What is the honest truth

Radical honesty: "Anyone who is always open is not really tight"

Radical honesty: "Anyone who is always open is not really tight"

You can go a long way today with lies, you can even become president. No more, says American Brad Blanton. He advocates radical honesty. Two psychologists think that is an imposition.

Hardly any politician lies as systematically as Donald Trump. In just 500 days of his tenure, he posted 3,250 false statements online, according to a count by the Washington Post newspaper. The list only contains verifiably wrong things: adventurous statistics, broken denials, wild allegations. For Trump, lying is part of everyday business.

On the other hand, there is a movement that wants exactly the opposite: radical honesty to the point of pain. Jakob Eichhorn from Ulm gives workshops in which you practice relentlessly speaking your mind. Eichhorn wrote a list of 30 names of people with whom he was not at peace. Who he lied to, who he was mad at, or to whom he wanted to apologize. He contacted them all and told them what they thought - an act of liberation.

Be direct like a child

The American psychotherapist and author Brad Blanton is considered to be the founder of “Radical Honesty”. The self-proclaimed Truth Doctor claims that the world would be a better place if all people always told the truth.

Instead of being manipulative and lying, one should be direct like a child again.

Radical honesty does cause displeasure. But once they are gone, there is an intimacy that would not be possible without these scandal.

"This man just wants to provoke," says Jana Nikitin, professor of personality and developmental psychology at the University of Basel. One should be careful not to pour out one's heart to everyone. “If I tell everyone that I have depression, I make myself vulnerable. Not all people are interested in my well-being. "

A day without bluffs

Jim Carrey plays a yuppie lawyer in the comedy "The Idiot" who lies until the bars bend. Because he forgot his son's birthday, the latter places a curse on him: He can no longer lie for 24 hours. The worst day of his life begins for lawyer Fletcher. Neither the bluffs in court nor the everyday nonsense come from his lips. Instead, after farting, he yells in the elevator: "That was me!" and in bed after his wife asks how it was: "I've had more fun."

If you are honest all day, you tell your office colleague that you think he's a lazy dog ​​and your girlfriend that she has a fat butt and the people in the bar that your chatter is on your watch. This is exactly what Jürgen Schmieder, journalist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, did in a seven-day experiment. Whereupon his wife banished him to the couch and a friend no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. He also received blows. Schmieder asked a colleague if he wasn't ashamed to show up for an appointment in such a hideous and ill-fitting suit. His answer: "Even better than you in your oversized T-shirt."

When a colleague told him about a topic she was researching, his comment was: “Puuuah, another thing that no old pig interests. I'm going to sleep soon! " Your answer: "That's right, but that's how the boss wants it." Schmieders realization: the more honestly you deal with people and also throw tactless comments at them, the more honest they become.

Pregnant or Depressed?

It is not sensible behavior to "hit each other's wet rags over the ears," says industrial psychologist Marlen Bolliger. "Anyone who is always open is not completely sealed." In courses for executives, authenticity is the order of the day, combined with honesty. "It is good to stand by your own opinion - but with the sister virtue of consideration," says Marlen Bolliger. Too much honesty in a job interview would harm yourself.

"Anyone who makes it clear that they have a mental health problem or that she is pregnant will not be hired."

Anyone who says to the boss: "I'm not in the mood" is rarely promoted. Depending on the hierarchy level, not all have the same length of sticks. A boss can easily tell everyone's opinion - an intern might not.

Jeopardizing the marriage

For “Truth Doctor” Brad Blanton, lies are the main cause of human suffering. You can rely on honest people, they don't fool you. And they are happier, he says. The Basel developmental psychologist Jana Nikitin doubts that. Radical honesty is particularly difficult in a long-term love relationship. For example, a man shouldn't confess to his wife that he likes her sister, she believes: “What should the woman do with this information? It would only make her unhappy and unsettling. " Because it is normal for people to forget each other; that mostly evaporates again. “That's why you shouldn't endanger your relationship. Telling each other everything is an imposition. " That could just be harmful and irrelevant.

"You don't want to know everything that goes through other people's heads."

So honesty is not always a virtue. Habit, sense of duty and social expectations all too often prevent one from taking a stand. It is better to pretend to be happy about the scratchy socks knitted under the Christmas tree. Or contrite to go to dinner, although you don't feel like having tormented, polite conversations with boring people. Why are people so afraid of falling from grace? «Because we are social beings. We need supportive relationships, ”says Jana Nikitin. Of course, it can be worth taking a stand and telling your friend that her whining is getting on your nerves. Or to complain that the soup is too salty. Most people, however, shy away from conflict and dissonance. The prospect of jeopardizing good relationships with others, disrupting harmony and receiving criticism and rejection closes many a mouth. "Anyone who was always honest would be socially isolated and marginalized," says Jana Nikitin. "Only very few can take it."

Jim Carrey, too, maneuvers himself into the sidelines with his uncompromising sincerity in the comedy "Der Dummschwätzer". In one meeting he describes a businessman as a "stinky boot, bastard, lousy stink." In the end he is fired and ends up in jail. In return, he manages to win back his wife - with radical honesty.