Radical Honesty: How would it affect your life?

This Esquire article discusses the author’s encounter with Radical Honesty, a philosophy that puts forth the belief that it is never right or proper to lie in any personal relationship. The literal truth must always be told. “Yes, you look fat in that dress.” “Yes, boss, I was planning on leaving the company to start my own business.” “I don’t want your mother to visit - I think she’s a bitch.” (The article elaborates a little more on the founder’s conception.)

The article, while humorous, did make me wonder: if you practiced Radical Honesty fully in your daily life, how would things turn out? What do you think the founder would say about any problems you encountered?

From the article:

Yeah, I don’t see how that could possibly go badly.

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry suggested the menage a trois with his girlfriend and her roommate? :smiley:

Oh, NOT a good idea. I’d get fired, and probably divorced!

This is a joke, right? The world runs on lies, whether people like it or not.

And upon actually reading the article, do we really need more assholes in the world? I don’t think a dirty old man who justifies his assholery by the term of honesty (and who openly admits that he actually lies a lot) is someone we need to emulate.

Remember the movie Liar, Liar? Yeah.

Yeah… I’d never be able to hold a job - any job - for more than about 20 seconds.

Well, it would certainly remove my job, most of my family, 90% of my friends and my husband within the first hour or two.

So yeah, I’d say it might affect me.

I practiced radical honesty for a few years and it didn’t go too badly.

Then I turned 4.

On the first day, I’d lose my job and everyone I know. By the end of the first week, I’m pretty sure I’d be sedated and in a straight jacket at the state mental hospital. That sort of thing goes downhill quickly.

I actually try to practice radical honesty. Not because I think it will turn out well, but just to test my skills at either a) rationalizing what I just said, or b) convincing the other person that they’ve misunderstood my true intent. Yeah, I know, I’m sick.

I can see that. :slight_smile:

A lot of sextagenarians stumble across Radical Honesty. The usual thing to do is get them some cholinesterase inhibitors and try to be patient with them.

Something like 15% honesty would get me murdered at home.

Fine! Mea Culpa

I’m a chick.

I have to say, the article is hilarious.

I also have a secret confession.

I’m the kind of non-confrontational person who hates to be honest and in your face. But I love watching other people do it, get into fights, conflicts, watch people being rude.

Like this:

I lack the balls (and ovaries) to do this myself, but I would love watching it, even knowing how rude and awful it was. My own moment of brutal honesty.

I’ve found that whenever someone says, “I tell it like it is,” or “I call a spade a spade,” that’s usually code for “I’m a rude, insensitive asshole.”

I’m a southern (white) woman, raised by other southern women. For good or for ill, Radical Honesty is the exact 180 from how I’ve been taught to interact with others. If asked if a flaming bath of sulfur was uncomfortable, my first instinct would be to say, “Oh, it’s fine, just a touch warm.” I think if I uttered the phrase “this coffee tastes like shit” to a waiter, my head would explode.

I find myself wondering how often “radically honest” people say kind, appreciative things to others? “You know, a few years ago I was having a hard time and you were really there for me. Thank you!” …or… “I just love seeing you play music. You have a real talent and your passion really shows!” In the scene with the waiter, the guy didn’t say “I love coming here because of the great pastry!” No, he only said the bad things. How honest is it to only say half of the truth?

Nah–radical honesty seems to me to be an excuse for saying nasty things. Just the newest version of making honesty an excuse for meaness. “It’s a virtue that I say mean things! Really!”

But how many “honest” but mean things could we all say about one another? None of us can live up to that much scrutiny.

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” is not a terrible rule to live by a lot of the time. So much of what makes us annoyed is so petty that it’s not worth hurting others over, and the “honest” criticism often wounds more deeply than the original offense did.

“And proud of it.” You can be honest without being an asshole, which is apparently some big secret, since people never seem to get it.

Gosh, that is so fascinating.

What got me is he seemed to assume that everyone around him cared about his authentic feelings. Asserting his reality everywhere he goes isn’t honesty, it’s aggression. What if they felt equally empowered to reply “Who gives a rat’s ass”?

OTOH, I have a hard time imagining a life where you constantly hide your actual feelings when people DO ask you a direct question. How do you ever get your needs met?