There’s A Difference Between Being Honest And Being Rude

Honesty is without a doubt a very valuable quality to have. It’s one of the aspects I admire most in a human being, as do countless other people. But lately, it seems that people have really been misconstruing this idea of “honesty.”

I hear people say, “I’m just being honest here…” and then following that up with something incredibly offensive or rude. People are boasting both on social media and in real life about how they “tell it like it is” or that they’re “blunt” and proud of it.

And that brings me to a very important point: being honest does not give you an excuse to be rude. It does not give you a free pass to tear others down and then play it off as if you’re an admirable person for your honesty. You’re not doing anyone a “favor.”

You aren’t being cute or funny. Just because you think everyone else is thinking what you’re thinking doesn’t mean that it’s ever okay to say it out loud, and that certainly doesn’t give you the go-ahead to say it. What you’re really saying when you pull the “I tell it like it is” card, is that you believe sharing your opinion is much more important than the basic respect of others and being courteous, and all around a decent human being.

You don’t care how you talk to people because you don’t care about anyone but yourself. You don’t consider how your words and actions might affect someone else because you’re only thinking about yourself. The idea that you can say anything you want under the guise of calling it honesty is completely ridiculous. There’s still a very fine line between being honest and being outright rude. Being honest does not mean “brutally honest” and it does not mean “mean.”

Being honest means being respectful. Think about others before you think about yourself. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it and then maybe don’t say it if it could hurt someone’s feelings. I’m not saying you have to babysit others and their feelings, but there’s certainly no reason to intentionally be rude. Ask yourself, “Am I saying this because it’s important to who I am and what I stand for? Will it progress this conversation forward? Is anyone but myself going to get anything out of this?”

If the answer is no to any of those, then just don’t say it. Sometimes being respectful means that you have to swallow your pride and just let it go. It’s not about getting the last word or “calling someone out on their bullshit.” Unless it’s deeply affecting you, you have no business throwing your emails around.

You see, we all have our opinions. Sometimes it’s hard to not share them. But what we need to realize is that not every opinion needs to be shared, and not everyone has to know exactly what we think. Sometimes, our words can be hurtful and just because sharing your opinion will make you feel better because you “got that off your chest” doesn’t mean that it’s going to do any good for anyone else.

Featured image via Chalo Garcia on Unsplash


  1. I usually filter out those “I’m not rude, I’m honest” people from my social circles. I don’t need my ego bolstered, I’ve got a pretty thick skin, but then I don’t need people dragging me down either. There’s being honest and then there’s being lacking in social skills. I’ve come across a couple of those people throughout my life and let’s just say we are not speaking much anymore.

  2. Unfortunately, I live with one of those ‘I’m not being rude, I’m being honest!’ people, and since I’m related to them, I can’t cut them out of my life. Got told as soon as they saw my new haircut that it was ugly and made me look like a man, and I can’t have a short haircut because I have a fat face, and people with fat faces aren’t allowed to have short hair, apparently.

  3. When plain straight forward honesty and truth just doesn’t cut it and it continuously falls on deaf ears then sometimes you have no choice but to be brutally honest without regard for feelings. I am so sick of being second guessed and doubted by sceptical people. I am a person who has the utter most regard for truth and honesty and yet I keep finding myself mistreated and disrespected by peoples disbelief and scepticism. I always end up in sitiations where I have to jump through hoops to prove to people such as Doctors and other people I encounter that the information I’ve conveyed is the truth. I feel like I have to carry a polygraph machine with me everywhere. Well I’m done playing nice, from now on I’m going to try being brutally blunt without any regard for their feelings.

  4. There’s a reason they say the truth hurts if you can’t handle the truth stop doing whatever it is you’re doing if you feel somebody is tearing you down because they’re honest if there’s truth to it and not just hurtful don’t just put up a wall and say you’re hurting me by being honest it’s also a defense mechanism to turn somebody’s honesty into you’re just hurting my feelings so that you don’t have to fess up to the truth it’s called looking out for somebody you may take it as you’re hurting me our parents were looking out for us and the truth hurt they weren’t tearing you down you may not see that they’re actually building you up.

    • Huh ?? Yeah , maybe what someone says might be ‘true ‘ , but the person says it knowing that it’s hurtful ?? Especially when the hurt person didn’t ask for their opinion?
      As someone having to deal with rude people , most of the time those people don’t have a point except to insult others .

  5. People attach emotions to the truth. There is a difference of being nice through watering down sensitive subjects and the direct truth.
    Parent- Indirect Truth: Your dog ran away
    Parent-Direct Truth: Your dog died a horrible death after getting hit by a car, its body decayed for 15 days on the highway.
    If you’ve been taken advantage of by a nice person, then you know how vital it is to be direct. People who avoid direct questions hide from themselves and reality. People take honesty as being rude because it breaks their reality and emotional state of mind with rationality causing trauma (harm)that is startling to their simpleton irrational mind.

  6. A very good article, thanks for writing it. We are taught to be honest to other people out of respect for them. When our honesty causes us to disrespect others, it ceases to be a virtue.
    One further point: even if it is necessary to be honest and say something that causes hurt, we do not have a free pass to say it in a rude manner.

  7. Loved this article, I have been trying to teach this very lesson to my teenage daughter. I am going to read this to her, it is well written and I couldn’t have said this better to her myself. Thank you


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.