Being honest might not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones.

Being honest might not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones. – John Lennon

If you don't recognize this icon of American Politics, this is Honest Abe Lincoln.

If you don’t recognize this icon of American Politics, this is Honest Abe Lincoln. He could not tell a lie, so rumor has it.

What does that mean?
This quote is about a quality which I have fairly strong feelings: honesty. I believe that anyone who expects you to lie to them has at least an ego problem, if not many others.

This quote states that being honest will likely cost you a number of friends. Telling people the hard truths will offend some. That’s OK. If they walk out of your life in a huff, even better.

The ones who leave, they weren’t really friends, were they? They may have been close acquaintances, but my definition of a friend requires an ability to tell and receive the truth, even the ones which are a little unpleasant.

The quote ends by saying that the ones who remain, those are your true friends. They can take the truth, although they may give you some coaching on tact afterwards. These are the people who are strong enough to take the truth, and to give it back to you, when you need it most.

Why is the truth important?  
Can you imagine what your life would be like if none of your friends were honest with you? Even total strangers would be better friends than a bunch of people who acted as if they were allergic to the truth! That wouldn’t work out very well, would it?

How could you trust your friends, if you felt they wouldn’t tell you the truth? How could you rely on them, if you weren’t sure if they were being honest? Would they do something, or just say they would, and then not do it? You’d be second guessing and stressing yourself half to death, right?

Instead, we want to surround ourselves with people we can trust, at least within reason. And the truth will cause friction, that’s pretty much a given. Not everyone will be pleased with what what you are going to tell them. To me, that is their problem, not mine.

But in a world increasingly focused on image and appearance, having someone who will give it to you straight is refreshing. All that remains is to figure out who is willing and able to take the truth, and to fine tune your delivery thereof (referred to as tact, or so I have been told).

Where can I apply this in my life?
I would hope you apply this often, and in nearly every portion of your life. Now I will point out that there are some questions which are not so much a request for an honest answer as a trap. “Does this dress make me look fat?” is a classic example of the trap, posing as a question.

People who know me usually know better than to ask me the question. Depending on my mood and the relationship we have, a question like that could get any number of responses. At the high end of the tact scale would be a suggestion regarding a different dress. See how that works?

Tact says that you should be honest, but only as brutal as absolutely necessary. A truly brutal response to the dress question might be that it isn’t the dress, but last night’s cheese cake, that is making you look fat. But you need a special relationship to get a way with that answer.

So when are you less than honest with your friends? When do you tell the “little white lie” to them? When does the “little white lie” turn into something more? How do you tell them the truth after giving them a story what wasn’t quite as honest as it probably should have been?

Honesty, and your level of comfort with it, is a lifestyle. Some people just can’t seem to tell the truth. They usually end up in jail or politics. The rest of us are on a scale somewhere between relatively honest to exceeding and excruciatingly honest.

Then there is the level of tact. Some can tell a painful truth in a suave and comforting manner. Others will hit you with the truth in a manner which is blunt and painful. Take a moment and consider where you are on these two scales, and if it is different depending on the circumstances.

Honesty is also a fundamental aspect of your character. Your character is who you are, what you believe, and how you behave. Your reputation is how others perceive your character. How do others know you, and if asked, how honest would they say you are? How tactful would they say you are?

Do you think you would be happy with their assessment of you? What would you want to change? How about the other way around? How would you rate your friends? Have you ever considered being honest with them about how you view their honesty?

We all have flaws. For many of us, absolute honesty isn’t something we will ever achieve. How close do you want to get? How much effort will you put into the effort? Will you try to find friends who appreciate your honesty?

Do your friends encourage you to be honest, or are you the most honest of the group? How does that impact your desire to be honest around them, or around others? Have you ever given these thoughts any consideration? Will you do so now?

From: Twitter, @Conservative_VW
confirmed at :
Photo by Harris Walker

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17 Responses to Being honest might not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones.

  1. Viviana 13 July 2016 at 7:16 am #

    Thank you for this reflection.

    • philosiblog 16 July 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving such a kind comment.

