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I am a particular person, I always say the truth, and I have serious difficulty to avoid saying what i think.

The only one situation that makes me able to stop my words is when I realize that my thoughts can be really offensive for the other people.

For example if I think that someone is ugly I will never go to him saying:

"Hey, try to improve your aspect, you are ugly"

(if the guy/girl isn't hurting me with the same words)

But usually, even if I don't say anything, people clearly understand what I'm thinking, cause I'm really expressive.

For example, some days ago a girl in a whatsapp group, sent a picture of her wearing a new t-shirt and I replied like:

"Nice t-shirt! It makes you look skinny!"

In that moment i didn't want to be offensive, it was a compliment, but considering that she is a bit "overweight" it looked like:

"Nice t-shirt! It hides that you are fat!"

When i noticed the possible misunderstanding i replied again explaining what i was trying to say but everybody assumed it as something offensive and my girlfriend told me that I didn't look nice with my words.


The good part about it, is that everyone ask me for a real opinion, cause they know that I will always say the truth even if it isn't nice.


I'm a promising young programmer in his second job experience with a real contract and (for someone with my age) a good salary.

This aspect of my personality sometimes can be a problem with my colleagues, making them think that I feel superior to them or just invading their own space.

I still really like to be helpful and I always offer myself to help when someone is in trouble with some code.

This is a nice thing in my opinion, but I met colleagues who felt offended cause i had less experience than them or just didn't want me to be there like i was really invasive.


Do I have to assume this as my personality and keep living this way or I have to try to moderate myself? If yes, how?

closed as too broad by anongoodnurse, Tinkeringbell, Bradley Wilson, Arwen Undómiel, NVZ Sep 13 '17 at 15:01

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Your username suggests that you are Italian, are you describing what happens to you outside of Italy or in that same country? – user3114 Sep 14 '17 at 3:12
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    In Italy, where I still live – Marco Salerno Sep 14 '17 at 4:44
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    OK thanks. It's good to know. A pity your question has been closed for being too broad. You actually gave specific real-life examples. – user3114 Sep 14 '17 at 4:49
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    Yes, I don't understand why it's too broad but ok, I suppose they didn't like it – Marco Salerno Sep 14 '17 at 4:52
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    The "close-a-question police" strikes again =) --- You said your: "... tongue is a slide", an expression I've never heard... is this a common expression in Italy? – Kevin Fegan Dec 11 '17 at 1:59
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I am honest with people. It is something I pride myself on. That doesn't mean I say things that I am not asked about though nor that I think they need to hear every thought I have.

My husband asks me if I like the shirt he is wearing. If I do not like it particularly, I will tell him instead what shirt I prefer.

My friend has gained a lot of weight in recent years and says she feels terrible about it. I talk to her about the fact that she is still who she always was and the best parts of her are the same as they always were. This is true. It's honest. It doesn't add to her woes. She doesn't need me to tell her I agree that she has gained weight nor make a ton of suggestions on how to lose any. She is intelligent. She already knows her options. What she needs is for me to tell her that her weight doesn't define her and she is an awesome person at any weight. I am not her personal trainer nor nutritionist, so anything else isn't actually helpful, even if it were true or honest.

I am an artist. My children subsequently often will declare they are "terrible" at art. They are prone to saying they cannot draw, etc (all of them). I can't say their art has always been amazing. I am not going to tell a child that I can't tell their car is a car. What I say instead is that art is subjective. I tell them it's a skill too like any other that requires loads of practice and that if they aren't happy with their skill level and it matters to them, to keep working on it and refining their techniques. I would never speak something like agreeing with one that the other child is far better. Even if I believe some of my children do have more artistic talent than others, that is of no benefit to any of them.

