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View Full Version : Being Polite vs. Being Honest



rapunzelna
May 16th, 2012, 06:29 PM
So, I have a dilemma, or maybe it's just me.

For most of my adult life I had short hair and decided to grow it out in my late 30's. At that time I had a spikey short haircut and I let everything grow, except I kept really short bangs that extended into the top and sides. I did this for years until the rest of my hair was BSL. I thought it looked pretty cool until finally my best friend told me "I've been wanting to say this for a long time, but that spiky part of your hair really looks god awful. ". I was mad at first, but then I took a critical look and realized I had a long version of the Billy Rae Cyrus mullet. YUCK YUCK YUCK. Then I was grateful she told me.

So, we see many haircuts on here, including some long to short that are so cute it makes me think about going back short (until I look at my old pics and realize why I will never do that!). But some of the styles are well, just bad.

I remember wanting to say to one woman"Did you really want to look like Buster Brown?" (For those of you too young to remember...you can google it). To another who had a very beautiful, but very round face and who cut her wonderful waist length hair to a severe Vidal Sasson bob, I wanted to say "Oh dear, did you really mean to resemble a bowling ball with shoulders?".

But there's too much rudeness on the web and didn't want to do that. Plus everyone else seemed to be complimentary, so I said nothing. The only hint that maybe someone doesn't like a new style is if they say "but I liked it before you cut it too".

Is it better to say nothing, or find a nice way to make your point? I was really grateful when my girlfriend told me, after I got over being angry and realized she was right.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I don't want to be rude but sometimes I have trouble holding my tongue..or rather my keystrokes.

BeckyAH
May 16th, 2012, 06:35 PM
What do you hope to accomplish with honesty in this instance?

If someone asks or expresses concern because they are considering making a decision/choice about their hair, by all means express yourself - with tact, addressing concerns they have mentioned. Especially in the sake of a cut that's already been made. 'I liked it better longer/that looks horrible' is particularly useless. They can't grow it back overnight, and what have you accomplished except making them miserable with what's on their head, now?

Unsolicited opinions are just freaking rude. If they're happy? Leave it alone. You're not their best friend, you don't have to be seen with them in public, and your opinion has -and should have- no weight. They don't know you, they have no reason to trust or value your opinion, and honestly? Everyone has an opinion in matters of style and aestetics. You thinking it looks horrible != It looks horrible, or everyone else sharing that opinion.

pepperminttea
May 16th, 2012, 06:41 PM
Equal and opposite reaction, and all that: Let's say you told the lady with the bob on the round face that you thought she looked like a bowling bowl with shoulders - that you decided that although it wasn't polite, you'd abandon niceness and tell her anyway. What would you then do if she decided that though it wasn't polite, she'd abandon niceness too and punch you anyway? :p

;)

ladyfey
May 16th, 2012, 06:54 PM
These things are all subjective. Because you don't like the look off something doesn't actually mean that you are correct and it is ugly, simply eye of the beholder. So I would say that someone else's apperance is their business alone.

swearnsue
May 16th, 2012, 08:05 PM
I think it is better to give an honest opinion only if it is asked for. If someone posts a pic after the cut or color to show it off, then don't say anything but if she is asking for advice before the cut or color change then by all means give your honest opinion. As a general rule.

julliams
May 16th, 2012, 08:09 PM
Unless someone asked me for an honest opinion, I wouldn't give one that could potentially hurt their feelings.

On the subject I've told my friends to tell me when I take this whole thing too far by their standards just because I want to know what that is. Nothing has been said so far even when I've asked point blank. But they haven't been complimentary either. That said, we don't really say anything about anyone's hair anyway so it pretty much doesn't come up.

arcane
May 16th, 2012, 08:11 PM
If asked for an honest opinion I try to do the compliment sandwhich. Something good, something bad, something good (that is if I have something bad to say). If someone posts a picture of their new style and I don't like it, I generally just click the back button. They don't need to know my opnion if they didn't ask for it. If a post isn't asking for opinions (ie they just are showing off their new hair which they like) then don't give a negative one. If someone is looking for input on a new style or don't like a cut or want someone elses perspective, then I will give it tactfully. Sure being catty is fun with my friends, but on the internet people can't hear tone, they don't know if you are generally sarcastic, so word things gently. I have been that bully on the internet, it's not a fun feeling when one wises up.

rapunzelna
May 16th, 2012, 08:12 PM
I should have made myself clearer. I would never give someone other than a close friend a unsolicited opinion...but many folks do ask for just such an opinion.

