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Old 01-22-2011, 07:03 PM
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Default Radical Honesty. Interview with the author

http://www.esquire.com/features/honesty0707
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:54 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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great &funny article. Thank you

Last edited by Ariakas; 01-22-2011 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:22 PM
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Slightly amusing. I was disappointed that the writer couldn't keep with the full on honesty though. I think the Texan fellow was certainly good with his honesty, but still a guy I wouldn't like to meet. =P He sounded like a jerk.
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:43 PM
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I hope no-one minds that I'm resurrecting this thread. I just found this article on my own and wanted to ask if anyone has any experiences on radical honesty. I remember seeing someone say in some thread that they practise this with their spouse (which is why weeks later I googled the term).

I feel total honesty could be very exhausting and also unnesessarily rude, but I understand the point about being present and taking the storm the honesty causes and moving on together afterwards.

I feel I'm a lot more honest than most people. I have a reputation for it, it is a quality that is appreciated actually. People ask me for opinion on their art, because they know I will tell my honest opinion. Apparently I've somehow learned to do it in a way that isn't too harsh. I don't know how.

For a long time I kept quiet instead of telling the truth, but I find that these past few years that I've tried to learn to be more open and honest about everything my life has become easier and I connect with people a lot better. I think I've started to value honesty and openness above other things. Haven't really thought about it like that before.

So what are your experiences? If you don't have any, would you give it a try?
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:36 AM
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Hmmm, that was a surprisingly entertaining article.

Jeesh, I don't know if we should blurt out whatever our mind is thinking *all* the time. First of all because I'm not sure if our audience will benefit from it, second because I'm not sure our audience can always be trusted with the information, and third because not everything our mind thinks is 100% true. I mean, just think of the weird shit we dream about at night. Our mind doesn't always come up with truth. It experiments a lot with various kinds of bullshit, possibly as a way to probe for new angles for viewing the truth.

I will say that I have the most fun with the relationships in which I feel (mostly/relatively) free to blurt out whatever, without having to worry about repercussions. Like the conversations between A.J. Jacobs and Brad Blanton. They almost seem to have a two-stooges act going, an apathy about the consequences of their words that quickly becomes friendly banter. I guess if I thought one of them was starting to be mean on purpose, I wouldn't think it was so funny, but as far as I could tell that's not what they were doing (most of the time anyway).

Many's the time I've heard someone say, "I'm just being honest," and thought to myself, "I believe that true honesty tends to be merciful. The harsh stuff that comes out of our mouths tends to issue from the bullshit part of our minds: the reptilian part, the part that reacts without thinking, hoping to triumph by beating our perceived opponent into submission." How many of us can say that we have uttered something in a moment of anger that we later regretted? even, that we realized we didn't even mean -- not really? that it was the anger talking, more than it was the real us? I can certainly confess to having done that, many's the time.

As it happens, Tristan Taormino is less than thrilled with Radical Honesty per se, at least it looks that way from the following passages in the book "Opening Up:"

Quote:
"I don't subscribe to Radical Honesty as a whole, and Blanton himself admits you have to do it completely or it doesn't work. I believe it is an egotistical and confrontational style of communication. It isn't fair or useful to share everything with someone who doesn't want to hear it, is not ready to hear it, or doesn't have the skills to process the information."
-- Tristan Taormino, "Opening Up" (p. 44)
Quote:
"It's often just brutal, and it encourages a nonrelational way of communicating that's totally self-involved. We've seen people use it as a club for beating up their partners. They'll say, 'I'm just being honest,' or 'I'm just allowing you to know what my needs are or my hurts are.' They're often completely oblivious about how that message is being received and have no willingness to take any responsibility for the damage they've done, because being 'honest' gives them an excuse."
-- Patricia Johnson, "Opening Up" (p. 44)
Quote:
"Folks who practice Radical Honesty may see kindness as sugar-coating, but I believe it's a necessary component of compassionate communication."
-- Tristan Taormino, "Opening Up" (p. 45)
I guess my take on it is that a larger amount of truthfulness would be good for our society and our world, but I also think that, especially when we are discussing some kind of a hot-button topic, we need to carefully analyze what we are going to say so that the honest part of our message can be received by our audience. Not that we'll always succeed, but we need to try. In order to be truly honest, our communication also has to be truly humane ... I guess is how we could sum up my opinion on the subject.

So, I guess I think we should all try to be both nicer and more honest at the same time. Can't be done? The two virtues don't always exist in the same space? Maybe not, but I'm thinking that they do -- by definition -- at least 99% of the time. Maybe we're just not using enough imagination to see the 99%?
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:16 AM
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I think they do. Always. And I rarely agree with using always (or never).


"does this make me look fat?"-overweight spouse

Honest:
"I think by your question you feel uncomfortable and self conscious in that. I want you to feel proud and confident when we are together, lets find something that helps you feel that way."

Asshole:
"How the hell am I supposed to answer that?"
Or
"yes"

Lying:

"i would never notice"
Or
"no"

If we bother to take the time to consider the REAL conversation and the "deeper" truth before we open our mouths, I think we will find that TRUE honesty (opposed to radical honesty) is always kinder and more humane.

