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eagldove's avatar

Why are people so afraid of the truth?

Asked by eagldove (63points) January 8th, 2011

People seem to be afraid of telling the truth for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. People seem to be afraid of hearing the truth for fear of having their feelings hurt. I would rather say and hear the truth, so there are no deceptions. I hate trying to second guess what people are “really” saying. If I hear the truth, I can act on it and make changes if necessary. If I tell the truth, I am not misleading anyone. It just seems so much more simple and easy and no one has to live in a state of ignorance.

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14 Answers

hotgirl67's avatar

People can be so afraid of the truth because it can really hurt.Sometimes I think it depends on how you say it but there are still times no matter how you sugercoat it, that the truth is still going to be devasting.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I think you’ve answered your own question. They’re afraid. Fear is the answer. The truth can cause us to face facts that are not always pleasant and would rather be avoided. Truth can sometimes be harsh.

Yet truth can also be freeing. I think the delivery has a lot to do with it. Phrasing the truth the right way can make the difference between disappointment and anticipation. It’s called diplomacy.

I always try to tell the truth in a way that I know will do the best good.

eagldove's avatar

I understand the need for tact and the fear of knowing. When it comes down to it though, I just can’t see how someone would choose ignorance, rather than knowing the truth. There are plenty of things to be afraid of and many levels of fear. Trust me, I’ve felt fear, but fear of the truth just doesn’t seem that bad in comparison. I would be willing to face that fear anyday.

thorninmud's avatar

Sometimes, in service to a “higher” truth, it may be better to withhold or distort facts. The classic example is the fire in a crowded theater. The fire is a brute fact, which is one level of truth. A higher level of truth is that announcing that brute fact will result in needless deaths. That’s a flagrant example, of course, but life is full of subtler examples.

You may go into a car dealership knowing the price you’ll be willing to pay for a car (a brute fact), but that’s not the amount you’ll offer. The higher truth (a mutually agreeable price) is better served in a roundabout way.

Human relationships work the same way. The higher truth—that it’s to our mutual benefit to live in harmony—may be ill-served by an unfiltered airing of everything we know.

Like most of life, it’s not clear-cut. Wisdom, rather than categorical policy, is called for.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t think we should ever fear the truth. It does set us free, in more ways than most are aware of.

Liars fear being exposed, not hurting another, deciept is always selfishly motivated.

Those that fear hearing the truth, really fear it’s going to mean they have to makes some serious changes in their lives and relationships and they’d prefer to not go there, live in the fog of denial.

I’m in the total honesty camp, not brutally so in terms of unkindness, but, as I have been told, I am ‘formidable and sincere.’
The healthiest relating is always going to take place between well adjusted people who beleive in total transparency in their relationships with self and others.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Holding one’s counsel is important, too. Just because you know something or suspect something, it doesn’t mean you need to tell or volunteer. Offering unsolicited opinions under the guise of “being honest” is not exactly a good thing. Likewise, be “honest” because it unburdens you of guilt but ruins someone else’s sense of security (Such as a parent telling a teen that they have been having an affair for several years, and the other parent doesn’t know.)

eagldove's avatar

Okay, tell me this. Say I know someone who writes great music, but can’t sing. Would I really want to withhold that opinion from them and have them go sing for others? Then I have to explain I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, so I let them get their feelings hurt by others instead, not to mention the monumental embarrassment they have now experienced. Sure, that person may not like the fact that I said they weren’t a good singer, but they can deal with it a lot easier than the alternative. I just don’t see how lying or omission of the truth ever helped anyone. I do, however, recognize the importance of presenting the truth to someone in a “good” way.

eagldove's avatar

By the way, @BarnacleBill, if a parent were having an affair, that’s bad enough in itself. But if they told their kid before telling their spouse, they suck as parents as well. I’m not saying the kid shouldn’t know, and from them better than others for sure, but not like that. That would need to be a “whole” family discussion. I would also make sure the kid knew they were in no way at fault. That falls under the whole discussion of HOW to tell the truth. I wouldn’t leave kids in the dark by not telling them things, but I can understand waiting until something was age appropriate. My original question for this discussion was asked from an adult perspective as it pertains to adults. I hadn’t really considered kids in this. I still believe there should be no deception between adults and kids, but there’s definitely a difference. I guess that brings in a whole new aspect though. Different psyches handle things differently, so you’d definitely want to present the truth in a more sensitive way for more sensitive people, huh?

thorninmud's avatar

@eagldove In the case of the inept singer, who’s to say? There’s the curious case of Florence Foster Jenkins who managed to fill Carnegie Hall by virtue of the sheer awfulness of her singing. I think the case could be made that she was better off for having pursued her passion than had she been dissuaded by well-meaning friends.


coffeenut's avatar

The truth is one of the worst things in the world…..Truth will shatter their little bubble of reality that they have created….and expose them to the shocking real world…

People like and want to be lied to….. a convincing lie is better than the truth… some

eagldove's avatar

Yeah, I know a couple people who have their own little reality. That’s fine for them until it affects other people. Then it’s a major problem.

As for people liking and wanting to be lied to, you can count me out of that one.

coffeenut's avatar

I’m sorry I wasn’t clear, My answer is in regards to large groups of people…...

flutherother's avatar

Because according to an old proverb the truth is bitter and lies are sweet

shoebox's avatar

because the truth hurts

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