Honesty is always high on the list when people talk about traits they admire. Honest people behave with integrity, practice loyalty and value fairness.

So why are people dishonest? Usually it’s because they fear the consequences of telling the truth; getting in trouble, engaging in uncomfortable confrontation,  and making someone mad.

The problem with being dishonest is that you know inside that you are being untruthful and it can feel uncomfortable because you’re not being authentic to yourself or others. It can also be hard to keep track of your lies, and you may feel the need to tell more lies to cover up the first one. In the end, if you are acting with dishonesty and people find out, it can hurt your friends and loved ones, and your reputation at work.

Here’s a checklist to follow if you want to improve your level of honesty:

  • Make a promise and follow through

  • Voice your opinion in a kind, thoughtful way

  • Accept responsibility for your actions rather than denying them or blaming others

  • If you make a mistake, admit it and apologize

  • Be courageous and tell the truth despite any consequences you may fear

  • Do your own work rather than copying others

  • Assess how honest you feel you are, then ask your friends for their input

  • Be careful about exaggerating

  • Keep a friend’s secret

In the end, when you are honest, you reduce the chance that you’ll be misunderstood. And you can avoid confusion and potential conflict.


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