  2. Sarah 27 June 2016 at 8:13 am #

    I find that I am honest and learned with time among my circle, that it is not how you say it but that you say anything at all. I watch my honesty backfire as I discovered conversations were going on behind my back. I realized that among my peers, I was not deserving of the honesty that I felt would make our friendships authentic, the same honesty I gave. I slowly realized that people were more content with talking about the problem rather than ever addressing it. I know that no one is perfect but it has become a realization of mine that I may not have a single forthcoming friend. Ive realized that honesty is an unappreciated virtue.
    I told myself that maybe someday I will come across that genuine friend or maybe some people aren’t meant to have those kind of people. Maybe we are meant to be that spark in people’s lives but we aren’t meant to have that in return.

    • Sarah 27 June 2016 at 8:22 am #

      I thank you for this blog post. It was insightful and something that I hold dear. I’ve realized a lot with my experience, and maybe some good will come out of it.

    • philosiblog 16 July 2016 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing your experience.

      Yes, Honesty is underappreciated today. We can look to many of our leaders and understand why. Lying, cheating, evading and being a jerk seem to be the way to get ahead. But the truth will come out. Keep your head high and do what you believe to be right, whether others believe or not. Virtue is it’s own reward, even if it is a little lonely at times. Eventually you will find the right people. Keep looking.

  3. Nat 11 June 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog post today. Much needed to read and much thanks for writing it.

    • philosiblog 15 June 2015 at 2:58 am #

      It was my pleasure to write it, and I’m glad you took the time to leave such a nice comment. Thanks.

  4. nano856 17 November 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    I was looking up the quote, which led me to ‘anupturnedsoul’, then to ‘read more’, directly to your blog. Great post, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the comments after. I will be subscribing to both blogs. Thanks, you both made my day! Love and peace, (never wasted),

    • philosiblog 18 November 2013 at 4:50 am #

      Thanks. Nice that you found your way here, by however circuitous route it may have been.

      And yes, I agree. In giving love and peace, they give back more than they give out. So even if they are not well received, you still benefit.

  5. anupturnedsoul 17 October 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Reblogged this on An Upturned Soul and commented:
    I nominated philosiblog the other day for a bundle of blog awards, but I didn’t do the obligatory notification thing because I didn’t feel like doing it. I’ve decided to do it this way. And this way I can share the sort of mind food which I find delicious.

    This particular post hit the nail on the head of something I am deeply cogitating at the moment, and something which I have always debated over. To be or not to be myself around others, or something like that.

    Someone once said to me that I should feel free to tell them the truth even if it hurts them. This struck me as odd for several reasons.

    Real truth does not hurt, the awful truth on the other hand is designed to cause pain. The awful truth is seldom the real truth. The pain usually tells you which is which, unless of course you’re only comfortable with lies, then the real truth will hurt and the awful truth may be something more pleasurable.

    What prompted this someone to make this statement was that they had taken offense to a remark I had made, which was a flippant one, just me being myself, which is often flippant.

    I had thought that I was free to be myself in their company, but this interaction and the fallout from it showed me that I wasn’t. They wanted to control what I could and couldn’t say based on how it affected them. It seemed that everything I said and even things I didn’t say hurt them. I felt censored around them after this incident, and needless to say this friendship ended.

    Love this post and what it expresses!

    • philosiblog 19 October 2013 at 2:57 am #

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Sorry to hear of your experience, but you seem to have learned something from it, so it wasn’t a total waste, was it?

      • anupturnedsoul 19 October 2013 at 3:36 am #

        My pleasure!

        Nothing is ever waste unless we let it go to waste. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially in retrospect, it has reaped many interesting and illuminating rewards.

      • philosiblog 19 October 2013 at 7:16 pm #


        Yep, the only thing which is wasted is that which we choose to waste, or through inaction, allow to become waste.

        The more difficult the trial, the more one can learn about themselves. Been there, done that. Chose not to buy the t-shirt. 8)

  6. 108fate 17 October 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Yes, I would agree our articles are quite the same. I completely agree, and very well written. Nice!

    • philosiblog 19 October 2013 at 2:54 am #

      And you blog is the reason I write my blogs first, then look for those with similar content. If I’d seen yours first, it would have been over. 8)
      Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving a comment. Hope to hear from you again.


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