A few weeks ago, our friends and neighbors lost their dog. They got their little guy not long after we got ours, so I watched him grow up alongside my Sally. You all know how I feel about pets….my dog and cat are clearly my favorites…(if you don’t have the heart to read about pets who have died, you might not want to read further)

A few days after my Husband and I ran into the couple in the lobby. I hugged my friend M and we cried a little. Her Husband E (let me state that this is the most blunt man in the universe- he’s a lawyer for local government so bureaucrat is his middle name. E posed the question:

“Do you stay in the room with your dog when it’s time?”

Oddly, my daughter had recently read something in her psychology class about this very topic, so it had been a discussion I had just had recently. According to what my daughter said, apparently dogs look for their owner…

So I said to my neighbor- “If you’d asked me a few months ago I’d have said- not in the room. Now….I’m not sure.”

And the conversation went on a little longer and came to an organic conclusion.

When we got upstairs my Husband said that I should have asked a question to see what side of the aisle E was on before I answered- that I should have tailored my answer to his. Knowing how direct E is about literally everything, I felt honesty was the answer he was looking for.

I know I’ve asked this before, but I’m trying it again: How honest do people want us to be? How honest should we be? Do we let people think we agree so that we ease their minds? Or do we just flat out give an opinion?

When people ask an opinion question, how honest do they want us to be?

Was it rude of me to give my actual, honest opinion?

What’s the line between rude and honest?

 

107 thoughts on “Nothing but the Truth

    1. First off…so sorry about your pet. It’s crushing. I thought my answer was fine, but I questioned myself after my husband said something to me. I’m not sure where the line should be drawn when someone asks a question like that. Life is too confusing sometimes

      Liked by 2 people

  1. When I think of each word- rude or honest- rude brings to mind a sense of meanness, harmful intent maybe, the need to press ones opinion in a forced way. Honest expresses a clear, although perhaps not overly warm opinion.
    The actions associated with each of these are important as well. One can be honest but temper that honesty with physical gestures that seek to show concern or heartfelt feelings. Expressing your opinion in a flippant, calculated or cold way and nothing more…that’s rude.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m pretty sure I was compassionate, especially as I was still teary about the thought of it, but I just don’t know how people take things anymore. So many are so easily offended….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, people do take offense at things we wouldn’t suspect they might. I know personally, that if I asked a question as your neighbor did, that I would want an honest opinion, not expect an answer that could be deemed “what I wanted to hear.”
        Perhaps the answer lies in how well you know the other person as to what level you reply? Still I do have a hard time (at least in this situation) going with “give them what they want” versus simply giving my truthful response.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I feel I know this guy really well, and I know how bluntly honest he is about everything, so I felt I was ok. But then I began wondering…..I’m still ok with my answer, but I wanted to toss it out fir duscussion

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If someone’s asking a Question then I believe you’re doing them A dissservice by not giving them an honest answer. You are not in charge of their reaction. As many have already said it’s how you say it and it is your intention to be helpful and kind? If it is just to be right then it’s best to be quiet

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a moving post for me. I like your dog’s name, Sally. That is my name too. It is a short form of Sarah, which means Princess in Hebrew.
    We recently lost our beloved Golden Retriever, Paris. We provided palliative care for her at home.
    Regarding telling the truth, life is simplest when we tell the truth, and tell the truth in love. It is true that we don’t want to hurt others’ feelings, but people are responsible
    for their own feelings.
    I chuckle every time a local Newfoundlander pronounces the word lawyer. In the local dialect, it is pronounced as “liar”. Newfoundlanders are funny ! Thanks for posting .

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Honesty, tacked and compassion. When telling people these type of things.
    I was with our last cat when we had to have her put to sleep due to kidney failure, (we had been taking her for dialysis for three months, then we realised we were doing it for us not her). I held her as the vet injected her, it was the hardiest thing I have ever done and I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it now. I had had her for 20 years.

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  4. I have a few blogger friends whom I have never met. Occasionally we have email conversations, so it’s a little more personal than commenting on the blogs. If a topic comes up where I have an opinion, I tend to ask first ‘do you want to know what I think’ and ‘how blunt do you want me to answer’ or ‘do you want the politically correct or the blunt and honest answer’?

    In real life, it depends I guess. I tend to just be honest and open without much detail, but occasionally I get very hyper or emotionally invested and then I may speak too much, or impart my opinion too strongly.

