Please Stop Proclaiming to be “Telling it like it is”

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One thing that really sets my teeth on edge is when individuals stick their chin in the air and declare that “people hate me, because I tell it like it is. They hate the truth and I speak the truth. They don’t wanna hear the truth, so because I speak it, they hate me.”

If you are someone in the habit of doing this, please put yourself on pause for a moment and listen.

Nobody hates you for “telling it like it is”. They hate you because you tell it like it is impolitely. You do it belligerently, aggressively, you do it without considering the feelings of the people to whom you are speaking, and you do it with the assumption that nobody but you cares how it is, whatever the “it” may be. Everyone is interested in clearing things up and getting to the bottom of problems, and so to proclaim that you are the only one with an interest in improvement is extremely offensive. Nobody hates the truth – they only hate rude assholes, who cannot communicate like civilized adults. They don’t hate the things you are saying, they hate the way you are saying these things, because the way you say these things lacks respect for the people with whom you are trying to communicate.

In all probability, you feel the need for this belligerent approach because you are accustomed to not being heard, especially when you have tried politeness several times, and this did not work. Nobody listened. This is frustrating, and stirs up anger. This frustration and anger causes you to drop the pleasantries, increase the volume and aggression in your inflection, and yell out at inappropriate times what you have been trying to say all along. Suddenly the room goes quiet, and mission accomplished – you have now been heard.

But the things you were saying were not actually heard at all. All that was heard was your bark, your implied threat, your aggression and your instability. People heard your volume; you made them jump. They heard your anger, which to them came out of nowhere; this makes you seem irrational and unpredictable in their eyes. They heard you throw a tantrum, and they suddenly feel less comfortable being around you, to the point where you stop getting invited to meetings because you tend to conduct yourself like an asshole.

Here is the point where you draw the conclusion that people hate you because you just speak the truth and tell it like it is. You are reaching the wrong conclusion, and in doing so, decreasing the likelihood that people will want to listen in the future.

There is a polite way to tell it like it is and be heard, which is delivered respectfully, in a non-threatening or aggressive manner, at appropriate times, when it is your turn to speak, and with relevant, logical background information to support the reasons they should pay attention.
Try this approach, and you may be pleasantly surprised.


  1. smilecalm says:

    Nice encouragement to speak kindly, from the heart.

  2. cielanelson says:

    Very true. Thank you for this post.

  3. tania says:

    Very very well put.

  4. Well put… But what if you have everything you listed at the end and people still ignore you? ;P

    • ninjapencil says:

      Thanks! Simply being an impolite butthead doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t also surrounded by impolite buttheads too. Sometimes, we are just in the wrong job, and on the worst days it feels like we’re in a zoo.

  5. evazephyr says:

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate it!

    It’s true that our attitude is really important, when we express what we see is wrong. I personally tend to mix my truthful perceptions with a lot of judgment against people. I don’t yell or pitch a fit, but I tend to get into a negative, judgmental and “holier-than-though” way of relating to others. It’s separative, and unhelpful. It doesn’t make it easier for the people to get what I mean, and to adjust.

    I also experienced that when I’ve spoken with people about even VERY problematic things, but with the intention to love them, I have quite a bit of sensitivity about how much they can take. And even if they don’t respond to it positively, I can see it sinks into them. Everyone knows the truth when they hear it! And that’s the key! If we care about the truth, love is the way to deliver it! That’s what I believe.

Whaddya YOU fink about that? Leave a comment!

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