Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is it possible to be too honest?

Everyone knows that honesty is very important in all aspects of our lives. My mom always says “I hate a liar” and I think that most of us feel the same way but are there times that being too honest is actually a bad thing?

Well, first of all I’m not sure that the term “too honest” is the correct term. Perhaps a better expression to use might be “over sharing”. For me, being honest simply means telling the truth and not misleading someone else. I don’t believe that it is possible to be too honest but I do believe it is possible to say too much.

Have you ever met someone and within 10 minutes knew their entire life story? This is an example of over sharing. I never want to find out that someone has lied to me but that doesn’t mean that I need to know every intricate detail of their past. It’s easy to tell others things about ourselves that might not be any of their business. We’ve all done this before and many times we regret it later. Trusting in others to keep our private most thoughts only to themselves seldom works out.

Everyone has said something that they live to regret and if this is something that has happened to you more than once you might need to reevaluate if you are guilty of over sharing. It’s an easy habit to start and just as easy to break if you learn to listen to yourself. Here are some signs that will tell if you have a habit of saying more than you should.     

  • The person that you’re talking to did not ask you about what you are sharing with them, it came only from you.
  • The person you’re speaking with seems uncomfortable or has become very quiet.
  • The other person suddenly seems disinterested and is looking around at others or not seeming to pay attention to you.
  • You are hearing a lot of sounds such as “Uh hums” and a lot of head shaking but very little talk.
  • The other person is showing signs of “defensive” body language such as folded arms or sitting or standing in an unrelaxed position.

If any of these things happen to you when you are talking to someone it could be an indication that you are telling them more information than they care (or need) to hear. If this is the case, you might want to talk about topics of more general interest. It has been my experience that the most honest people among us are the same people that tend to over share. Honesty is one thing, intimacy is another.

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