in Self Improvement

I’ve always been drawn to the concept of transparency.

When you’re honest with someone about what’s happening in a situation that they might not be privy to, for example in a customer service situation, it can be highly beneficial.

It builds trust and confidence. The person lets their defenses down and listens to you, believing that you will be the one to tell them the truth, even if it paints you in a bad light.

But there’s one concept I was introduced to that I can’t quite wrap my head around — that of radical honesty.

It was first introduced to me on a little-known TV show called Lie To Me, about a team that assists in investigations by using applied psychology, interpreting behavior and microexpressions.

The one in the back with the shit-eating grin on his face? Yeah, that's the guy doing the radical honesty experiment.

The one in the back with the shit-eating grin on his face? Yeah, that’s the guy doing the radical honesty experiment.

See radical honesty is transparency on steroids. It’s about refusing to lie about anything and saying whatever that comes to your mind in the moment.

At first, I was thoroughly intrigued and highly fascinated.

But even lovers of openness have got to see the clear flaws with this approach.

First of all, there is no reason to volunteer certain information when it’s not asked for.

Should you tell your friend that her butt does look big (and as a result, fabulous) in that dress if she asks? Yes, yes you should.

But do you say that to an acquaintance at a cocktail party because it’s all that comes to mind when you see her? I’d think not.

Because while I’m fully supportive of being honest with your friends and loved ones, not every situation demands truth and openness.

And when it gets to the point where your words are emotionally harming someone because you happen to have seriously twisted, bullshit thoughts — other people shouldn’t have to suffer through that.

Mmm, that tastes like shit.

I mean, if radical honesty was supposed to be a thing, why would we have the ability to filter our thoughts and choose the words that come out of our mouths?

We have the ability to be selective for a reason. Not all thoughts are worth sharing. Let’s use that knowledge to use transparency for good, not evil.

So no, radical honesty should absolutely never be a thing.