One of Husband’s favorite movies is “A Few Good Men”.  Every time it is on TV he has to watch it, no matter what part of the movie he catches.  So needless to say, our household is very familiar with the iconic Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson scene which goes something like this

JN: You want answers?

TC: I think I’m entitled

JN: You want answers?

TC: I want the truth

JN: You can’t handle the truth

I recently wrote a blog about honesty and friendship, about how we all say we want honesty in a relationship, but, well, you know.  Many readers thought that people deserve honesty, but they don’t actually want it.  And sometimes, we don’t want to be totally honest with a friend or relative.  We all agreed, dishonesty with the sole intent to deceive is bad under any circumstances.  That is the kind of honesty we want all the time.

But

I was recently invited to an event.  I thought the invitations were hideous.  But when I got to the event and someone (the parent of the host) exclaimed how gorgeous they were, and asked what I thought, I could only say “Yes.  Unique.”  I didn’t say that they were the most ostentatious thing I’ve ever seen.  I just simply agreed, because it was my opinion they were ugly.  I wasn’t trying to deceive anyone.  I was trying to spare someone’s feelings.

Which brings us to:  Do we really want to hear what our friends think, or do we just want them to agree with us?  Let’s give some examples:

  1. Your friend is dating a guy.  You saw him flirt with another woman at a party.  When asked “What do you think of “M””,  what do you say?
  2. Friend gets engaged to M.  You think he will cheat on her but you have no proof.  What do you do when she says “Isn’t M wonderful?”
  3. Friend is married to X.  You see him kiss another woman.  When she says “He is absolutely the best husband, right?”  How do you answer?

How truthful are you in any of these situations?  Do you worry that your friend will never speak to you again?

Leading to:  Some friends will drop you like a hot potato if you tell them the truth because it’s not the  truth that they want to hear.  So many people have vowed never to tell the truth to a friend, because the truth is just not worth it.  Especially about a significant other.

Now let’s skip to a different honesty situation:  Your kids and their grades.  Many schools have adopted a loosey goosey attitude towards grades.  A child should not be based on how well they perform in a classroom situation because it might not be a holistic indicator of a child’s strengths and weaknesses.  Ok.  Whatever.

Now I want you to think about it like this.  Do parents not want to see grades because they really don’t want the truth about their child’s academic abilities?  Does a parent really want to know that their child is below average in math? Gee, do parents want to know that their offspring is average at math (fact: most people are average: that’s the definition of average) Every parent thinks their child is exceptional, and that is truth.  Every child is exceptional, to a parent.  But in the world as a whole, well, that just may not happen.  A child may not be exceptional in everything.  But does any parent want to hear that their child might not be the greatest thing in the world?  Do we really want honesty about our children and how they perform?  Better yet, if someone says our child is not the greatest whatever in the world, do we come up with excuses?  Do parents say there was some sort of conspiracy involved? That the coach/teacher/instructor was jealous, or something equally inane?

I’m betting that I will write on this topic again.  I may even review that Jim Carrey movie- I think it’s called “Liar, Liar” but I’m going to fact check that.  But think about how much honesty you really want in your life.  And at what cost.

Can you handle the truth?

 

 

52 thoughts on “You Can’t Handle …..

  1. I want to know my child’s real grades. I need to know where they might need to help. I’m realistic enough to assess their ‘holistic’ abilities. I don’t need a school sugar coating their performance for me. Besides… isn’t that why schools offer other activities than just academics? Lying about grades is doing a major disservice to children in the long run.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally agree with you. But some people….I had coffee with a parent yesterday, and I heard about a thousand excuses as to why her child is not doing well in school. His physics teacher told her at parent teacher that he should be at review class on Wednesday mornings. And she said to me, well if the teacher taught better (teacher is recognized as being outstanding and his kids do incredibly well on my state regents exams)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😳😳😳😳
        So that’s the kind of parent who will eventually be writing letters and calling college professors, huh? 🙄
        Sorry. Don’t mean to be so snarky but this issue is a bit of a pet peeve. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good questions. On questions of taste, like the ostentatious invitation. I’d have done as you did. There was no need to tell the hostess you thought they were hideous. She couldn’t have altered them after the fact, after all.
    But, in questions of relationships, I think it’s important to be honest. If you really care for that friend then if she asks what you think of X, let her know what you know. Gently, diplomatically, but do it. Let her know how much you care about her and then say, “I’ve seen him with other women, and you need to know to make an informed decision.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, but so many people said they lost friendships over these type of situations. I don’t know how many people want to hear bad things about significant others

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I agree with you, but I actually don’t know how I’d handle the situation if it happened to me. I have a friend who I think has a cheating spouse, and I haven’t said anything cause it’s just a gut feeling. I have no proof