If you notice in all cases I was honest. I wasn't blunt though. People do come to me to ask honest opinions because they know I will give it if I am directly asked to do so. I do not shy from being fully honest. I merely try to mitigate what someone is actually asking. Like in your example of getting a new shirt, that is not a question about her weight, hence why people said that comment wasn't received well. She is asking how you like the shirt. Saying the shirt is very flattering likely could have conveyed everything you wanted to say without touching on aspects she wasn't asking about and would have been very well received.

You can just take a moment to ask yourself what the other person is asking here. Are they asking anything? If they are, are they asking for that level of your opinion? If they are not, refrain. It would be better to say nothing if you find yourself merely sharing an unasked for opinion. If they are asking something, keep it honest, but polite. If you hate the shirt you don't have to say it that way. You can say something like, "I think it might be more flattering if it was a little longer, a different color, shorter sleeves" etc. You can be honest while not being prickly.

I once colored my hair (more than once, but I mean one particular instance). I ran into a client I hadn't seen in a while outside of work. She seemed shocked (fine) and said quite bluntly, "Oh you colored your hair. I hate it". I was stunned. I didn't actually care to hear her opinion but she is the sort that thinks she is "just being honest". She apologized, half-heartedly right after, saying she didn't mean to blurt that out (she did, it was something she did a lot) and I told her not to worry one bit because it is okay for her to hate it. I don't stop and wonder what she will think about my hair or clothing before I decide what to do with it. I do it for me, so I generally don't worry what others are going to like best. Then I gave her wink. She acted then as if I had been the rude one. Mostly what I was trying to avoid saying was that she is too old to not know what she should keep to herself. And again, what I said is true. Even if I had known she was personally going to hate my new hair color, I still would do it. I didn't color my hair to impress her. She never even crossed my mind when I decided to do it.

Learning how to not show every thought you have is a skill, like all others. It's just like learning how to talk in front of a group or what proper first meetings look like in a business setting, etc. It just needs to be practiced. I haven't met a child yet that knows how to do this starting out and some find it a lot harder than others to learn. All of us start out blunt. Learning tact takes a lifetime and hopefully we all get better with it as we go along.

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    I would like to be able to control myself like you do in your life situations.. i'm exactly that kind of guy who to your husband question would reply like: "no i don't like it at all show me something better" – Marco Salerno Sep 13 '17 at 14:58
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    @MarcoSalerno if you do want to learn to do it, you will. You merely have to practice reflecting a little more on what is being asked and stick to specifics and then find what you can say that is true while not coming across hurtful. "I like your blue shirt much more" is so much kinder than "I hate the shirt you have on". If it were my husband I may even say something like "You look amazing in the blue shirt" because I think that is true and instead of hurting his feelings by insulting the shirt he has on, I reaffirmed he is a nice looking man (and please change that shirt). ;) – threetimes Sep 13 '17 at 15:18
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    Don't feel alone. Even people that are "good" at this often aren't as good as they think. When I'm pregnant I tend to look very large. I'm very petite & look pregnant fast & by the end I look ready to tip over. Many pregnant women feel sensitive about their "size" & yet every place I went people constantly felt free to comment on how big I was. I was asked when I was due & then people would ask if it I was sure it was just one baby, etc. For me this was no harm, I am not sensitive about it, but for many women this is a very upsetting comment and happens extremely frequently. – threetimes Sep 13 '17 at 15:27
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    Well usually i tend to don't say anything about it, expecially cause i passed a "fat period" in my life, so i know the feelings, the case of the shirt, was a particular situation, made by the fact that i wanted to say something nice, but i expressed it in the wrong way – Marco Salerno Sep 13 '17 at 15:30
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    Well it is hard. I think it's harder than some give credit. For instance there a blunt honesty among my sisters I really appreciate so we shop together. I can put on pants, come out & my sister will tell me these pants are doing my butt no favors. In that setting, that is actually what I want from them. The nuance is shopping. If I already bought them, have them on, then see my sister, she will say nothing unless I specifically ask. So truth telling has situations too, that makes it a little harder to understand "when" it's okay to be more free and when you moderate yourself. – threetimes Sep 13 '17 at 15:35
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You say in several ways that you're happy - maybe even proud - to be a truth teller. I would ask you to evaluate whether you're a truth-teller, or whether you're just impulsive. Impulsive doesn't carry the same connotation, yet it is what you describe.

