Why complete honesty affects relationships in these 3 counterintuitive ways

BY: YourTango

Is it really possible to be too honest in relationships? The answer is a definite ... maybe.

While complete honesty with your boyfriend, girlfriend or bestie might seem like the best policy, being too open about your feelings could lead to either you or the person you're with feeling as though you're a victim of mind games.

While no one wants to be manipulated by a lying partner, couples in even the healthiest relationships tell each other white lies from time to time.

That's because, along with the obvious advantages that come from being honest, there are some serious disadvantages to demanding complete and total honesty of yourself and other, especially when it comes to your romantic relationships.

Imagine that your best friend just got a new hair cut she absolutely loves, but you think the cut is unflattering. Should you give her your honest opinion about how you think she looks, or would it be better to tell a white lie and spare her feelings?

Most people would probably choose to lie to their friend no matter how horrible they think she looks, just because it’s part of our social code. As a society, most of us prefer to lie about our negative opinions than risk saying something that might hurt another person’s feelings.


Honesty can be a tricky thing. When you talk about verifiable facts, the truth is fairly obvious, but things get far more tricky when you talk about opinions, ideas, and the like.

If you choose to expect, or even demand, complete honesty in your relationships, your strict no-lying policy could start feeling like you're playing mind games in these three counter-intuitive ways:

1. You'll feel annoyed when others aren't as honest with you

When you live your life from the standpoint of total honesty, it’s natural that you would expect others to live the same way as you do.

However, in most cases, you’ll be disappointed because most people will automatically adhere to the social norms of telling white lies instead of sharing their true opinions.

2. You'll come across as rude

When you honestly state your opinions without sugar-coating them, some people will respond to you negatively. Even if you didn't mean to offend them by your statement, they'll find your truthfulness rude.

When you value sharing your honest opinion above concern for how others will react to what you say, they will usually respond with confusion, sadness, anxiety, frustration, anger, or worse.

3. You’ll have fewer friends

When you make a habit of being honest all the time, you will have fewer friends. That’s because most people feel safest when they know that you’ll follow the social norms.

However, the friends you do have will be those who truly love and appreciate you for being you.

As you can see, the disadvantages of being honest all the time are significant.

However, if being consistently truthful is important to you, then the drawbacks of always speaking your truth will not be important.

For you, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of being honest all the time.