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My son is the best in our family at math. Since 3rd grade they’ve pounded algebra and geometry in him. The school is trying to get everyone into college rather than teach them skills they’ll need. Their P.E. is non -existant. Just a glorified study hall. The coaches coach only football/basketball team.The art course is a joke. Materials for it? Pens,sharpies. They dont teach art. Just f off with theteacher’s blessing. They did away with FINALS!You only take a test if your grade is low.Lazy school,lazy teachers. No homework-ever! Truth?I’m waiting for the school to catch on to the piss-poor job its done

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is one of MY pet peeves. What about the kids who have no interest in college. Auto mechanics, wood shop, home economics all gone by the wayside. Now kids don’t know how to balance a checkbook or what to do with themselves when college is not an option. GRRR.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of those weird moments where I’ve literally just been looking for a Jack Nicholson gif and one I was looking at was ‘You can’t handle the truth’ from A Few Good Men. What is they call it? Coincidence or synchronicity? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post and I loooovvveedd A Few Good Men :O) I think it depends on whether you’re hearing the truth or an opinion. In the case of a cheating spouse I think it’s always better to tell and to hear the truth if there is evidence

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure if it’s down to maturity as such; I just think that with cheating comes lies and deceit and any relationship based on that could be doomed to failure if you don’t have the opportunity to try and fix what’s wrong. Saying that there’s also the old adage – what you don’t know can’t hurt you so……x

        Liked by 1 person

  6. In college I was in a situation where I discovered my friend’s boyfriend had been cheating on her. It wasn’t just a suspicion (like it could be with flirting which I probably wouldn’t mention) so I told her. They broke up and she was Way better off. His life path after that was not do great. So yes on being honest about something like that.
    Being honest about something that just involves my personal opinion? That’s where I’d more likely spare feelings. I think your “it’s unique” comment was perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good answer about the invitations. I did not like a guy my daughter was with (she is an adult) and I told her so and gave her the reasons why I thought this way. She was not happy about it but stayed with him until he showed his true colors and they broke up. She was devastated. I was as consoling as I could be but at least I had been honest with her. As far as teachers and school work, this same daughter was a really good student until 4th grade when she was told by her teacher that she was “not the student she was led to believe she was” by the 3rd grade teacher (she got a “B” in something rather than an “A”, missing by just a few points). Because of the way the teacher said it, my daughter gave up and had a struggle throughout the rest of her school years, barely graduating high school. Now she is a self-employed administrative assistant/project manager for a construction company but there were a lot of years wasted and a huge decrease in her self-esteem from one simple sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with all the above that opinions are just opinions, and I think that direct questions like “what do you think of this guy?” might be better answered with, “what do YOU think of him? Has he been good to you so far? Are you serious about him?” It isn’t really my business except if *I* am sleeping with the man or woman, pretty much. If you doubt the guy, or just want to get an idea of his intentions, ask HIM what’s going on. *shrug*

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes they just want reassurance. I get that a lot with my tarot clients, and I am superhonest but also try to be compassionate, plus I would NEVER make projections about someone else cheating or anything else. I always try to get the clients to focus on what it means for them: if they fear their spouse is doing this or that, or that their kid is doing poorly in school and the teachers don’t seem to care, or if they reallyreally can’t take the stress of some situation right now, what can they do right now to try to bring about the best outcome? I think everyone just wants to feel good, and sometimes it lies in knowing the facts about something, and sometimes it lies in going upstairs and reading an old paperback and denying whatever facts there may be.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. yanno, I don’t think guys would ask each other these kinds of questions because of the answers we’d give.

    “What do you think of my wife?”
    “What? Before or after I saw her hitting on some young guy like a cougar looking for a cub?”

    It probably explains why I don’t get invited to many events too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This and other reasons is why I want to be a cow in my next life. I think how much honestly you want in your life is where you are in life. With this menopause I am brutally honest and I appreciate the truth in return. Would i want someone to tell me my husband was kissing someone else. Hell ya. I can make it on my own. I wouldn’t want to be on my own but I could make it on my own. I think that’s part of it. Sometimes people dont want to know because they dont want to be alone or have to look at themselves to see what they might need to fix. Life is to short to pussyfoot around

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great read, honestly 😂, if you have facts of a cheating spouse of your friend, you tell them. Most likely they know or suspect something.

    When someone says to me I want your honest opinion, I ask are you sure? I believe people when they say be honest. I’m honest, but kind and I have no hidden agenda. If people know that about you, then they come to you for the truth. The invitation, what you said was perfect for the situation. If she wanted an honest opinion, she would have asked before printing them. 😊. Would love to read more on this subject too! Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  12. For me it depends on how close I am to the person in question. Casual friends don’t get the level of honesty that close friends, children, & husband do. And BTW, my oldest son really IS exceptional at every subject, but my youngest struggles A LOT with math. I get it that they’re not perfect! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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