You also recognize that others don't always like your "truths" and it causes some to think less of you.

Until you care more about the feelings of other people than your truth-telling, you will have no real reason to change.

You can tell the truth and not hurt people. Just don't tell so much of it. You need to stop yourself from spilling everything you think as soon as you think it. (That is not a charming characteristic.) And practicing a poker-face wouldn't be bad either.

An etiquette book in your culture should be easy to come by. You can start there. For example, it's not appropriate to comment on a person's physical appearance. "That T-shirt looks great!" is ok, and truthful. Whether they look skinny, fat, or just right is not a topic of conversation unless they ask you directly. (Even then, use discretion.)

Also, you can offer your help and leave it at that. You don't have to hover over someone to give it. Let people ask, then, if they want it. There's no dishonesty in that.

What I'm saying is that you can live telling the truth without insulting or hurting people. But you have to see the value in not hurting people before you change, because change is hard, admitting you're wrong is hard, and you'll have to do this to do the work required to change.

  • When you say "And practicing a poker-face wouldn't be bad either." you mean that i should practice to do a face that doesn't represents what i'm thinking? PS: Upvoted – Marco Salerno Sep 13 '17 at 14:39
  • @MarcoSalerno - Yes. Practice keeping a straight face when your girlfriend is reading you a news story, or telling you a joke, or other situations. (She will have to know you are practicing.) – anongoodnurse Sep 13 '17 at 14:45
  • Actually i know that my approach in these social situations is wrong, i'm trying to figure out a way to improve myself but it's hard! Maybe, i needed to do more practice with the other kids when i was a child but unfortunally i'm a bit solitary and it's hard for me to understand people and be understood – Marco Salerno Sep 13 '17 at 14:56
  • @MarcoSalerno - It is hard. But you can do it if you want to enough. One easy first step is get a book on etiquette (good manners) for your culture. Then you don't have to be told by others what is right or wrong. Better yet, get two, so if you disagree with one, you can see what the other says. In my culture, I like Miss Manners. Not only is she wise, but she is also very witty, so it makes for good reading. – anongoodnurse Sep 13 '17 at 15:04
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    It's possible that OP in fact cares a lot about the feeling of others but finds it hard to understand when an "honest" response is not asked for and/or hurtful. Sometimes you have to be able to distinguish explicit question and implicit need, which may be in contradiction, like in "fishing for compliments" or here and here – user510 Sep 13 '17 at 15:16
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This apparent lack of tact and respectfulness will undoubtedly negatively affect your career if you use these kinds of remarks in your job with your colleagues, managers, or customers.

What you think of as being "honest" is coming across as rude and disrespectful and you will most probably lose friends and/or lose the opportunity to make future friends because of it.

You need to fix this. You need to pass comments that allow other people to feel good about themselves rather than being "honest" and telling them any negative aspects.

  • Actually i know that my approach in these social situations is wrong, i'm trying to figure out a way to improve myself but it's hard! Maybe, i needed to do more practice with the other kids when i was a child but unfortunally i'm a bit solitary and it's hard for me to understand people and be understood – Marco Salerno Sep 13 '17 at 14:56
  • Like we've said - phrase responses in ways that make the other part feel positive rather than negative. There's a famous book called How to Win Friends and Influence People - I really recommend that you read it. – Snow Sep 13 '17 at 14:58
  • The curious fact is that even with this problem, i have a charismatic influence with people around me, a lot of the "promised objectives" of this book are something that i just have, but maybe it's different, it's like people respect me cause they are fascinated and scared in the same moment, even if i look peacefully and i don't look phisically "evil" at all – Marco Salerno Sep 13 '17 at 15:03

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