refrain. Perhaps, by scrolling by these statuses, with no reply, I am not being completely honest (because I do think about my replies), but, sometimes “saving face” is just as important.
P.S. If you are Under Oath, always tell the truth. Duhhhhh…..