What Would Happen If You Were Completely Honest?

What Would Happen If You Were Completely Honest?

We lie. A lot. Up to 200 times per day. And it’s bad for us. So what would happen if you were completely honest? Even for just a day?

Title image by Dooder (Shutterstock).

Writer James Altucher, who took the total honesty approach, believes the following things happen:

  • People will stop speaking to you.
  • People might think you’re going to kill yourself (because everything you write will read like a suicide note).
  • People will think you’re crazy.
  • You’ll frighten people.
  • You’ll entertain people.
  • People will trust your advice.
  • You’ll become free.

While I’m not sure most people will think everything you write reads like a suicide note due to the honesty approach, I think the rest of it seems pretty true. I don’t always share my opinion and sometimes keep things to myself, but I make a major effort not to lie. I don’t always succeed, but I feel better when I do. It’s not because I feel like I’m doing the right thing for other people, but because I feel like I don’t have to hide anything. I like that.

What about you? Could you become completely honest? What do you think would happen if you did?

7 Things Happen to You When You Are Completely Honest [The Altucher Confidential]


  • I tried the “Radical Honesty” once and decided that it isn’t for me. Instead I have “Moderated Honesty”. I don’t lie, but I don’t think that it is necessary or polite (and definitely not wanted) to give my opinion on everything. No one cares. But if someone does ask my opinion, I am honest. Like something that I am working on at the moment- I know that there was one person who made a mistake but I wasn’t going to out her. But if someone asked me directly who it was I would say. Try and sugar coat it a little bit though.
    If I friend asks “does my bum look big in this?” and it does, simply say it isn’t the most flattering outfit that they have.
    I have strong opinions about this, and you asked.

    • Honest people can almost become slaves when management are whoever are onto it, at least you feel a little free inside.

  • I’m too honest and the whole “ppl don’t wanna speak to ya” happens all the time which I’m happy with that. If being honest is too harsh I just won’t say anything

      • Yupp, agreed. Additionally my wife would leave me, taking my son with her in the process. My remaining family and all my friends would stop talking to me. Ultimately, I would quickly become jobless & homeless, and end up being the the loneliest person on the planet.

  • Brutal honesty is more fun and more useful than friendly bullshit. That said when I’m going to say something brutally honest I tend to warn people in advance that they may not like it

  • im suprised that it wasnt mentioned that you will also have more meaningful relationships too.
    because honesty isnt just about the negative stuff, its about pointing out good things, and things you like about people too and is also a great way of encouraging people.

    interesting social experiment.

  • I think part of growing up is learning when to be tactful or keep your mouth shut and when to be totally honest about something.

    You need to develop the emotional and social maturity to understand that not every situation calls for the same approach.

  • You can be honest without the sledgehammer bluntness. Kindness and honesty go well together, although its nice to take a break and make fun of those less fortunate than us (workmates who are asking for it).
    From my experience working honestly in IT:
    You can almost never recommend any product to anyone, everything is only as good as its warranty I’d say.
    You can never give a definite time frame, the smallest thing can explode into the biggest mess, anything is possible really.
    You are destined to always be a tech and never a salesman.
    Not getting caught out/busted for anything ever was a definite bonus tho.

  • I don’t think keeping your mouth shut and being dishonest are the same thing. By definition, you can’t lie if you haven’t said anything.

    • Withholding the truth is the obstruction of honesty. Which is why when you’re involved with an legal proceedings and you either answer dishonestly or withhold answering a question you can be charged/held with/in contempt or if later found out to know the answer or gave an incomplete answer and be charged with perjury.


      It isn’t lying in the strictest sense but neither is it honest in the clearest sense as well.

      • I was more thinking in the case of, say, a friend of yours walks into the room wearing an ugly dress, and everyone tells her how beautiful it is, but you disagree so rather than telling her her dress is hideous, you just don’t say anything. I think telling her the dress is nice when it isn’t is dishonest, but not saying anything is not.

        • Fair enough then, I see your point and yeah I agree with that. I am usually the asshat who will always that the dress looks terrible >.< haha

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