Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

The importance of being honest

If you’ve spent any time around these parts, you know that one trait I cannot stand is lying. I have a zero tolerance policy for it. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you’ve done something, admit it. I might be angry at the action or lack of but I’ll be even angrier if you lie to me about it. I find lying to be one of the most contemptible, reprehensible behaviors and, if you lie to me, we’re essentially done. I already have major trust issues; I don’t need them confirmed with lies (in fact, being lied to is precisely WHY I have trust issues but that’s another topic).

But I get that sometimes a lie might be necessary or not entirely mean spirited. For instance, your weight on your driver’s license (why is this even still a thing?). Telling a 6 year old that Santa is real. Or pretending you’re going to a nice dinner when it’s really a surprise party. Shit like that. I can let those types of lies pass. 

However, there’s a whole list of lies I cannot. Here’s a sample:

  • Seeing someone with food in their teeth and say no if they ask. Especially if that person is me. If I ask and I do, let me know. I don’t want to walk around like that. See also: tags sticking out of clothes, toilet paper on shoe
  • Breaking or losing something I’ve lent you and then pretending like nothing happened. Just tell me. I won’t be mad. I promise. 
  • If you’re angry with me. I cannot stand passive aggressive behavior and if I’ve done something to upset or anger you, please tell me so we can work it out. We’re adults. 
  • Telling me I look good in an outfit if I, in fact, do not. Trust when I say you can’t be harsher on me then I am on myself. 
  • Continuing to work or maintain a relationship with me when you no longer want to but instead of saying something, you just disappear or forget to get back to me or something else shady. Just own up to your feelings. I can take it. Ghosting is the ultimate insult. 
  • Making promises you don’t keep. 
  • Pretending to be something or someone you’re not. 

Even more than the things you should always be honest with me about is one key thing you need to be honest with yourself about. And that thing is being honest about what you want from, well, life in general. What are your goals? What do you see your life looking like 5, 10, 20 years from now? What’s important to you? You have to admit those things, sans fear of judgement, because it’s your life. You need to do you. And you can’t fret about upsetting or displeasing someone else, even if that person is a parent or spouse. You need to prioritize your happiness and enjoyment. 

If you’re worried it’s too late, it’s not. You can always, ALWAYS start over. 

I know because I’m right there with you.

I recently found a picture of 24 year old me. She was so full of everything–confidence and hope and promise and believed in herself and her goals. Then I look at a picture of 39 year old me and holy shit, have I let younger me down. I have not fulfilled any of the promises I made her. 

I am a liar.

I hate that about me.

I will tell you, it makes me insanely uncomfortable to admit certain things to myself (never mind out loud). It’s that whole “deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties” part of myself that I’m scared of. I’m scared to stop lying and start owning what I know is my truth. But I know that the only way anything will change is if I do that. 

Being honest is fucking scary, y’all. 

But if we’re not honest, then we’re liars. 

And liars are assholes. 

Let’s not be assholes. 


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  1. Stephanie

    I’m all for honesty but sometimes, I will ghost or not tell someone (right away) that they made me angry. If I’m just done with you, or really mad, it’s better that you stay away because I can be really REALLY mean. Like, I haven’t met anyone who can tolerate me when I’m THAT mean – I will leave you in tears for weeks. I feel like everyone knows this by now so if I just ghost and stop answering your calls or text, you probably want to just drop it, for your own good.
    The rest I’m honest about. My friends always text me first when trying on outfits because I will be completely honest.
    You know what though? 24 year old me was a moron. I bet 24 year old you was too. Maybe it’s better that we didn’t fulfill all of those promises we made then, as long as we keep growing and we like our lives now, keep changing our goals and what we want our lives to look like now. You’re right, never too late for that.
    Stephanie recently posted…A Simple Winter ‘Toolkit’My Profile

  2. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    With you on all of this, although I’m with Steph a little on 24 year old me. She didn’t know everything 39 year old me knows about what is and isn’t important and what is and isn’t worth my energy.

  3. Jenn @ Optimization, Actually

    Lol, yesss! I love this! I actually had a friend recently who asked me a question about my opinion on her relationship. I was torn on whether to be honest or not, went the honest route, and then she got mad at me. Wtf? It’s so hard to have respect for people who aren’t mature enough to handle honesty, let alone in response to a question they asked. That being said, next time I’ll just say, “Sorry, I don’t feel comfortable with that topic” rather than lying – because lying’s not helpful either.