    In terms of targeting your own answer to that of your companion on a difficult topic, I go back and forth on that. You can be honest and compassionate at the same time without being rude, I think…it’s all in the words. And tone. But that takes some introspection, and manners. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Maybe with someone you feel a connection with that goes beyond the surface…

        I don’t know. I could tell you things that would open a debate…I gotta get myself to NYC and meet you at some diner and have a chat with you. I think we would have all kinds of fun and interesting topics to delve into! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can understand why this moment can be a bit rattling. For what it’s worth, I don’t know you that well, but I do sense a great deal of compassion, empathy, and concern in you. And I know you’re looking at life as an empty nester soon? I hope I remembered that correctly, my apologies if I mixed it up.

    I think you spoke from your gut and it was well intended. I don’t see anything wrong with your answer. I also don’t know the other parties involved (lawyerspeak!), but I can’t imagine having to tailor my answer to suit the other person’s views. Ask me a question, I’ll give you the honest answer, as tactfully as I can, if need be. And, you know your neighbor, so you answered instinctively.

    This whole thing confused me. I don’t understand hubby’s criticism. If you have to go around tailoring your answers to everyone else’s needs, then I hope you have some pretty thick socks for them eggshells. They can be some sharp little suckers!

    Condolences for your neighbor and you for the loss of your pets. I lost my Abby (aka Peanut and Thing 1) in September of 2017. It was heartbreaking. Then someone I loved very much passed away last August. So, loss and bereavement are very much a part of things for me lately.

    I hope M is faring well and I wish her lots of peace during this difficult time. 💙💙💙💙💙

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I saw her this morning and my dog gave her extra love because I think she misses her dog buddy too. My husband often thinks I give my honest opinion too freely, but he is a people pleaser,and does have a habit of putting other people’s needs first, so he has his issues with that. But, I thought it was worth throwing the idea out to the group so….and yes…empty nester in August!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aaahhhhh, that explains things. My best friend, brother from another mother, and messy roommate is the same! He cringes often when I speak. I always remind him…I’m not an A-hole, I’m an Aspie (nickname for being on the spectrum!). 🤓😎🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think that if someone asks your opinion then they want an honest answer, otherwise, why ask? It sounds as though you gave him your considered opinion too, which has added value. Sensitivity matters, but I’m for honesty all the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As someone who has spent a large portion of their life holding back on what they say, I’m all about the honestly because the opposite can be hugely damaging to your self. That doesn’t exactly apply here, but speaks to the larger issue. If someone straight up asks your opinion, I feel like you should give your honest take on the question. That can be done without being a jerk (too many people don’t really know the difference).

    At the same time, there are some people that ask, but are really asking for you to just support their opinion. If yours doesn’t line up with theirs, this can cause problems. I think it really depends on who is asking and whether you want to deal with the potential drama that may ensue as to how honest you should be. In this case, you know the guy well enough to feel like he was genuinely looking for your opinion and feedback. I don’t see anything wrong with giving the honest opinion he was asking for.

    In situations where the feedback a person is looking for isn’t clear, I will ask. Are you looking for critical feedback, overall opinion or just looking to vent or get support? This is a big one for me with my kids because the last thing I want is to come across as overly critical when they really just want kudos for a job well done.

    If it is a situation where your opinion wasn’t asked for, then that is a whole other ball of wax. Again, my personal history is a heavy influence on my opinion, but if it isn’t asked for, it really shouldn’t be provided. Sure there will always be extenuating circumstances that make exceptions to that, but for the most part if it isn’t asked for, then it shouldn’t be shared.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My internal radar said this guy wanted my honest opinion, knowing I have a dog, etc. there are times it’s abundantly clear someone wants agreement not an actual opinion, and I go with that. I think tact and kindness in delivering the answer is more important

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As with everything else, different people are looking for different things, probably…some want to hear what you actually think, and others hope that you’ll say something close to what they believe. I don’t think that it’s ever rude to give your actual opinion when it’s asked for, but sometimes people might be surprised if you do. Such is life.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. In this case, you answered honestly and I think that was correct. The current trend of oversensitivity is disturbing. I say keep being you. I guess you have to self-censor if you think you could be sued, but that is also very disturbing. Freedom of speech is SO IMPORTANT in a free society! Freedom to say whatever you want. If we lose that, we are doomed.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. So, did he stay in the room with his dog? Maybe he was looking for validation if he did not. We recently had to put our cat down and my husband was too upset over the whole thing so my son and I brought the cat to the Humane Society. When they asked us if we wanted to stay with her while they put her to sleep we both said no (I should explain that neither of us had a great attachment to the cat. She was not overly affectionate to either of us). When I got home I accidentally let it slip to my husband that we did not stay and at first he was upset but then he understood. I think you answered your friend’s question perfectly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PS. Since we (I) got a dog on Mother’s Day, if something happened to Benny and he had to be put down, I definitely would stay with him. He is such a loving, friendly dog that I would not want him to be alone with strangers.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I always like to think that people are being totally honest with me but I’m admittedly the worst for Sugar-coating the facts when speaking to other people. I can’t bring myself to be brutally honest if I think it’ll hurt their feelings! It’s more about my aversion to confrontation than wanting to be dishonest. X

    Liked by 3 people

  12. You were honest and compassionate. You behaved perfectly. People know when others are being genuine. I believe honesty is best. And pet lovers understand other pet lovers. We all get one another.