Regardless, I guess it's better to be quite than express a thought that may or may not be viewed positively. We all prefer to hear no news as opposed to news that's not reinforcing I guess.

teela1978
May 16th, 2012, 08:13 PM
I think politeness and honesty are totally compatible. You don't need to be rude to be honest. "I think your previous hairstyle complimented your features better than the more modern do you have now" puts across the same message as "you look like a bowling ball with shoulders" (e.g. that haircut ain't so great), without potentially hurting the other persons feelings.

ddiana1979
May 16th, 2012, 08:14 PM
If it's something that can easily be fixed, I'm completely honest.

"Pardon me, but you have some broccoli stuck in your teeth. I thought you'd want to know."

If it's something completely unchangeable, like a really ugly baby or something, I just keep my mouth shut or nod politely when the mother asks, "Isn't he adorable?!?"

If a friend is trying on a dress that I don't like & she asks my opinion, I just answer, "It's a nice dress, but I don't think it flatters you." I learned this from an ex boyfriend. Diplomatic, but keeps people from buying something that doesn't look good on them.

Re: hair, I don't say anything unless I really like the change.

shutterpillar
May 16th, 2012, 08:26 PM
I would NEVER ever say something that I thought wold hurt anyone's feelings. The comments you mentioned in the third paragraph of your original post are just mean comments, even if it is your opinion and you are saying it to your best friend. I would never say anything like that to anyone, ever. It was one thing for your friend to tell you that your hair looked horrible, its another thing to resort to name calling.

If they asked me my opinion BEFORE they cut their hair, then I would give them my honest opinion without sounding rude or like I am trying to put them down. If it was after they cut their hair and they seemed to like the cut a lot and felt good about themselves, then who am I to pass judgement if they adore their new cut? I would probably just say something like "I am glad you found a cut you are happy with."

catamonica
May 16th, 2012, 11:14 PM
I think if you know the person, an honest opinion is okay. But anyone else might get ticked off.

Faux
May 16th, 2012, 11:22 PM
I assume that most people have a mirror and know what they look like. If they're happy, there is no reason to bring them down. I have fixed the hair of many friends and relatives at their request, but I think its rude to tell someone they have ugly hair. I have a relative whose hair I hate. It does nothing for her. It does not even resemble a cut that I know of. However, I know telling her would make her cry, so I keep my mouth shut.

lolot
May 17th, 2012, 12:15 AM
i feel really bad when i think something is really ugly and i dont say anything, because i honestly love when someone tell me the truth and save me for being ridiculous but i try to be kind at words and instead of saying that something is really ugly i go for "you would look awesome with that"

some people dont like me because im honest but others trust me most because of that, but i dont care i dont like to tell lies

Melisande
May 17th, 2012, 12:20 AM
If I'm asked (but only then) I give my honest opinion in a non-hurtful way, and always underline that it's only my personal opinion. "The new haircut is nice and looks professional but I confess that I always tend to prefer longer hair. You have lovely hair so either way you look good." Something like that.

Asked to give an opinion about outfits I usually bow out. "The only important thing is how you like it". This is so subjective that only rarely I have a real opinion.

I strive to combine politeness with honesty, and in matters concerning the exterior appearance this is really not difficult at all.

MonicaJean
May 17th, 2012, 12:47 AM
My own rule is that if I cannot say it nicely, then I don't say anything at all. There is usually a very kind way of putting things.

joflakes
May 17th, 2012, 01:51 AM
If I was asking on here, for example, for an honest opinion I would very much appreciate to be told the utmost truth. Friends and family sometimes have a way of glossing over the truth.

