10 Better Ways To Tell The Truth (or Framing Your Candor)

They say you have nothing to worry about if you just tell the truth. Or do you? Sometimes the truth hurts. But is it the truth that hurts or the harsh words? I like to think its the delivery with a few small exceptions. We’ve already covered some of the reasons you don’t tell the truth. Now let’s look at some ways to soften the blow when telling the truth, making it more attractive and effective.

Framing goes a long way in making the truth more palatable. Nobody wants to hear how they are wrong or that they are a jerk. Simple changes to the words used to express these opinions can make or break your case in the other person’s mind.

“We need to talk.” Do not do this. This puts pressure on them and they will instantly assume the worst. You want to spring it on them in natural conversation. So, if you need a private place, you’ll have to plan this out ahead of time in a way that fits with your normal interaction.

Please don’t feed the ego. Actually, in this case, do. It will instantly put them in a good frame of mind with you. If possible let them know, how valuable they are to you in a roundabout way.

Be a wise man. Bring a sort of gift. You can even claim an extra bag of chips came out of the vending machine to avoid making yourself appear too generous or seeming suspicious. Going to a movie and paying for their ticket or snack is anther way. “I’m just feeling generous today.” Might even be a fine excuse. Like the step before, this is meant to start the conversation positively.

Don’t spring the trap early. Make sure you don’t immediately drop the truth bomb on your acquaintance. Leave ample time at the beginning and end of your conversation as a buffer against any unforeseen negative occurrences.

Leave your army at home. Whether you admit it or not, people talk about others when they are not around. Don’t let your conversational partner in this exercise know you’ve been doing so about them. It will make them feel outnumbered and will lead to a defensive conversation. Thats the last thing you want. You want this person to be open-minded and willing to help. If you must bring the other person’s feelings into the conversation, make it from an observational perspective.

Don’t point. Avoid putting any blame specifically on them. Doing so will--again--just make them defensive, in which case they won’t bother listening to anything you say; they will be too busy trying to counter your arguments. If you must place blame, place it equally on all involved. Unless, you have done something to them, in which case you must take all of the blame.

Understand your opponent. What does he or she want? Is it to be appreciated, bowed down to?  Why do they do what they do? Make sure you feed their desires and ward off their worries. (This does not mean sex. I know there are some of you who are thinking this.)

Make them the hero. Here’s where you hit them with the truth, but let them know in a way that makes everyone happier. Everyone wants to be better, sometimes they just lack incentive. Give them an one, if possible.

Laughter is the best medicine. After you’ve told them whatever truth you needed to tell, have a joke planned. Something connected to what you previously said would be nice. This way the conversation ends, just as it begun, on a good note.

Plan for the worst. There is always a chance that you could hit a nerve that you hadn’t planned for and the conversation may go south. Plan accordingly and tread softly while acting normal. If things do go badly, do not get angry. Keep your cool and the other person may feel bad about their actions later on. Even if things do go well you have to foster this truth after you’ve released it. It could potentially be a sensitive subject matter and all things loosely related to it may remind the other person of this.

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