Honesty and politeness are (very) different things

Me: Do you want me to be honest or polite?
Him: Honest.
Me: If that’s the case, then the truth is that: Unless you make it to an ivy league or top tier one, it just doesn’t pay to go to law school any more.

Hazel asked me to chat with a friend of her’s the other day.

What a lotta people don’t realize is that honesty and politeness are two very different – and usually, opposite – things. Consider some scenarios:

You’re rushing out the door and someone’s walking in.
Honest: If you’re honest with yourself, you’d want to head out first.
Polite: You let the other person in first.

Your friend’s in a play and you think it’s terrible.
Honest: You tell him he should stick to accounting.
Polite: You tell him that he has promise.

As for the conversation I had, it wasn’t the most pleasant one I’ve had in my life. He just got out of a messy marriage, lost his job, and law school was one of the few bright spots in his horizon.

But it was just a bright spot in his mind.

It wasn’t a first, second, or even a third tier law school. Moreover, he was getting zero financial aid. It would be a $150,000, three-year black hole.

Me: I once fought tooth-and-nail to get this company started – after two rejections – so that I could do it with a close family friend. I finally got it and I was so psyched.
Him: And?
Me: Well, the family friend ended up stealing all my scratch and I spent the next three years of my life just to end up at zero. Sometimes you spend all your time fighting for something without realizing what you’re actually fighting for.

Conversations with strangers remind me that I’m barely running close to schedule.


Location: in front of spreadsheets
Mood: slightly cooler
Music: If you ask me how I’m doing I would say I’m doing just fine

5 replies on “Honesty and politeness are (very) different things”

I love your distinction between honesty and optimism.
I wish people were more honest with me. I'd rather know. But I live in Canada, where people try to kill you with politeness. Someone will knock me over and I'll apologize!!

I feel the same way – I think that people are a lot more resilient than others give them credit for. The again, sometimes I think that some of the people I know really can't handle knowing things. It's a tough tightrope to walk.

Wow, I just learned that you live in Canada!

Oh…I guess it doesn't help that I only comment on your stuff. Hah!. I used to read Rain/Alex and stumbled upon you? I'm going to bring up the past and *shh* AsianAvenue?

Ahhh, you're one of the people that used to read Rain and Alex. Nice! Well, I do try and keep the dream alive somehow.

Wow, AsianAvenue – what on earth happened with that?

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