    My next door neighbor in my condo just passed away having a stroke. Her daughter came down. I was too ill to attend the funeral having just been released from hospital. So I ordered food and brought it over while they were “sitting Shiva”. I didn’t stay long since I was still under the weather, but I expressed my condolences and then told them their mom was a quite a pistol but she had a heart of gold. The daughter hugged me because of my honesty. She said, “Yes! That was exactly her. She was never easy but she did have a good heart” And we both cried. I lived next to her mother for a decade. She was a sweet lady but a real piece of work. And the fact that I acknowledged that made the family laugh. They told stories about her antics and it made everyone smile. I think with kindness and compassion honesty goes a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s complicated, yes? If you are like me, and have a tendency toward literal thinking, then the answer gets blurted out before you have a chance to reflect on the person, the situation, and the subtext: what the words mean and what the sentiment behinds the words might be.

    I think it all boils down to your intention. If you mean to be supportive and compassionate, hopefully that translates in the words. But it is not a guarantee that the other hears supportive and compassionate. They will, of course, be processing your words through their filters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am definitely a literal thinker so yeah, I come up with the rational explanation always. And yes….everyone has their own perception of what’s being said….and it’s impossible to know how someone will perceive it

      Liked by 1 person

  14. “ And the conversation went on a little longer and came to an organic conclusion.” Which clues me, you provided what was needed in the moment. Validation that… to stay or not to stay is indeed a legitimate real “feel” and personal question. No consensus. No judgment. An individual call.

    “When people ask an opinion question, how honest do they want us to be?” Brutally, but with empathy.

    “Was it rude of me to give my actual, honest opinion?” No, and you were empathic in doing so.

    “What’s the line between rude and honest?” Notice a trend here…empathy.

    And nice post for a Mets fan.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. #1: I give honest answers about 99% of the time. If you’re asking, then I’m answering.
    #2: I know you didn’t ask, but I didn’t stay in the room with my dog. I think I would’ve fainted or gone into a deep depression. With that said, I’d love to know what the psychology of staying/not staying is…if you wanna tell me.
    #3: I think most people don’t want to hear the truth. I always say people would rather hear 5 lies than one whole truth.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. According to my daughter, the dog looks around for its owner when it’s on the table, so it eases the dogs transition if it sees the owner. And you’re probably right…people don’t want the truth, they want their version

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughter only heard this in her psych class, and honestly, it’s really a hypothesis…it can’t be proved. But you have to do what’s in your heart at the time. I completely understand both sides

        Liked by 1 person

  16. What a great question! I read recently that we’ve become too afraid of ideas and opinions. Expressing opinions is a natural way of life–and I like the answer you gave. Yes, it may be “best” to stay in the room, according to experts, but everybody shows grief differently, which is perfectly fine as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s such a personal question and he was asking personally what I’d do. There’s no right or wrong answer….just what you feel at that moment. Either way is fine

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I had to learn, in 12 step recovery, that I have to care more about saving somebody’s life than saving their feelings. For me, that translates into always telling the truth; if someone doesn’t like it, that’s about that person, not me

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  18. I think it depends on the question as well as who’s asking it. From what you’ve said about E, I think he wanted an honest opinion, whether he agreed with it or not. I think it’s only rude if your answer is completely insensitive.

    I have also heard that your pet looks for you when they die. I bet that’s particularly true with dogs but I also didn’t want our cat (who died on December 30) to be alone. He was in my arms when he took his last breath and I have never regretted it.

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  19. I think if someone honestly asks for your opinion, you should give it. That being said, a lot of blunt people lack tact. A lot of nice people lack honesty. Finding the perfect blend of the truth in love is the best but seems the hardest to do.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I know, right? I usually can tell by the other person’s reaction. If they seem upset, too much truth. If they seem happy, too many lies. Lol. I think most people struggle with one or the other though. Finding the perfect balance is truly a blessing most aren’t blessed with. I tend to be too blunt with the people I’m closest to and too nice with everyone else unless they ask for an honest opinion. Then oh boy. I don’t think it’s rude to give an honest opinion if they ask for it. Plus if you do they can trust you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I tend to err on honesty, unless it’s clear that someone only wants an agreements. One of my friends asked for my advice, I gave her my honest opinion, and she was almost afraid to tell me she didn’t listen

