I’ve written about honesty before, and I will probably write about it again in the future. Does honesty really exist? Have we become so used to partial truths and dishonesty that dishonesty in business has become acceptable? Let me explain. Yesterday, an executive with one of the larger insurance companies said to me, “Let me be completely honest with you.”
“Let me be completely honest with you” has become a common statement in the world we live in. It joins other statements such as, “I’m going to be totally transparent,” and “the truth is . . .” Have you ever stopped to think about what these statements truly mean? You should. What the person who freely uses these statements is telling you is that he/she is a liar.
Yep, when people qualify their statements with, “Let me be completely honest with you,” they are telling you that they have been dishonest in the past. A person who always tells the truth has no reason to notify you that he/she is going to be honest, this time! When I hear someone tell me he/she is going to be completely honest, I run from that person. Unfortunately, there are not many places I can run to.
The executive that I talked with yesterday really did not have to qualify his statement. The fact that he worked for an insurance company clearly marked him as a liar. Should I believe that he was going to be completely honest with me because he told me he was? NO! Instead, he alerted me to the fact that he was a liar and that what he was telling me was probably B.S.
If you listen to what the person you are conversing with says and then analyze it, you will realize that, in the vast majority of cases, the person’s true self will reveal itself. When publishing an article such as this, I worry that I’m teaching liars and people of low morals how to lie more efficiently.
So, take care. Listen to what people are telling you with an analytic brain, hunting for key phrases that will help you in deciding whether to trust them or not. Monitor what you say to make sure you are sending the right message.
One last thing. Recognize that the internet and TV commercials often lie, as well. Rarely are things free; yet your TV and internet promise “free” with no risk or downside on an hourly basis. Currently, Medicare Advantage plans are not only promising free everything, including free money, and all you have to do is make a free call to an 800 number! Bullshit!
Here’s your joke for the day:
Don’t Bullshit Your Mother
Mrs. Rabin comes to visit her son Bernie for dinner.
He lives with a female roommate, Elaine. During the course of the meal, his mother couldn’t help but notice how pretty Bernie’s roommate is. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Bernie and his roommate than met the eye. Reading his mom’s thoughts, Bernie volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Elaine and I are just roommates.”
About a week later, Elaine came to Bernie saying, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the silver sugar bowl. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?” “Well, I doubt it, but I’ll email her, just to be sure.”
So, he sat down and wrote an email:
I’m not saying that you “did” take the sugar bowl from my house; I’m not saying that you “did not” take it. But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. Your Loving Son
Several days later, Bernie received a response email from his Mom which read:
I’m not saying that you “do” sleep with Elaine, and I’m not saying that you “do not” sleep with her. But the fact remains that, if she was sleeping in her OWN bed, she would have found the sugar bowl by now.
Your Loving Mother