Schoolchildren sometimes play a game called “Honesty.” The rules are simple: For a designated period of time, the participants must tell the truth regardless of the subject.
They then ask each other leading questions such as, “Do you like my hair?” “Do you think Lindsay is cute?” Inevitably someone gets angry when he or she discovers that these friends had been shading the truth, telling “little white lies,” to spare the person’s feelings.
Even when the game is over, its lessons are not soon forgotten. Being honest with others doesn’t mean being brutal. It isn’t necessary to tell people everything you don’t like about them under the guise of being frank with them “for their own good.” Sometimes it’s better if we don’t know every person’s innermost feelings about us. Respect for another’s self-esteem often means telling them too little truth instead of too much.