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Reacher's avatar

Is honesty always the best policy?

Asked by Reacher (108points) December 17th, 2009

Most people, like me, like to be honest with others. But is it always the best policy on every occasion? Can you give examples for and against?

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18 Answers

tuesday242's avatar

yes,honesty is the best policy. if you cant trust someone then it is almost impossible to have a relationship of any sorts with them.

but then again we lie to our kids about Santa! but i guess thats ok

jenandcolin's avatar

Well…honesty might be but there are many different types of honesty.
Brutal honesty is sometimes necessary but not always the best route to take.
For example, if I was given a gift that I hated I wouldn’t tell someone that. I would either keep it or ask them for a gift receipt (not usually though). Asking for a GR would send the message that you aren’t 100% into the gift w/o telling someone “I hate it”.
So, I think it is but it must be done with tact.

Merriment's avatar

It is the best policy but as we all know sometimes you have to bend the policy to best serve the customer :)

bea2345's avatar

Call a spade a spade; no need to call it a bloody shovel.

CMaz's avatar


If your wife says she is fat.

You say, “no honey you are perfect, let’s make love.”

Wait that would be the truth, no matter what.

Basically some people just can’t handle the truth.

phillis's avatar

@ChazMaz, I keep running into your answers. I guess we are attracted to the same types of Q’s for the most part. But I just LOVE your answers. I had to say it.

Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. I found that, the more I commited to it, the more I had to learn about how dishonest I used to be. I didn’t like that that picture, which motivated me to keep working toward a more palatable way of life.

As @jenandcolin suggested, there are different types of honesty, including the ubiquitous brutal honesty. That jellie is right! IMO, that can be used extra sparingly. You dpn’t want to be so nasty that your message can’t get through because you’ve pissed somebody off so bad!

tinyfaery's avatar

I have to lie at my job every day. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have a job. It is hard to tell someone 5 times that the attorney is not in when he is. But hey, it;s in my best interest to lie.

phillis's avatar

Aw, I’m sorry to hear that, tinyfairy. But it seems like you’re adjusting to it….less internal conflict, that sort of thing. Is this true?

tinyfaery's avatar

I have no problem with lying or liars. I never have.

phillis's avatar

That;s good! One less problem, right?

YARNLADY's avatar

If by honesty, you mean not lying, I believe it is, but I have to qualify that by saying I don’t mean you must blurt every mean thing that ever comes to mind, and tell “the whole truth” in every circumstance. Sometimes it is better to just keep your mouth shut.

If by honesty, you mean not stealing or cheating, than a great big YES

phillis's avatar

GA, YARNLADY. Well said.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Honesty is usually the best policy but there are times when it can bite you in the ass.

Example: I went out for drinks with my girl friend. Some guys she knew came over and sat at our table. I went to the bathroom. When I came back one of the men asked “Hey beautiful. Want to sit on my lap?” I was disgusted and I obviously declined his offer. I later shared this with my fiancĂ© and he isn’t happy about me going out anymore. He thinks all men are scumbags and that I won’t be able to handle these situations. I find myself wondering whether or not I should have informed him of that little piece of information. Maybe sometimes it’s best to keep certain things to yourself. I don’t consider that lying.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 As I mentioned, honesty does not = telling everything that is on your mind. However, in your case, communication is the subject you need to pay more attention to. Discuss with your finance exactly what are his expectations in your relationship, and see how they mesh with yours.

mattbrowne's avatar

Mostly, yes. But there are exceptions. Sometimes we have to avoid hurting people’s feelings.

phillis's avatar

Good point, Matt. Especially if it’s something they haven’t realized yet, or cannot help. Everybody isn’t lithe and graceful in every situation. You have to make allowances for people and their shortcomings, because they’re always going to have them.

mattbrowne's avatar

@phillis – The best strategy if possible is to say nothing to avoid a lie. But there are exceptions. If you get invited to dinner and the hosts really work hard doing all the cooking. Then it turns out you don’t really like the meal. At the end they ask you how it was. When this happens of course the reply isn’t totally enthusiastic, but it can’t be a totally honest reply. In an way it’s not really completely dishonest either, because it also means ‘I really appreciate your efforts to be a good host preparing all the food’.

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