Honesty vs. Politeness

After a particularly harrowing day, I came to an interesting revelation: Honesty and politeness cannot be performed simultaneously.

I know some of you will scoff this idea. You believe it is possible and even noble to be honest and polite at the same time.

But think about each of these concepts.

Oil and Water. Matter and Antimatter. Incompatible.

Here’s why:

Honesty points out imperfections.
Pointing out imperfections is impolite.

Honesty is (often) construed as negative.
Negativity is impolite.

Honesty implies an act of criticism.
Criticism is impolite.

Politeness implies avoid hurting another person’s feelings.
Honesty can hurt feelings.

Writing and reading is a combined act between two people with different points of reference.
One person’s honesty is another person’s rudeness.

A lot of people proceed in life believing that putting a happy face at the end of a line of text automatically negates any negativity implied by the writer or reader. Or that adding a line such as “With all due respect…”

Can I politely say, “With all due respect, I think you are an asshat? :)”


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