    I’m definitely not as honest as I could be, mostly out of cowardice or desire to smooth things over. But I’m working on it. I recently had a counseling appointment and she asked me, “When your family or friends hurt your feelings, do you tell them about it and work it out?” The answer was no. I bottle it up and avoid them until I’m no longer angry. How is that better? It’s not an adult solution and I’m resolving not to do it anymore.

    My only exception to what you’ve listed here – ghosting. I don’t mind this. I think sometimes people just grow apart and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a friend break up type conversation

  4. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    I tell it like it is; I see no point in lying. If I’m angry, I’ll be straight with you and tell you exactly why. If it’s one thing I learned in therapy is to totally be honest with feelings since keeping things in is not good for you.

  5. Rebecca Jo

    We have a saying in our small group to be the “friend that tells you you look fat in a bathing suit” – because you know your friend doesnt look good – its better to let them know the truth instead of others making fun of them or them going out not being the best them they can be. I love that idea for EVERYTHING… things need truth. its just HOW you say the truth is the difference 😉

    PS – Lying is the one thing I can’t handle in a relationship. You lie to me? I never trust you again.

  6. Nadine

    I am so with you on this. People can say what they want about me, but I am nothing if not honest. I refuse to pretend I am someone I am not. Most of my friends ask me opinions on their outfits, gifts, or whatever because they know I will tell them the truth. And sometimes when I think about younger me, I realize I might have let her down a little bit but I am trying really hard to make that up to her and me.

  7. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I lie to myself all the time. It’s not as bad as it used to be but there is still plenty of work to be done there. Most of my 20’s and 30’s, I felt like a fraud, for bad and understandable reasons. Growing up as one of three minorities in my grade in a lily white community made me do everything possible to fit in and not stick out. And that has been my baseline for a very, very long time. It why I felt like a fraud and why I lied to myself for so long. Told myself it was okay and repressed all the anger and hurt feelings. Is it any wonder that I have depression issues? 🙂

    I’m definitely working on being more assertive and less passive aggressive. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been a big liar to others though, it was mostly to myself. I most definitely would not let someone walk around with food in their teeth or toilet paper stuck to their shoes. Or let them walk around looking like crap. I did ghost someone once. I don’t regret walking away from a friendship that had become toxic but I do regret not handling it in a more mature, adult manner.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…3 Myths About Hate and How We Rise Above ItMy Profile

  8. Linda Sheridan

    Great blog. I will little white lie to save someone’s feelings. Especially with weight. Thank Goddess no
    Weight is on our PA licenses. lol. I have no problem telling my age! It feels so good to be honest.
    Love, Steph’s Momma

  9. Allison

    I love honesty – there’s obviously a time when it’s OK to white lie a bit, but…yeah. I’m the one that’s going to tap you on the shoulder on the street (even if I don’t know you) and say, “um, your shirt is on inside out” (I’ve done this) or while shopping with a friend, tell them to pass on an article of clothing I don’t think is flattering. The best people in your life are the ones who will be honest with you. THAT is another reason I love having guy friends. When it comes to my dating life, I get VERY HARSH (but welcomed) feedback from them.

  10. Lindsay

    Cannot agree more on every.single.point. I feel the same – incan handle the truth because no one is as harsh on myself than me so I can take it like a big girl, no need to dance around and play games.
    Lindsay recently posted…3WishesMy Profile

  11. Latoya | Femme Frugality

    I’d prefer it straight and raw too. It’s a quality that’s certainly lacking these days. Cheers to those who tell it like it is!!

  12. kristen

    sometimes i am worried about telling someone they have food in their teeth or a tag sticking out.. but if they ask? come on, you HAVE to say something!
    i can’t stand passive aggressive behaviour either.
    and people who don’t tell me the truth about an item of clothing or whatever when i am trying it on is the worst. i haven’t spent money yet, i won’t get offended if you tell me it looks like shit. if i already own it and i love it, well okay you can lie and not tell me haha.
    i agree with both steph’s. 24 year old me was an idiot, and so was 15 year old me. i’m sure i have let those two down. but, i think i am the opposite.. 24 year old me was better than 15-20, but 29 (i know, i’m still young lol) is much happier and confident and i believe in myself way more than young me did, so i guess i don’t mind that i ‘failed’ those two. i hope you can get to where you want to be, because i certainly don’t think you’re an asshole.

  13. texerinsydney

    Man, that passive aggressive shit bugs me to no end.
    I spent decades lying to myself about some things concerning a particular relationship that I was involved in (you know most of that already), and it fucking sucked balls when I finally got honest with my feelings. But, it is the ONLY way that I finally started healing from it and not punishing myself because of it.
    Yes, I was a total asshole to myself and others because of lying.
    texerinsydney recently posted…Stuff and Things vol.7My Profile


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