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How honest should we be in relationships?

According to Dan Ariely's book, a little bit of lying is normal for us as human beings. Pamela Meyer says we are lied to between 10-200 times per day.

Yet honesty in relationships is the basis of intimacy, trust, and closeness. Should we strive for full honesty with our partners, or is it unattainable or undesirable?

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    Jul 26 2013: I believe that "complete honesty" is easily attainable, but not as desirable. We often hear that total honesty is the best foundation to build a relationship upon, but I think people are also oblivious to the fact that there are different intentions behind what people see as honesty.

    My policy is that if it affects or relates to your relationship in any way, and furthermore is in what you consider to be the best interests of your partner, be open with them. Otherwise, as Frank said, the principle of "just being honest" becomes used in a manner of contempt and torture. Communication in relationships can be somewhat sensitive, but it's best to moderate what you see as being faithful to someone, as opposed to being careless.
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      Jul 26 2013: Farida,
      I am curious....
      Why do you say being completely honest is not as desirable, and what do you mean by different intentions behind what people see as honesty?

      You say your policy is that if it affects or relates to your relationship in any way.....be open with them. I wholeheartedly agree with that. I don't understand your other comments though....will you help me with that?

      Thanks, and welcome to TED conversations
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        Jul 26 2013: Hi Colleen,

        Basically, I think what people see as complete honesty can sometimes not be as progressive as it sounds. Being completely honest means sharing anything and everything with someone, right? That means all that you say, think, do etc. The thing is, if you don't keep some of those things in check, you could actually end up careless and hurtful — especially when emotions like anger and jealousy are involved in the heat of the moment.

        As for different intentions behind what people see as honesty, we're all familiar with the axiom, "the truth hurts." Some people are well aware of this, and often tell their partner inconvenient things (like negative thoughts and opinions) solely to be inconsiderate. It's a cruel thing to think about, but I've witnessed it first-hand.

        Hope this is a good explanation, and thank you!
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          Jul 26 2013: Farida,
          I do not perceive that completely honest means sharing anything and everything with everyone. We can be selective about how much information we wish to share with certain people, can we not? Being aware of how much we can trust a certain person does not suggest dishonesty, it simply means that we can sense how much trust we choose to have with certain people.

          When we "know" our "self", we choose how we want to act/react with a person....yes?

          People tell their partner "inconvenient things"....negative thoughts and opinions soley to be inconsiderate. That doesn't seem honest to me.....does it to you?
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        Jul 26 2013: Ah, well I think this all depends on what we define as honesty to begin with, which can admittedly be subjective.

        The truth is, we are all flawed. Technically speaking, if someone were to constantly point out our flaws to us rather blankly, they could be seen as being honest. Although their intentions behind such "honesty" might not in themselves be honest, I do think situations like these fall under what people call total or complete honesty — as opposed to being selective with what we observe and say to people.

        So, to me, complete honesty infers both the good and the bad associated with honesty. It doesn't mean the same to everyone (as I believe we're discussing here), but I think this makes for an interesting premise overall.
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          Jul 26 2013: I agree Farida...first we need to be honest with ourselves, to be able to be honest with another person.

          Honestly, I don't perceive a "good" and "bad" honesty, and I agree that it doesn't mean the same to everyone:>)

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