However, if I didn't ask for it, I wouldn't want to hear it. If that makes sense?

In the same way, I try not to offer my opinion up unless the recipient has explicitly asked for total truth.

Bene
May 17th, 2012, 02:17 AM
I don't say anything unless asked, but tell the truth if I am.






If it seems like they're fishing for compliments, I twist the knife a little. You're not here to decorate my world and I'm not here to stroke your ego.

Five of Five
May 17th, 2012, 02:17 AM
In any situation, as a general rule, I only make comments when:

1) An opinion was solicited, &

2) They can change the subject matter or alter it easily, &/or

3) I am certain that the advice or comment will benefit them in some way.

Any comment or advice I give is phrased in a subjective way, and I always try to say it nicely.

In the case of personal style, as others have mentioned, a great way to give your opinion nicely is to say that you think x would show off their good features more. Not only is it true, but it is kind.

When it comes to compliments, I am much less stringent. Even so, I try to limit them somewhat, as I don't want to impose my opinion on others, and I want people to know that any praise they get from me is genuine.

DancingQueen
May 17th, 2012, 03:00 AM
I think you could be polite and honest at the same time. I would be grateful if someone would tell me stuff like that. Of course, there are ways to say it. There is a difference between 'Wow, that stylist really messed up your hair, I hope you didn't pay for that!' and 'You know I love you, but you might want to consider growing your bangs out...'

oktobergoud
May 17th, 2012, 03:00 AM
I think politeness and honesty are totally compatible. You don't need to be rude to be honest. "I think your previous hairstyle complimented your features better than the more modern do you have now" puts across the same message as "you look like a bowling ball with shoulders" (e.g. that haircut ain't so great), without potentially hurting the other persons feelings.

This exactly!

It's frustrating though, because, for example, I always had long black hair (well APL was long to me :P still is!) and nobody every said something about it. Now, years later, when people (the same ones) see pictures of me back then they just keep telling me 'oooh never dye your hair black again!! It looked so awful!'. Yeah thanks :P

Since I had a lot of different colours and cuts, people always tell me later that they didn't like something, which I find frustrating. But sometimes they do say it and I don't agree and thus don't care anyway, so I don't know if I would have listened at that time :rolleyes: ;) (I don't think they're always right!)

Tota
May 17th, 2012, 03:41 AM
If I feel I will hurt someone with my honesty then I try to keep my mouth shut. But if someone asks me directly then I always say the truth. So my friend cut her beautiful thick MBL hair into a short bob and asked for my honest opinion. I told her the truth: What a waste of beautiful hair, I liked it much better before, you are a longhair person and I think you will regret it after a while, you should put more thought into this but you do look cute. It's just not you. I think she resented a bit. All the other people around her told her that short hair looks much better on her and she loved to hear that. So here we are three months later and everytime I see her she tells me how sorry she is and that she misses her hair.

I think you can always be politely honest but only do that when someone really asks for your opinion :)

Neneka
May 17th, 2012, 04:27 AM
If something is easily changed and if it was a very good friend who wont get hurt I might say something if she/he asked. Some people can be very sensitive about how they look even if they seem really self-confident. Sometimes honesty just hurts and sometimes "honesty" is just one persons wiev or opinion.

I have had an "honest" boyfriend (it's what he said) who really made me feel ugly for years, even after we broke up. Now, if someone says that she/he is really honest the first thing that comes to my mind that it's just a nicer word for rudeness. It's not always the case and I am not saying that anyone here is like that! In my count it's just rudeness if someone is just pointing flaws and never says anything nice.

Slug Yoga
May 17th, 2012, 06:01 AM
I have had an "honest" boyfriend (it's what he said) who really made me feel ugly for years, even after we broke up. Now, if someone says that she/he is really honest the first thing that comes to my mind that it's just a nicer word for rudeness. It's not always the case and I am not saying that anyone here is like that! In my count it's just rudeness if someone is just pointing flaws and never says anything nice.

