You're Not Being "Honest." You're Being Mean.
There are a lot of things about life I don’t understand. Some of them are Leap Years, how the technology of video calls work, and how coffee can smell so good but taste so bad. Some of those can be explained. Some things, not so much.
There are other things in life that I don’t understand that I don’t think I ever will and while it’s easy to devote energy to trying to comprehend, rarely does it get you anywhere. So here, I find myself with a notebook and a pen, knowing I won’t understand, but wanting to make sense of it anyway.
When someone premises something with “No offense, but.”
When someone shrugs and says, “I just don’t have a filter.”
When someone defends their actions with “I’m just honest.”
Why do we let that slide?
If you turn to someone with the “no offense, but” and proceed to tell them something that you know will offend them, as if your two-word prefix will stop the hurt, what you are doing is childish and wrong.
If after they are offended your defense is that you just “don’t have a filter” not only are you hurting the thousands of people who sincerely do not have a filter per a medical or development issue, but you are defending your bad behavior as if it was something out of your control – which, in most cases, it isn’t.
If you refuse to take responsibility for your actions under the guise of “I’m just honest,” I have some news for you. You aren’t “just honest.” You’re a jerk.
If someone tells you that what you’re doing is hurting them, stop doing it. If someone tells you that they don’t like what you just said about them, their family, their friends, their lifestyle, apologize. And then, don’t do it again. I promise it’s that simple.
But for the love of all that is good in the world, stop hiding behind an excuse of “that’s just how I am!” Being mean isn’t attractive. Putting people down for no reason doesn’t make you funny. Refusing to take responsibility or own up for your actions is not cute or endearing.
Have I said things I don’t mean to people I care about? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Of course. But I own it. Recognize you’ve hurt someone. Apologize. Make it right.
Which brings me to my last point. You’re probably reading through this post and thinking of someone who does this to you. The person who says, “No offense but” and proceeds to give you unsolicited relationship advice. The person who puts down someone else and refuses to apologize under the guise of “they should know, that’s just how I am.” The person who criticizes your outfit and then shrugs and says, “I’m just honest.”
You know at least one person like this, yes?
Here’s my advice. Drop them.
Sure, tell them how you feel. Give them a chance to change. Explain why it hurts you. But if it’s been three years and they haven’t gotten the memo, you owe it to yourself to walk away. Hell, if it’s been three weeks and someone is continually treating you like trash or making you feel dramatic for being hurt by their words, walk away.
You deserve better. Trust me. There are people out there who won’t make fun of what you do for work or the person you are dating. There are people who won’t sugarcoat their insults. There are people out there who are good and kind and I truly believe that is a majority of us.
But if you find yourself giving your precious energy to someone who only produces frustration and hurt in your life, you’re allowed to be done.
If they want to judge you for that too, tell them that you want to surround yourself with good people. And if that hurts them, shrug and say that you’re just being honest.