We all grow up believing that ‘honesty is the best policy,’ but adulthood sometimes, may shake the very foundation of this belief. Even so, some situations need you to be completely honest while you need to go a little soft on your words in some others. In certain situations, you may find yourself at crossroads. You may be asking yourself if you should choose honesty or diplomacy.
Many people believe being diplomatic is nothing but being a liar. If you are going to be asked by a person, the password to your locker, will you give it to him? You obviously won’t? Where’s the honesty gone now? Please answer the poor soul, honestly! That’ll be sheer dumbness if you tell it. So, Is it wrong to lie? Yes, but this aspect can be made flexible depending upon the depth of the relationship of the person you are dealing with. Also, remember relationships based on lies don’t last long, so don’t make a habit of lying.
Being diplomatic is being able to put your point across in a much better way, so as to not hurt the sentiments of the person on the receiving end. Especially when it comes to criticism, correction, or pointing out flaws, it is always better to be diplomatic than to be completely honest.
Those who take pride in being “brutally honest” are typically more interested in being brutal than they are in being honest.Those words are meant to hurt rather than providing a helpful feedback. Also, brutal honesty doesn’t suit mankind much. It’s a defence mechanism used by most to hide their jealousy and mask their ego. We manipulate being honest depending on our moods and will. One fine day, we get up and start criticizing people around, finding faults that never existed in the first place, just because we are not in good mood or plain green in jealousy. Other day, we don’t like something said to us, as who gave the other person right to comment on our action. Nobody likes being called ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’, even if they know they are from the inside. I strongly believe, speak what you can bear to hear.
Indeed, sometimes difficult and uncomfortable things need to be said (and honesty in saying them is very important!). Usually, however, they can be said with tact and kindness.
It is not what we say but how we say it that matters the most. In the long run, honesty or diplomacy won’t matter. People may not remember what we corrected or criticised them for, but they will remember how we made them feel. This is important when dealing with family, friends, employees, and colleagues.
We needn’t be lying. Speaking the truth in a manner that people get our views correctly and are not emotionally or personally hurt is all that diplomacy is about.
Consider the following examples-
‘The dress is really good but it doesn’t go with your vibe’ instead of ‘You look terrible in this dress.’
Talking about someone’s grade, ‘Your grades this year weren’t up to the mark, try harder next time’ instead of ‘You are dumb, stupid kid and that’s the best you can do!’
Explaining something to your colleagues or employees, use ‘I see you are working hard and that’s appreciated but we need you to put in little more efforts this particular week’ instead of ‘Stop slacking and get ton work, you lazy person.’
Both the statements are to criticize or improve but they way they are said is different and hence, the different impact. While, the latter may hurt the person and cause a rift, the former may provide a insight to the person and they might understand your point.
We need to find the balance between the two, weigh all the option and choices, understand the situation well and choose your words wisely as they have the power to break or mend someone. When people ask about our opinion, they means to upgrade, so give them the best possible advice without sugar coating and even without giving them a tight slap.