Yeah, I've definitely known people who would say completely rude things, and then be like, "I'm just being honest!" Like that actually means they have more integrity than someone who just...refrains from saying something rude. That's an option too! :P

Also, I'm sorry about your "honest" ex. That's b.s., and you didn't deserve to be treated like that.

torrilin
May 17th, 2012, 06:56 AM
I'm not very good at the social stuff, and if I care about a person, I care about all of them, not just their looks. So for the most part, I'd rather put my time and energy into things that strengthen the relationship rather than hurtful comments that damage it. If an appearance related thing really bothers me (like my mother's love for clothing that makes her look even fatter than she really is) I can almost always find a positive way to address it. It often takes time and being willing to really listen to the other person and go shopping or help with wardrobe planning. Talk is cheap. Time is precious. And my mom knows how much I hate shopping... yet even tho we live thousands of miles away, I make a real point to try and go clothes shopping with her when I see her. Because I love her and I want her to look her best, even when I'm not there.

Mostly I do this with other people by trying to give out compliments (real ones that come with a big smile) as often as I can. Realistically, I get a compliment from someone outside my family maybe once every 3 months. They mean a lot to me. So why wouldn't they mean a lot to other people too?

Being hypercritical and judgmental is really easy for me too. It's fun and seductive to imagine being as mean as my inner 6 year old's voice sometimes wants... but the reality is life is a lot cooler if I indulge my inner three year old and try and spread the love around when I think something is awesome.

clarinette
May 17th, 2012, 07:07 AM
So, I have a dilemma, or maybe it's just me.

For most of my adult life I had short hair and decided to grow it out in my late 30's. At that time I had a spikey short haircut and I let everything grow, except I kept really short bangs that extended into the top and sides. I did this for years until the rest of my hair was BSL. I thought it looked pretty cool until finally my best friend told me "I've been wanting to say this for a long time, but that spiky part of your hair really looks god awful. ". I was mad at first, but then I took a critical look and realized I had a long version of the Billy Rae Cyrus mullet. YUCK YUCK YUCK. Then I was grateful she told me.

So, we see many haircuts on here, including some long to short that are so cute it makes me think about going back short (until I look at my old pics and realize why I will never do that!). But some of the styles are well, just bad.

I remember wanting to say to one woman"Did you really want to look like Buster Brown?" (For those of you too young to remember...you can google it). To another who had a very beautiful, but very round face and who cut her wonderful waist length hair to a severe Vidal Sasson bob, I wanted to say "Oh dear, did you really mean to resemble a bowling ball with shoulders?".

But there's too much rudeness on the web and didn't want to do that. Plus everyone else seemed to be complimentary, so I said nothing. The only hint that maybe someone doesn't like a new style is if they say "but I liked it before you cut it too".

Is it better to say nothing, or find a nice way to make your point? I was really grateful when my girlfriend told me, after I got over being angry and realized she was right.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I don't want to be rude but sometimes I have trouble holding my tongue..or rather my keystrokes.
:D that's gold... the level of political correctness here is sometimes unbelievable . You see someone posting a pic of obviously-waist-lenght hair and saying "yaaaay i'm at hip!!!!" and you're like "wut? no, no you're not!! buy glasses !! or an anatomy book!!" but everyone comments "congratz" with a lot of cheese, and you don't say anything for fear of becoming a "rude black sheep "....

MonaMayfair
May 19th, 2012, 07:20 AM
:D that's gold... the level of political correctness here is sometimes unbelievable . You see someone posting a pic of obviously-waist-lenght hair and saying "yaaaay i'm at hip!!!!" and you're like "wut? no, no you're not!! buy glasses !! or an anatomy book!!" but everyone comments "congratz" with a lot of cheese, and you don't say anything for fear of becoming a "rude black sheep "....

