In Relationships, Hard Truths Are Better Than Broken Promises

By Rachel Puryear

In healthy relationships, we all want to make our significant others and good friends and loved ones feel good and be happy with us. Sometimes, though, the need for uncomfortable honesty can be at odds with that. Hence the popularity of white lies, or even partial truths.

In a courtroom, there’s a reason why witnesses are sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – often, what’s left out in those half-truths really matters, and changes the whole story. Furthermore, in crimes that involve lying and deception – such as fraud – people can be guilty for things they were obligated to disclose but did not, and these are known as lies of omission. Basically, these reflect the reality that sometimes people lie as much by what they don’t say, as by what they do say. Loose lips may sink ships, but dark secrets can slowly erode trust and weaken bonds.

Two hands with the pinky fingers linked together, making a pinky swear. By Alise Storsul.

We all know, of course, that big lies are a problem in interpersonal relationships. That much is obvious. However, even the smaller lies, especially when accumulated over time, can also cause people to understandably doubt one another. For this reason, it’s important to be honest about things little and small – to build consistency and establish strong reliability.

For instance: If you’re going to arrive somewhere later than ideal, it may be tempting to say you’ll be there at the time you want to get there, rather than what is realistic. Even though it might not be what they want to hear, stating a more accurate arrival time – and updating that specifically if things change – helps others see you as more reliable and dependable.

For another instance: If you’re asking someone to pay for something – a shared activity, you’re asking for financial help, and so forth – state the full cost up front, the best you can. No one likes to feel like they are being bled little by little – which is what that feels like if you ask for some money now and then keep asking for more as more (foreseeable) expenses come up, whether you meant it to seem that way to them or not. If you’re going to ask someone for help, tell them what they need to know now to budget everything.

For another instance: If you promise you’re going to do something – chores, fix something, or whatever – don’t say you’re going to do it sooner than you think you realistically will, because that’s what they are hoping for. Be realistic about it. It may not be what they want to hear, but it’s better than disappointing them later.


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to greater honesty with our loved ones about things big and small. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you do not do so already. xoxo

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