Is honesty the best policy?
Out of all the clichés my mother ever told me, “Honesty is the best policy” is the one I disliked the most – mainly because it was so true. Honesty is the cornerstone of any relationship. Friends, family, significant others, business associates…it doesn’t matter what type of relationship, honesty matters. Each interaction we begin throughout our day is based on the assumption that the other party is being honest. Unfortunately, people as a rule are never 100% honest, and dishonesty is often played up in the media as acceptable and expected behavior.
Three’s Company is the perfect example of a sitcom that portrays situations where misunderstandings are perpetuated by dishonesty. But if television were real, Jack Tripper and gang would most likely be regulars on Jerry Springer and Judge Judy. Then there are movies like The Truth About Cats & Dogs where a girl tells one of those “harmless” white lies to someone she thinks she’ll never meet, and then spends the rest of the movie telling more and more lies to cover up the first one. Of course the truth comes out in the end and everything works out, but if it had been real life, that guy would have run like hell. In real life, everything doesn’t always work out with no one emotionally damaged by the lies.
In starting a new relationship, honesty is very much expected from others. We keep fingers crossed that the person sitting across the table from us at the restaurant on the first date is telling the truth when they tell us about their lives. But do we really believe everything they say? See, in expecting honesty from others, we tend miss a very important step: trust. Growing up watching shows where people lie and it still works out, being told as children not to believe everything television tells us, or the societal belief that certain professions such as lawyers and politicians are made up of liars…all these things seem to have instilled a subconscious inclination to distrust. Of course we’ve all seen relationships go down the drain due to lack of trust. Was he really faithful to me when he and the guys drove up to Chicago to catch a Cubs game? Are she and that one guy really just friends? Distrust and doubt: they can destroy just about anything.
Mom sure was right. Honesty truly is the best policy, however, we can’t be in a relationship and expect a person to be honest with us 100% of the time if we don’t want to give that person our trust. Sure, trusting a person is a very hard thing to do. But if we want a relationship, any kind of relationship with a person, it’s something we must do. After all, an extension of trust is the key to honesty’s door.