LOL, I said something on another thread about being uncomfortable with all the political correctness on here ( which is the reason I frequently don't post on topics that are not connected to hair - I always seem to have an opposing opinion to everyone who HAS posted)

BUT as to giving opinions generally - I only do it if asked, and then as politely as possible.
One exception was when I told my (ex) best friend that he was taking too many drugs and injecting himself with too many steroids. Obviously I said it because I was worried about his health.
So he broke up with me rather than the drugs, XD!

spidermom
May 19th, 2012, 09:30 AM
Around here, I used to think that when people posted about things in both the forum and their blogs, they wanted honest feed-back. Nope. Through moderator warnings and bad reactions, I've learned that people want agreeable responses. So for the most part, I keep my "ewwwwwwwwwww!" to myself.

Dovetail
May 19th, 2012, 09:36 AM
I think that if someone asks, then sure, but sometimes if it's just horrid, and you know the person a bit, it can be useful to say something like "oh, I think your hair would look so lovely if you trimmed it *this* way, it would really compliment your *whatever*" since then you aren't insulting them, and you're giving constructive feedback! I don't think I'd be too hurt if someone was like "omg you look retched!" as long as they had some fact to back it up, like "your face is very oval, and cuts like *this* would look better on you"

I suppose since hair can always grow back, people might not be as offended, but since we don't know how the other person views themsevles I wouldn't be too blunt about it. Maybe I'm a push-over...

Amber_Maiden
May 19th, 2012, 09:41 AM
I personally choose the route of; if I don't have anything nice to say, I don't say it all (or comment). Though it really depends... sometimes, like when people WANT advice on what to do- I can be brutally honest. But if someone likes their hair? No- they aren't looking for advice and I won't be rude and give them mine.

moon2dove
May 19th, 2012, 09:42 AM
Around here, I used to think that when people posted about things in both the forum and their blogs, they wanted honest feed-back. Nope. Through moderator warnings and bad reactions, I've learned that people want agreeable responses. So for the most part, I keep my "ewwwwwwwwwww!" to myself.


Haha! ^^^^me too!

pink.sara
May 19th, 2012, 10:36 AM
If it's a friend or family who have specifically asked they get bare honesty. But not in an insulting way! On the internet I'm quite a bit more reserved and just won't comment if I think someone looks awful.

I don't post alot anyway!

ETA: although when I've asked for honesty on here people have been pretty horrid sometimes, which is odd as it's generally a little too sugar coated for me on here.

rapunzelna
May 19th, 2012, 10:51 AM
It seems, not surprisingly when you have a diverse group, we have diverse opinions. I think I'll bite my tongue and only comment when I like something, or if I'm asked directly in a private message.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

lapushka
May 19th, 2012, 10:57 AM
Around here, I used to think that when people posted about things in both the forum and their blogs, they wanted honest feed-back. Nope. Through moderator warnings and bad reactions, I've learned that people want agreeable responses. So for the most part, I keep my "ewwwwwwwwwww!" to myself.

Most times it's hard for me to "get" what the OP wants, an agreeable response or honest feedback. I keep most of my honest feedback to myself, or I tend to word it in an agreeable manner, meaning it's most often not my gut reaction of "ewwww". I don't get the posts looking for agreeable responses in the first place. Why bother post if you don't want honest feedback, anyway? At least that's my opinion.

Diamond.Eyes
May 19th, 2012, 11:02 AM
I think it would be very rude and thoughtless to say things like that to someone you didn't personally know. Maybe they like heir style? Not being rude but why should they care what you have to say about it? Everyone has their own tastes and it would be quite outspoken to say something like that to a stranger.

jacqueline101
May 19th, 2012, 11:10 AM
I'd try the polite try and tell her nicely not to do her hair that way.

PeacenQuietGal
May 19th, 2012, 11:56 AM
It's frustrating though, because, for example, I always had long black hair (well APL was long to me :P still is!) and nobody every said something about it. Now, years later, when people (the same ones) see pictures of me back then they just keep telling me 'oooh never dye your hair black again!! It looked so awful!'. Yeah thanks :P

Since I had a lot of different colours and cuts, people always tell me later that they didn't like something, which I find frustrating. But sometimes they do say it and I don't agree and thus don't care anyway, so I don't know if I would have listened at that time (I don't think they're always right!)

