I Love Being Honest, Why Doesn’t Everyone Else?

Ever get that uncomfortable feeling when a friend/acquaintance wants to do something with you, but you’d rather tranquilize yourself with a warm cup of coffee and your favorite show? Ouch. You then proceed to fabricate some kind of gibberish out of thin air to excuse yourself from the arduous slog known as compromise. It’s hard to tell our friends we wouldn’t want to spend time with them—after all, a friendship is about compromise sometimes, right? I think we’ve all been in this scenario before. Most of us choose to compromise, but sometimes, we do make up excuses.

I have a problem: I value being honest whenever I can, but it’s incredibly difficult when it’s at the expense of someone else’s feelings. Growing up as a child, I was taught to tell the truth—anything else was gratuitous and usually had consequences. But as I’ve aged, I realized that people in our world, especially America, are overwhelmingly sensitive. They feel as though they must evade criticism or run when they are told to perform better. It’s this ideology which makes it distressing for me to tell a person how I really feel—sometimes, but not all the time.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m the Editor-in-Chief of my local college newspaper, which carries with it the burden of quality assurance. I say “burden” not in the respect that quality assurance isn’t something I value, but rather something that I’m required to enforce—otherwise our publication would look like a watered-down version of The Onion. Nevertheless, writers and journalists seem to be particularly fragile. In a job where there’s no option but to be honest (otherwise the quality suffers), I’ve had more than my fair share of confrontations with certain individuals. Some people were incredibly stubborn that I’ve worked with, and absolutely refused to listen to criticism. It’s as though when they pursued creative endeavors, they become perpetually locked into the mindset that anything better than their work was inconceivable.

There was an individual I worked with who would actually verbally attack me every time I let him know he wasn’t doing something correctly. This asshole was about 10 years older than me and thought because of his age, he could get away with anything. I can vaguely remember a time when I assigned him a very easy story to write; a day went by and he handed me complete garbage—no interviews, no sources, no organization, and extremely cluttered. It was nothing of what I had asked for. Since he gave this to me during deadline (while I was producing the paper), I didn’t have time to give him precise reasons as to why I was forced to change his work in the way I did. Fast forward to three days later when the paper was published, and he comes charging into my office like a hyena on steroids.

“You’re a fucking asshole, you ruined my whole story and made me sound like a conservative douche bag. Fuck you.”

There was one part of me which was uncontrollable laughing on the inside, while the other part was mortified by his outright lewd, immature behavior. Instead of choosing to engage this pest and persevere through an irrational argument, I said one thing to him.

“I’m the Editor-in-Chief and I made the executive decision that your original work, quite frankly, was unpublishable. If you have a problem with that, then don’t become a journalist.”

He then stormed out my office like a child and instead of reflecting on how he could improve, he chose to have a hissy fit and tell me I was wrong. In all honesty, I wish him the best. I really hope that one day he will fucking grow up. I can’t imagine anyone would want to hire someone like that, but hey, maybe he’ll get lucky. If Kesha can be considered an actual musician, then why shouldn’t he be able to get a job? Exactly.

It wasn’t easy to be honest with him and say his reporting was essentially lousy—I cringed when I did so. I knew the way he’d react. Now obviously, this person was an extreme example, but it’s a cumulation of incidences such as these which have conditioned me to sometimes hesitate when I have to be entirely honest.

I truly wish that society would change. Telling someone you don’t like their work, don’t like the way they did something or whatever it may be, shouldn’t be taken personally. It’s a natural part of being human—we’re always improving to better ourselves. As long as you’re saying criticism in an honest and polite way—why the hostility? It truly boggles my mind. But I certainly will continue to be as honest as possible either way.



Posted on March 11, 2015, in Daily Rantings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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