I’d like to preface this article by briefly pointing out what I mean by being real.
Being real is not the same thing as being cruel or malicious. Criticizing people, insulting them, and pointing out their failures for sport is not being real, it’s being abusive.
Being real is about taking the time and making the effort to be genuine with people, and it can make a big difference to your sense of self-worth and the quality of your relationships with people.
Now, there are certain situations perhaps when you might judge lying through omission to be your only solution. And though some ethical hardliners would disagree with me, I think that there’s a time and a place for opting to stay silent.
Let’s say, for example, that someone is terminally ill and you believe that they brought it on themselves with their lifestyle choices.
There’s no point in telling them so, except to have them suffer more. If someone can’t do anything about the thing that you mean to criticize, and the judgment that you intend to make can only bring added suffering to a person, there is absolutely no point in your making them aware of it in my view.
However, in general, the rule should be that you always make the choice of being real with people.
Here are 7 reasons why being real is more important than being nice.
1. It’s the right thing to do
Being honest with people is a matter of ethics. The old saying ‘honesty is the best policy’, cliché as it may seem, still rings true. Not being real with people can do irreparable damage to our relationships in different ways.
Nobody likes to have the wool pulled over their eyes, nobody wants to be lied to, everybody wants to feel that they have a firm footing in reality. When you are trying to decide whether, to be honest with someone or not, put yourself in their position and ask yourself what you would prefer if it was you.
2. It shows you care
If someone you are friends with is doing something harmful to themselves or to others, intervening and making your views on their behavior doesn’t make you an enemy, it makes you a true friend. Enablers are people who allow or encourage others to persist in destructive behaviors, either out of self-interest or lack of true concern.
A drug addict, for example, is usually surrounded by enablers, most of whom might also be recreational drug users, but haven’t sank as far as the addict in question. For this reason, rehabilitation programs always insist that recovering drug addicts pledge never to see anyone who uses drugs again.
3. It’s a sign of respect
If you really respect a person, you tell them the truth. It shows that you can communicate with them as an adult, and mean to treat them as such.
4. It’s more helpful
Let’s use a typical example that we’ve all experienced. Let’s say that you’re going out with a friend and he/she’s getting dressed and it’s all wrong. He/she has tried 5 different combinations, you’re already late, and he/she is very anxious about not looking right.
You tell them they look fine, it’s all in their head, and allow them to go out looking terrible. It may seem nicer in the moment to reassure them, but over the course of the night, your friend will be aware of not looking good and it will ruin their night.
It would be far preferable to let them know when they can still do something about it that they should, and help them make the right choice. Even the possibility of their feeling bad later on should motivate you to be honest with them, if you’re a true friend.
5. It takes courage
Being real is often the most difficult and uncomfortable road to go down. Being honest with people can cause them to see things in themselves and in life in general that they simply don’t wish to see.
However, life is real, there are many things that are difficult to face up to, but they happen nonetheless. Illusions necessarily bring disillusionment in time. Being real with someone while they still have the option to do something about it can prevent them experiencing much greater pain later when life forces the truth upon them.
6. It’s an investment
By being real with people, you are investing in real relationships with them. When people see you as you are, and know how you see them, this brings you closer together because it inspires mutual trust.
Relationships that are just based on good etiquette can never reach the same depth as a relationship that’s based on being real.
7. People know where they stand with you
When you’re being real, you’re setting healthy boundaries between you and others. When you’re always being nice and acquiescing to every demand, people don’t know your boundaries and start trespassing on them, making you become unhappy and begin to quietly resent them.
You might even start avoiding them altogether.
Either way, your friendship is not as it should be. Being real means asserting yourself and saying no to people when they ask too much of you. Not asserting yourself from the beginning means you might become aggressive or passive-aggressive and create scenes unpleasant for you and others.
Being real is about saying what you mean and meaning what you say. By doing this you inspire trust in people and they’ll always take you seriously. By respecting others, you’ll receive the respect you deserve in return.
Do you agree that being real is more important than being nice?