Once again, my train of thought getting to this topic is more than a little skewed, so I won't even tell you how I landed on this topic, but a while back (like a LONG while back) my friend was telling me about this extra-credit thing her school had where, if you participated, you had to tell the truth for the entire day. It sounds easy, especially if you consider yourself to be an honest person like I do. But then I got to thinking about it... totally 100% honest. To everyone. This means no white lies, no automatically answering "fine" or "good" when the lady at the checkout asks you how your day is, no chiming in with everyone else (or just agreeing with everyone else) about liking the movie you just saw, hating that girl's haircut, craving Starbucks, etc.
No. Harmless. Lies.
When you think about it, like I did, that's really difficult to do. And then here's the clincher, the question I asked myself when I was talking to my friend about this way back when: is it beneficial? Is it a good idea? Or will it do more harm than good? Yes, I'm all for honesty. Yes, it's the best policy and yes, it would be a better world if everyone had a little more of that trait in themselves. But sometimes it's a really fine line to walk - being honest yet not putting anyone off, not hurting any feelings.
But let's be honest... do people always want to know the truth? Do they really want you to answer honestly? Um... not always. A lot of times people ask questions just to be nice, just to be polite, just to make small talk. They don't really care how you're doing, but it's polite to ask, "so, how are you?" Reply with the words, "fine" or "good" and you're golden. But tell them the truth ("I've got a splitting headache, I think I'm getting sick, and I just had a huge fight with my ____") and they're probably going to give you a funny look. Because you didn't give the expected answer.
I think if we were all honest, really and truly honest, we wouldn't ask questions we didn't care to know the answers to or that we don't want the honest answers to. If everyone did that then not telling any harmless lies would be, well, harmless. Instead of what it is now, which is sort of asking for trouble.
So I think instead of (or better yet, in addition to) Honesty Days, we should have Genuine Days, where we don't ask the questions we don't want the (honest) answers to. Yeah. That would be good, right?