Hi Octobergoud - this is slightly off topic ,but I just want to tell you that my daughter had her hair dyed black - and it was okay looking to me, i wan't a huge fan, though at times it did look really sexy, and she liked it... Well now, she is back at her regular color, and when we BOTH look back at photos - nether of us like it, and we're like "never again". So, maybe it is just something about the way it photgraphs vs the way it looks IRL, with movement and expressions etc.???

lapushka
May 19th, 2012, 02:17 PM
Well now, she is back at her regular color, and when we BOTH look back at photos - nether of us like it, and we're like "never again". So, maybe it is just something about the way it photgraphs vs the way it looks IRL, with movement and expressions etc.???

I think generally, it's because black is really, *really* hard for blondes to pull off (speaking from experience); the lighter your blonde color, the worse it is. Maybe that's it?

IcarusBride
May 20th, 2012, 04:07 AM
My personal policy is to be polite to strangers and acquaintances and to be honest (in as kind a way as possible) to true friends. I ask my true friends to treat me the same and for the most part they do; I've avoided some sticky situations thanks to their frankness!

WaitingSoLong
May 20th, 2012, 01:40 PM
Around here, I used to think that when people posted about things in both the forum and their blogs, they wanted honest feed-back. Nope. Through moderator warnings and bad reactions, I've learned that people want agreeable responses. So for the most part, I keep my "ewwwwwwwwwww!" to myself.

This.


I personally choose the route of; if I don't have anything nice to say, I don't say it all (or comment). Though it really depends... sometimes, like when people WANT advice on what to do- I can be brutally honest. But if someone likes their hair? No- they aren't looking for advice and I won't be rude and give them mine.

And this (bolded).

I would never intentionally hurt anyone's feelings but I will also never just LIE. Like the whole cute baby thing....I have seen some ugly babies and been asked the dreaded question...isn't he/she cute? To which I promptly avoid the question with the infamous re-question.

"isn't he cute?"
"how sweet...how old is he now?"

walla. Subject changed. All babies are sweet. Not all babies are cute.

I find that on internet forums it is completely unnecessary to give an unwanted opinion or lie. Just don't respond. The golden rule that Amber-Maiden stated above.

In real life, I may be honest if my opinion is solicited but I would never be "brutal" about it. First I stop and think, put myself in their shoes and try to be as nice as I can without lying.

There is a situation I can think of, I have known two girls who wore the most horrible make-up. Every. Stinkin. Day. It was overdone, totally unflattering and just yuck. Many times I thought of how to say something and never could come up with a nice way to say "look, just put down the eyeliner and nobody gets hurt". So I never said squat. Although in both instances I was finally given the opportunity to see the girls without the make-up and both times I complimented them liberally without mentioning their make-up.

But I agree that how other people choose to wear their hair/make-up/clothes/jewelry/tattoos, etc. is noneya. If they are happy, who cares?

But in the situation where they think they look awesome and everyone else is pointing and snickering behind their backs...well...you almost feel obligated to tell them so as to spare them more humiliation, yet I don't think it is your (or my) place to do so. Broccoli in teeth is one thing, haircuts and clothing choices are another. A person who sees broccoli in their own teeth will fish it out. A person who looks at their hair in the mirror and thinks "oh yeah...whose hot!" can just go on blissful in their own opinion. Maybe oen day they will look back and be humiliated. I mean, who doesn't have an old picture they are embarassed to show of some old highschool hairdo or failed perm or whatever? Yet we were happy to sport it then.

I guess I have been a victim of this brutal type honesty enough times I am avidly against it. My personal motto" if it doesn't do any good, don't do it". If I want brutal honesty, I will ask for it.

CocoBean
May 20th, 2012, 02:22 PM
My grandmother and mother always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" - similar to what AmberMaiden said above.

The older I get, it seems that statement becomes more and more true.