Of course; that is my personal opinion.
I committed to no more lying, about anything, September 25, 2009. I have kelt my word on that. Sometimes it required me to respond to questions with "I really don't know the true answer to that right now." sometimes I had to say things I knew were upsetting, and that meant taking time to find the loving way to say it.
But it has strengthened all of my relationships. I don't speak every thought i have. No one needs to hear my OCD bullshit, I don't need to repeat the insanity that depression pushes through my head, irrational fears don't need strengthened by me claiming them to be the truth.
It is true these things are in my head and if asked what is in there I am honest. But I am also open about the irrationality of such thoughts.
I don't hide the truth or keep secrets (lies of omission) and I don't try to make excuses for lies by calling them small or white lies.
I do answer at times with "I think you would prefer to wait and be surprised on Christmas/your bday" or "I don't think anything i was thinkin is worth repeating" or "I know you are self conscious about your stretch marks and weight, lets work together to get the photo that makes you feel beautiful."
Then: I follow through.
I don't pretend that what is there isn't or what isn't there is.
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:11 AM
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Yes, you both bring up what I found to be troubling in the consept of radical honesty. Everyone would have to be strong enough to be able to handle the honest remarks and the emotions they cause… and outbursts. But at least my experience is that most people aren't ready for this. You'd have to educate every person individually to understand what it is you are doing and why. Otherwise it'l be just bullying.

Another issue I have is that this sounds a bit like a cult. If there is only one truth and to meet the requirments you'd have to act against your natural instincts and do what some jerk tells you in order to get his acceptance (while propably losing the trust of some very dear people in your life…). It just raises some cult related red flags.

I like the consept of true honesty more. It's a more gentle approach.
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:38 PM
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Re (from LovingRadiance):
Quote:
"Sometimes I had to say things I knew were upsetting, and that meant taking time to find the loving way to say it."
Yes, yes, yes -- this.

Sometimes things are hard to hear, yes. But there are still many possible modes of delivery. I believe in using the most gentle words possible. Why? Well a number of reasons, but one is that I think it constitutes better communication. As in, communication in which the other person can hear what you're saying with much less chance of feeling hurt or defensive (which would tend to hamper their reception of your message and defeat the whole purpose of the conversation).

I know not everyone agrees with me about stuff like this. To some people, winning an argument by conveying your supporting facts is the best way to convince someone to change their mind about something. Whereas I believe it works better, for example, to just ask the other person questions that might help them see things differently on their own steam. I think people are more likely to be able to receive new and challenging information that way.

Re (from copperhead):
Quote:
"I like the concept of true honesty more. It's a more gentle approach."
Yes. That's how I feel about it.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:05 PM
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[QUOTE=kdt26417;267444
Sometimes things are hard to hear, yes. But there are still many possible modes of delivery. I believe in using the most gentle words possible. Why? Well a number of reasons, but one is that I think it constitutes better communication. As in, communication in which the other person can hear what you're saying with much less chance of feeling hurt or defensive (which would tend to hamper their reception of your message and defeat the whole purpose of the conversation).[/QUOTE]

Exactly. I find it very tiring when someone is arguing too aggressively. My goal in conversations is always to understand and to be understood. Attacks never help in either of those goals. Although sometimes blurting out exactly how you feel might help others understand that there is a real issue worth talking about. The actual talking has to take place when everyone has calmed down, though.

Conversations are not competitions where you score points and defeat your opponent. And I've witnessed too many times a situation where people are trying to convince others to change their minds and do it by attacking and telling thos epeople how stupid they are. Like insults and attacks would help something.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:12 PM
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Re:
Quote:
"The actual talking has to take place when everyone has calmed down, though."
Yeppers.

And, when everyone (as one person doing it doesn't suffice) has internally agreed to address each other's contributions with respect and appreciation.

Re:
Quote:
"Conversations are not competitions where you score points and defeat your opponent."
That is to say, when they start becoming competitions, they stop being conversations.

Re:
Quote:
"Like insults and attacks would help something."
Oh I know some people think those things are cool and/or mature, at least when delivered with plausible denial (e.g., "I can prove I was just sharing my feelings").

Many sentences that start out with, "I was just ..." are excuses for expressing oneself in a way that's far beneath what one could do. "I was just using the style of communication I grew up with." "I was just talking like everyone in my region does." "I was just misunderstood when you didn't imagine my soothing voice." "I was just adhering to the site guidelines." These tend to work like blank checks one can use to justify saying almost anything.

Adding special allowances for the pitiless words one uses only multiplies the wrongness of those words. It adds a layer of dishonesty to them. If one means something more nicely than one's actual words express, then one should choose other words, words that convey an honest amount of niceness.

Cause let me tell you, words can hurt. They can do enormous amounts of psychological damage. Maybe some people are tough-skinned and can handle hearing the truth on the rocks, but does that mean the rest of us are just out of luck?

Perhaps I should add, "Do as I say, not as I do," because I don't always practice what I preach. But a more civilized standard of communication is what I'd like to see us all strive for.
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