Radical Honesty Experiment

Do we really want to know the truth, really?  I think we don’t, most of the time.  When we say, “How do I look?”, do we want to know whether we look okay or do we want to be told we look okay?  What about, “How are you?”  How many of us really, truly want to know how someone is when we ask?  If the answer you’re given annoys you, you have less than five minutes to listen, or you spend the time they’re talking thinking about yourself, then you didn’t really want to know.

Other thoughts running through my mind this morning:


I’m afraid.  I’m afraid that being honest with others will destroy friendships.  (But then I think, if I’m not being honest…how much of a friendship is it really?)  I’m afraid that no one is going to like me.  (But then I think, I’m not supposed to care about that.  But I do!  I care very much.  I want to be liked!!)  I’m afraid that I’m not going to like myself when I’m being honest.  (But I don’t like myself very much right now anyway, so much negativity that I can’t seem to shake, no matter how hard I try, around in my heart and head.)  I’m afraid that lack of honesty isn’t the problem, isn’t the cause of my pain…I’m afraid it’s something more like extreme narcissism or mental illness.  (What better way to find out, really, than to just be honest and see!)  I’m afraid of confrontation, I’m afraid letting it all out and ….what?…. being free?  Of not having to be so careful with my words all the time?  Of holding every little thing inside, until it reaches so high I can’t feel anything else?

Is it enough to just not lie?  That’s not very radical, is it? (Or is it?)  Do I have to be ruthless, brutal, to be radically honest?  I sure hope not.  That doesn’t seem right either.

Did you know that radical honesty is not an original idea?  I have been contemplating this experiment for quite some time, thinking how enlightened I must be, how profound and far-out.  Then, I happened upon this website and this experiment/interview.  Darn.  I guess I’m not so enlightened after all.  I’m still giving this a whirl.  I have to.

I think about the movie “Liar, Liar” where the main character can’t tell a lie for 24 hours.  I think this is the kind of “honesty” is what the doctor has in mind, but I don’t know whether that is actually freeing or helpful.  In the movie, he’s not just honest all the time; often, he’s just blurting out whatever comes to his mind.


I had conversations yesterday with two different sets of friends, which was interesting.  We talked about how often we lie, why we lie, what we lie about.  I also found out that someone I don’t know very well is probably a kindred spirit in a couple different ways, and I’ve been missing out!

Last night, I was honest with my husband about something that had been weighing on my mind.  It’s been there for a bit, but I kept trying to “nicely” hint about it instead of just coming right out with it.  This is something I really have to work on, as it’s my custom to try to sugarcoat things or stew about them until he pulls them out of me.  Really, though, it’s so much easier to just get it out and over with.  After I said what I needed to say, he knew where I stood (which he already knew because he knows me and he’s not a dummy) and we both felt better.  I don’t have to be annoyed about it (because I’ve already addressed it) and he doesn’t have to be annoyed every time I “hint” (because I don’t have to do that anymore).  Easy peasy.  Why didn’t I do that sooner??!

**You may have noticed that I used current tense and past tense for different parts of this post as well as the “stream of consciousness” non-flow….the only edit I made to this post was to move one paragraph from the middle to near the end.**