Relationships are important to man, so much that people may shape their entire lifestyles simply to find favor with their clique or circle of friends. Therefore, much caution must be applied when dealing with our friends, especially in our speech. So then, must we always tell our friends the whole truth and nothing but the truth or is it sometimes simply none of their business?
One thing is clear: finding out that your friend has lied to you always hurts. In cases where lies have been told to hurt you or other parties on purpose, the friendship will never be the same. If the lie caused you great damage, the friendship will not be salvageable. Who would want a treacherous person for a friend? Yet, even when the matter is not of great importance, little lies can lead to the spoiling of relationships. I have a friend who often tells little untruths.
Sometimes, he exaggerates circumstances a little, just to impress others, sometimes he tells half-truths to get out of trouble, sometimes, he makes up stories just to entertain his friends. Personally, I just do not feel comfortable with him. You see, I just never know whether he is telling the truth or one more of his little lies.
Apart from the question of maintaining credibility, sharing one’s problems and joys with a friend can also be helpful as we deal with the problems of daily living. As the saying goes, shared joy is double the joy and shared sorrow is half the sorrow. Sharing the good times can brighten up a friend’s day if he feels down. Sharing one’s problems and despairs with a friend will bring forth the encouragement and advice we need to hear. Sometimes simply having an ear to hear our heart’s cries and knowing that someone understands us will make us feel better. People have been saved from suicide just by having a friend to listen to their troubles.
It is clear, then, that some things need to be said to our friends without any twisting of the truth. However, there are times when telling a friend too much can also lead to problems. An all-too-common example of such a time is when one hears rumors. Gossip can start simply because someone thought a rumor was true and shared all her thoughts on the rumor with a friend. The friend, who actually had no real knowledge of the matter, passed all her thoughts and ideas to another friend and so on and so forth. The final result can be a mangled product which could really hurt the parties involved. The thing to do about rumors is not to spread them, even if you have strong opinions, about them.
Another noteworthy fact is that sometimes, telling the truth may be worse than saying nothing. If an ugly girl with an inferiority complex were to ask you if she was unattractive, it would be a very bad idea to tell her just how unattractive she was. One must use his discretion in such situations, stressing on her good qualities, of course. Telling the whole truth in this case would destroy her remaining shreds of confidence.
In conclusion, I feel that friends, even the closest of friends, need not tell each other everything they know or feel. Some matters, of course, should be discussed with friends, while some others should be hidden. We have to balance our love for truth with the practicalities of the situation. Not being perfect, we are bound to make mistakes, of course. So, one must then be prepared to make up with our friends, apologizing for our verbal blunders and forgiving them for theirs. Well, that’s what friendship is really about — accepting people for what they are, imperfections and all.