A friend asks you a question and you cringe. If you give your honest answer you would probably be labeled rude, so you lie to spare their feelings and avoid conflict.
Brent Bean, a professor of communication at Brigham Young University – Idaho says:”The best communicator can always tell the truth.” Lying to spare someone’s feelings indicates poor communication ability, rather than tact.
Speaking truth liberates us and others. When you tell half truths, or lie you are betraying yourself and considered fake. Here are 5 ways you can stop being fake and start being you.
1. Tell the Truth When it Hurts
If a friend asks you, “Do you like my haircut?” and the answer is no, say no and then be specific. Say something such as, “I liked it better when your bangs were like this” or “I think the last cut you had framed your face better.” With that feedback they can, hopefully, get a better haircut next time. Thats true friendship.
2. If It’s Not Funny Don’t Laugh
Exchange that half-hearted, awkward, obligatory laugh with a statement such as: “I see how that could be funny, but for some reason it just didn’t work for me.” If that’s unnatural for you simply progress the conversation by telling a similar joke or story.
3. Tell Kids the Truth
Perceptive little children need to hear honesty from you yesterday! As Professor Bean said in a class lecture, “Is it better for your child to learn about Santa from you or from the bully down the street?” Imagine the heartbreak and confusion for the child if it’s the bullly down the street. You can keep Santa alive by explaining that Santa symbolizes characteristics your family believe in and that is why your family says they believe in Santa. Try to do it before someone less trustworthy than you breaks the news.
Children are adept at observing and remembering things you would prefer they didn’t. Denying those events when asked about them exemplifies a deceptive process that will be used against you by your child in the future. Exemplify open and honest communication and your child will likely return the favor.
4. Stop Asking “How Are You?” Unless You Mean It
“How are you?” has become the phrase to say in passing because it is commonly understood that we don’t expect an actual answer. The sentiment comes from a good place, usually. But there are more genuine ways to quickly acknowledge some one such as:
“Hey there!” “Hi.” “Ollo” “Hola” “Aloha” “Wingapo” “Bonjour” “Lookin’ good!” “Good to see you!” “Did you get a haircut?” “It’s a hot day, isn’t it?” “I’m freezing, how about you?”
Nonverbally you can:
Smile. Frown. Make a funny face. Puff your cheeks in frustration. Give a quick hug. High five. Pound it. Smack their butt. And so on.
These methods are just as quick as “how are you?” and create opportunity for more sincere interaction.
5. Allow your Feelings and Your Actions to Align
We oppress ourselves by suppressing our emotions and thoughts. We suppress emotions for differing reasons one of which is because we feel guilty about how we feel. Don’t do that to yourself.There are assertive ways to express a reoccuring uncomfortable emotion or thought process. The ways to do it vary per situation but I will give an example:
Say a family member keeps giving you advice about how to raise your children.You know this person loves you and understand they are trying to help. However, the constant “constructive criticism” makes you feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
Out of an unfounded fear of offending your family member, you endure these one-sided interactions.
Instead of allowing these conversations to continue it would helpful for you and the family member if you said something like, “To be honest, all this advice is a little overwhelming and discouraging. I don’t blame you that I feel this way, but would you mind if we talked about something else?”
Remember that when you are honest it is liberating for everyone. At this point you have established a clear boundary, and as humans we like that kind of social structure. You are willing to take the risk of potentially offending them because you value your relationship with them more than your fear of expressing your true feelings. More than likely, they value their relationship with you more than they value giving advice.
Thus, being honest and open builds the relationship whereas suppressing your true feelings ruins it.
Authenticity eliminates self-inflicted cognitive dissonance and produces long-term inner peace. Embrace who you are, your opinion, your boundaries and you will discover the true you. Surprisingly, you will also discover the people worth keeping in your life.
Melissa Thurm is a native Georgian, wife and the public relations specialist for Mikarose. She graduated with competency in educational/parental psychology, organized communication and public relations. email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mikarose.com