Nov 7, 2022
"Let Me Be Brutally Honest."
A recent article listed annoying phrases permeating our culture's conversation. Statements like, "I'm sorry if I offended you" or "At the end of the day," were, of course, included – but an additional phrase buried in the list captured my attention:
"Let me be brutally honest."
Most at the receiving end of that phrase can affirm that what follows leans more towards brutal rather than honest.
Like a fighter adjusting an opponent's chin to deliver a knockout punch, "let me be brutally honest" is often a setup to a haymaker. Those who lead with that phrase are not asking for consent. And it's doubtful they will accept "no" before charging ahead. Furthermore, while honesty often requires discretion, it does not need permission.
And who wants to allow brutal treatment?
Hearing that phrase from others is bad enough, but how many caregivers speak 'brutally honest" with themselves? Not with the intent to reform but rather to rebuke.
Candid conversations offer clarity of circumstances without the berating. "Despite my mistakes, here's what's working– and what can improve."
Constructive words and a softer tone (with others and ourselves) won't absolve failures and missteps but can promote a more honest evaluation – minus the brutality.
The brutally honest person enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Possibly more. – Richard J. Needham