Friday, 27 March 2015

Honouring honesty

A friend asked me the other day, 'What makes you angry the most?' I chewed on it for a while and spat out a few things. There was, though, a common thread to them all: People not being honest. For I believe that I am, largely speaking, an honest person and I expect others to be the same with me.
Benjamin Franklin: 'Honesty is the best policy.' Was he right?
Benjamin Franklin: 'Honesty is the best policy.' (Image from FB.)
It’s pretty accurate to say that you’ll find dishonesty at the root of most grievances people have with each other. This is especially so when it comes to relationship affairs (or non-affairs as they often are) and areas related to work.

The truth tends to out at some stage, so isn't it best to run with it from the get go?

Take a potentially budding relationship, or budding in the eyes of one side anyway, as an example. If you're the non-interested party, say it. Don't string the thing along when you've no genuine interest in it.

Now one 'positive' angle such carry on could be viewed from is that there's a fear in the unenthusiastic one of damaging the other's feelings. And with today's modern communication means, being a virtual friend without ever truly engaging has never been easier. So a 'friend game' can be played and maintained for some time.

However, it will come to a head, this being more so the case if a romantic notion of where things were going existed in the 'injured' party.

Plus, the more negative view is that people who engage in this behaviour are doing so for wholly selfish reasons. Keeping their options open, looking for attention, a feeling that they only need to click their fingers, or more precisely touch their keypads, in order to bring somebody back into their sphere of influence, these are the kind of things we're talking about here.

It's something I've witnessed and experienced with women in this part of the world with worrying regularity — but, of course, it's not exclusive to here (I’ve just personally engaged with Colombianas more than others in recent years).

Outside of relationships, practising a bit of diplomacy, or being economical with the truth, can have its benefits. Indeed in some scenarios, if just for a time, it may be the best course of action.

But saying yes when you really mean no or you haven't a clue, can't be condoned.

Take this example from one of Colombia's telecommunications providers, ETB. The company, for months, continuously promised one of its customers a higher-speed internet connection. Eventually, after a lot of time wasted, the customer was told that this couldn't actually be provided.

Granted, there are a few issues at play in the realms of customer service, or lack of service as it is, and dishonesty may not be the biggest culprit.
Honesty: It can be tough to deal with.
The truth can hurt, or at least shock. (From
Yet, effectively you had people saying yes to something when in reality they didn't know what the situation was.

In a Colombian context, a local friend here described it as 'appeasing out of fear in what is an insecure nation.' And it comes from the top, down. There's a belief that if you tell people what you think they want to hear, it makes things all the better. Of course in the long run it usually has the opposite effect.

It's not for nothing the saying 'Honesty is the best policy' came into being. It does, however, appear easier to utter than put into practice for some people.

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