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While most of the clients I work with readily admit that they’re less than honest in many situations, I also sometimes work with people who claim to be honest all the time, and they usually use words like “blunt” or “brutal” to describe their honesty.
However, they’re deluding themselves.
Because there’s a significant difference between being blunt and being directly honest.
A lot of people are proud of being blunt. They consider it a sign of confidence, and see themselves as simply speaking their minds. But I don’t see it that way.
Being blunt usually means blasting the harshest version of your honesty out at people in a way that rejects them and pushes them away. It’s honesty combined with a pessimistic and judgmental view of people, and said without any consideration for how the other person might receive it.
I actually see this as a coping mechanism for trauma.
Being frequently blunt is a sign that you have an avoidant attachment style. This is your way of keeping people at a distance while justifying it by calling it “honesty” and blaming them for not being able to “handle” your truth.
You’ll notice that blunt people are actually quite dishonest and secretive about vulnerable things, like their weaknesses, fears, shame and insecurities. So it’s not really an honesty game that they’re playing.
Being directly honest is when you think of the best possible way to present the truth, without any sugar coating or any confusion, but also without any unnecessary harshness. Just the raw facts, with judgments and opinions reduced as much as possible, delivered in a way that you hope will be easy to receive. And that is a world away from being blunt.
Direct honesty is optimistic, accurate, and thoughtful. You’re careful to say what is both true and helpful, to the best of your ability, and you see the other person’s strengths as well as their areas for improvement.
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