“I’ll be honest…”
That phrase makes me cringe. When I hear those words, the first thing I think is, “Wait a minute – do you mean you weren’t already being honest? You have to tell me you’re getting ready to be truthful?” Naturally, I tend to think some part of what the speaker is saying just isn’t on the up-and-up.
It causes a reaction that’s likely the opposite of what the speaker wants, much like a phone call you immediately recognize as a recording that starts with, “Please don’t hang up the phone, because…” Click. Who has the time, right? I’m busy. I don’t have time for that nonsense.
And that’s the way it is with dishonest people. We just don’t have time for it, because it’s most likely fabricated. They’re fishing for something, working an angle, trying to get something out of you by whatever means necessary, or maybe just looking for attention. The problem is, all the villagers still remember the last time the boy cried “Wolf!”
As adults, most of us have learned the value of honesty, as well as the pitfalls of dishonesty. We can spot a liar a crooked mile away, especially if they’re a habitual liar and we’ve been their victim before. There’s a phrase where I grew up that describes the habitual liar perfectly: “He’d rather climb a tree and tell a lie than to stand on the ground and tell the truth,” meaning, of course, that lying has simply become a way of life for that person.
Okay – rant over. I don’t know why the phrase “I’ll be honest” sparks such a powerful reaction in me, but it does. And odds are, other people may have the same reaction when they hear it. Just a heads-up – you might want to eliminate that phrase from your vocabulary.
If you’re going to be honest, don’t tell me first that you’re getting ready to switch gears and go into truth-telling mode first. Take a hint from Nike – Just Do It.