Radical honesty: “Yes, those pants make your butt look big.”
“You have halitosis.”
“I’d like to have sex with you, no strings attached.”
There’s a bravery in this because the person is risking rejection and judgement from the people with whom they’re interacting. But there’s also an inner voice that reinforces this behavior by saying, “clearly, these people are weak if they can’t handle your honesty.” And “you’re just being honest.”
But the person strategizing radical honesty is often less honest with themselves because they’re not saying, “what you just said hurt that person and it didn’t actually do anything to create meaningful or healthy change in their life or in your relationship with them.”
What I like to try to understand is why did this person decided Radical Honesty was the way to go? How have they been hurting lately? Have there been recent relationship ruptures that have created this coping mechanism? Because that’s what it really is, a coping mechanism.
If you’re on the receiving end of being in a relationship with someone engaging in hurtful statements with the excuse of “just being honest” then I suggest responding to them by saying, “that was really hurtful, was it necessary?” We can be honest and also have tact and diplomacy. If you’ve tried this a few times and it’s not working, then having healthy boundaries and letting them know that this is a stressful relationship and if the way they interact with you doesn’t change to include kindness within their honesty then you don’t have the energy to continue engaging. They can choose how to respond to that and if they choose honesty without diplomacy then they’re choosing not to have that relationship. They made the choice, their pain’s lie of Radical Honesty is false – you are not weak for refusing to engage in it, you are strong for standing up for yourself and for expecting balance.
If this article has triggered something in you because you’ve been Radically Honest lately and you can’t figure out how you’re hurting other people. You genuinely don’t think you’ve been hurtful, but you also do see that the people in your life have been pushing back against the Radical Honesty – then maybe it’s time to talk with someone unbiased. Someone who can go over those interactions with you and see if the other person was being overly sensitive or if you were more insensitive that necessary, and learn how to find the balance to be honest while maintaining the important relationships in your life. It’s possible. It can actually bring you closer and heal relationships when you’re honest with tact.
If want an appointment to talk about Radical Honesty in your life, please feel free to contact me at (530) 994-5114 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org