The Daily Stoic for October 11th, “Honesty As Our Default”.
“How rotten and fraudulent when people say they intend to ‘give it to you straight.’ What are you up to, dear friend? It shouldn’t need your announcement, but be readily seen, as if written on your forehead, heard in the ring of your voice, a flash in your eyes—just as the beloved sees it all in the lover’s glance. In short, the straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat—you know when they are in the room with you.”—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 11.15
Today’s stoic meditation asks us to stop using sentences like “I’m going to be straightforward with you…”, “I’ll be honest…”, or “No disrespect, but…”.
Honesty As Our Default
In my case, I think this is unnecessary advice. I have a reputation for being always honest and straightforward, to the point of seeming “rude“. I have talked before about how a slice of pizza cost me one of my best friends. I was making a joke back then, but the honesty was probably part of the problem.
Some months ago, one of my best friends’ sister had a baby. As the proud aunt of the baby, she sent us some pics of him, asking us, “what do you think? Isn’t he cute?“. The fact is, the kid was ugly. Really ugly. Ok, I know I don’t like children, and especially babies, but yeah, the kid looked like this baby from the horror movie “It’s alive”.
Yes, I know this sounds like I’m a terrible person, but I told her the truth. I said “Well, he’s kind of ugly” and, obviously, she took it amiss, and got angry with me.
I understood her feelings, but I didn’t feel bad or guilty. She asked for my opinion (without me asking her to send me pictures of this baby), and I gave it to her. With time, she forgot about it, and we keep on being friends.
Moral of the story: it’s always better to always be honest. Now, my friend knows I will always tell her the truth, and be honest with her, even if it’s not pretty.
I completely agree with today’s Daily Stoic, “Honesty As Our Default”. Always being sincere and honest is something I do, in spite of having earned a reputation of being rude or impolite for doing so.