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      3. What do you value more being honest or agreeable? Sometimes it’s terrifying to be honest because your opinion may not be popular even if you strongly believe it’s correct. Would you write about something you feel strongly about that most people would disagree with? Would you if people you might want as friends disagree or you lose followers? That’s pretty bold. I lean more towards honesty but most the time I lack the courage to be fully honest if I feel like I will be rejected.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I freely admit there are many topics I will not discuss on my blog, or in real life. I think there are some issues that people can have open discussion on. I welcome those. There are other issues I just will not engage in conversation with except my real inner circle of about five people, because these issues then to polarize, and people feel that there’s two ways of thought…their way which is right, and everything else, which is wrong. But I just will not engage in these topics!

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  20. I’m not sure your question and this situation mesh well in my mind. I can’t see a thing wrong with your response. I get your partners point on feeling out before replying, but I’ve never been good at that. As a consequence, I do tend to be too blunt. Honesty is generally the best, but can be hedged a bit when appropriate.

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  21. Well, being honest and telling the honest answer is important even if it can hurt the other person as i think. Being honest is mot a rude thing. We must respect others enough to let them know the truth in my point of view

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      1. I do too. I mean each situation is different..I find as I get older that I am much more sensitive to people’s feelings so my default is to say things to make them feel better– if at all possible. Now if they are planning to go on 90 Day Fiance and marry some five time felon from Monte Negro and want to know what I think..well, stand by cause you’re gonna hear it from me. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I think your answer was perfect. Honesty does seem like a slippery slope sometimes. I have friends on the opposite sides of opinions from me always and I usually just listen until they ask me… and then I try to give a gentle honest answer. Sometimes a passion filled answer turns them away and they stop listening but a gentle answer, one that offers compassion and grace often gets them thinking about the other side more. It can help them see that there IS another side.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. I always try to listen so I can better understand where others are coming from and I hope others do the same for me… Though I’m very cautious about sharing my opinions anymore. But when I do I try to be gentle… Unless it’s my husband… Lol. He gets it full on! 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There are certain opinions I will just not share. It’s no longer become polite conversation, everyone is too volatile

        Like

  23. I believe you answered the way he wanted to hear. This is someone who you know well and have interacted with on many occasions? Then he probably knew that you would give him and honest answer when he asked. Otherwise he might have asked your husband.
    On the topic of whether I would stay with a beloved pet until the end? Probably, but that answer has probably changed. I remember dressing my 3 month old daughter for her funeral. I’m very grateful I did it. She would be 28 this year. But the only funeral/memorial I’ve been to since is my mother’s. And one of my friend’s mother when we were in early recovery and she needed a sobriety buddy. THAT one was 15 years ago. I’m not even sure I want to go to my own now.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. The truth is a curve ball that we don’t always see coming. Most people only want the truth when its something in their favor but as soon as the truth is against them and it comes out the mouth of a loved one, all of a sudden the love one becomes an enemy sometimes.

    If somebody ask you a question, than you should be honest.
    Telling somebody the truth becomes rude when you are making fun of that person or criticizing.
    Stating facts in a straight forward is not rude though I believe

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I think it’s hard to know where the line between for how honest people want us to be is and I often put my foot in my mouth. I think we can it’s hard to find the right thing to say sometimes, so perhaps it’s less about what we say, but more about being there for people when it counts.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I think when someone asks you a direct question, it’s best to answer it honestly unless you know for sure your answer will cause unnecessary pain. It’s true that people don’t always want the truth, but in that case, they shouldn’t ask questions that they know they might not want answered honestly.
    It would have been far better if your friend’s husband has simply said, “I couldn’t make myself stay in the room when it was done.” (if that’s what happened.) That’s stating a fact and letting you know how to respond in a comforting way. Asking you the question before saying what he did put you in a very uncomfortable situation.
    BTW, from what I have head from vets and their assistants, it’s often comforting to the animal to have their owner present, unless the owner is to upset to feel they can do it. Because our pets are very tuned into our emotions, so I believe if the owner is hysterical then that’s not a comfort to the pet at that time. In other words, everyone should just do what works best for themselves!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s what I think. There is no wrong or right answer. It’s individual. And yes, my daughter had told me the thing that a dog looks for you, so that was on my mind when he asked the question.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. The line between rude and honest is intent and delivery.
    When asked a question, I have to trust the intent of the asker is for me to answer the question with my honest thoughts or opinion. Therefore if the asker made themselves vulnerable by asking, I have the responsibility to share my point of view with respect.
    For me that’s how to be honest and not rude.
    I will also say this: I would 100% stay with my pet until their last breath left their body.

    Liked by 2 people

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