I have this pet peeve. It bugs me a lot. Perhaps it shouldn’t but when I hear someone say “to tell you the truth…” or “let me be honest…”, it really makes my skin crawl. Here’s why.
I Used To Have A Boss That Always Said, “To Tell You The Truth…”
Here’s the context for this blog post…
I used to be a car salesman. No joke.
I sold Hondas, Mitsubishis, and other brands for about five years of my life in my 20’s.
I had a boss whose favorite saying was “to tell you the truth…” followed by what he wanted to say.
Sometimes he’d say, “Honestly speaking…” or “to be honest with you…” or some other variation of the phrase. It didn’t really matter how he said it, I hated all forms of that phrase, and still do to this day.
When You Say “Honestly,” What does that really mean?
We all like truthful people, right?
We also hate it when someone lies. Moreover when you catch them in the lie, and they still try to make the lie stick.
As fallible human beings, we all have lied at some point, but there are some that lie more than they tell the truth. For some, it’s a way of life — they don’t know how to be truthful. For others, they live in a world made up in their minds that doesn’t really include honesty.
You probably don’t even think about it, but after reading this blog post, you’ll notice it every time someone does it.
When people say the words “honestly” or “Truthfully” it infers they were lying.
The more people say it, the more you start to get the feeling they are lying to you otherwise. If not consciously, you might feel this way subliminally.
If you’re the one that uses this phrase, Please Stop.
Even if the other person doesn’t think that you’re lying, it’s can’t hurt to discard these types of phrases from your general usage. You obviously don’t want to be mistaken for a liar, and that’s probably not the type of person you want to portray yourself as either.
Generally, when people use those phrases, it’s mentally setting themselves up for what they really wanted to say to begin with. I don’t use any of these phrases because I dislike them, but I do consciously try and get to the point more directly these days.
I Heard You Say It…
There’s a polite way to bring this up to someone, and there’s a way that’s really crass and confrontational. It’s up to you to figure out which one you’ll go with, but in whatever form that you use, you’re basically letting the other person know that you care for them and don’t want anyone to think that they’re not telling the truth at any point in time.
Be mindful of their feelings. It’s highly probable that they hadn’t even considered what those phrases inferred. You might be the first person to open their eyes to the truth. I would suggest going easy if you do bring it up. Let them know in a gentle way what the phrase really means.