It seems to me that we have been living in a world that is unwilling to share the truth. More and more I meet people who are willing to talk about someone, more than we are willing to talk to someone.
Several people that I have met have been walking around bitter and angry and seem to almost relish that chip on their shoulder, but will do nothing about it. What the world needs today are real truth tellers.
These are men and women who compassionately speak the truth in love to the people around them.
7 Ways to Tell People the Truth Without Hurting Their Feelings
So if you’re struggling to tell people the truth without hurting their feelings, what do you do?
Here’s 7 ways you can start telling the truth and sparing people’s feelings at the same time:
1. Build Relationships Built on Truth
Maybe it is because of the media or maybe it is because we fear being labeled as too judgmental or narrow minded, but we have built too many relationships on lies.
There is many places to look if we are going to place blame. But the truth is this. If we love our friends and our neighbors we must steel ourselves and tell people the truth. I appreciate it when someone tells me the truth.
Sure not right at the moment.
But eventually it dawns on me that the truth is helping me to quit playing the fool. The man who thinks that he can dance, but looks more like a person with some sort of muscular issue needs to be told or better shown what he looks like.
A woman who has ambition to sing on the next season of the Voice needs to be told up front that she sounds like the cat yowling. This is how we build honest relationships. If we have built our relationships on that model it becomes easier to gently break the truth to others.
Think of a marriage that has been built on lies. How can it survive on such a weak foundation?
All relationships are in similar peril unless we build them on the bedrock of truth.
Understand this fact: the truth ultimately comes out no matter what so it might as well come out on your terms right at the front. If not your friend who sings like a cat will discover that you knew she would look like a fool in front of the nation and you did nothing to stop her.
Build your relationships on truth.
2. Be a Consistent Truth Teller
As with anything, practice helps us to become better at what we do. When the Olympics comes, millions of people sitting on their couches eating cake are thinking that they could out run, out swim and generally outperform every athlete out there.
But the truth is that they have not put in the practice to perform at that level. With practice I could work to get a gold medal for telling the truth. But if I want to do that I need to practice at every opportunity that I get.
Yes there are risks involved. You will do it wrong sometimes. But taking the opportunity to practice will make it more natural to you and you will be able to share the truth in a caring manner, that will get you to the podium in life.
As you share the truth with someone they will feel hurt and maybe embarrassed.
You can offset those feelings by redirecting them to something that they do well. In some situations you can help them find the silver lining in some disastrous situation. In all situations you can help them move from grief to healing.
4. Be Humble
I love the truth and I love to hear the truth spoken.
However, some folks have this sound in their voice that seems to insult and attack the person.
“I told you that your man would cheat on you.”
Wow! That is not the way to do it. Be there as the bearer of love.
When you know the truth, control your emotions and plainly, with sincere care in your voice share the truth. This is not the time to insult and tear down. Yes you will cause pain.
Many years ago I had a root canal and the dentist had to cause pain to relieve my pain. He did not seem to take any pleasure from the activity. Delicately he performed the operation with care and ensured as much comfort as possible.
When we share the truth with someone we should do so in a similar fashion.
5. Use Story
For the creative among us you can use fables, parables or other story line feature to help expose the truth to the person that you are working with.
By using this technique you are illustrating the concern and the person that you are speaking with will be able to receive the information without being guarded or defensive.
Many years ago I was working with some youth who had consistently gotten themselves into trouble. They would complain about any punishment the school, parents or justice system might throw at them.
Using story I told them about a man who complained about a broken hand. He had broken his hand because he liked to hit it with a hammer. The pain that he inflicted on himself was incredible. But despite warnings of professionals he kept up the practice.
The youth all said that was stupid and that the man was a fool for not listening to the professionals. When I pointed out that they were making a similar choice they were silent and the message was received.
6. Guard Your Non Verbal’s:
Over time I have met some folks who have a powerful poker face when it comes to hiding their true feelings.
But the truth is that most folks loosen up too much and expose what they are really thinking.
When we are trying to share the truth in a caring way it helps to let your face know that you care. Keep yourself from looking smug or arrogant in any way. One technique is to share the information using comforting gestures as if you were stretching for a hug.
This makes the conversation safe and enables you to share the truth without hurting anyone’s feelings.
7. Share the Truth Over Food & Fellowship
Food and fun make the telling of truth so much easier.
Create a good atmosphere and encourage happiness and joy. Express caring and a servant heart as you care for this person that you are about to share truth with. Something about the food makes the whole process easier and lightens any tension that might show itself.
Love without truth is not really love.
Truth without love is cruel. We must find the place where these two concepts meet and express our love for mankind in truth. Sharing truth can save a person from embarrassment or potentially painful circumstances.
Doing such things makes you heroic. We all should live such heroic lives.