The occasions where honesty is not the best policy are few and far between.
Genuine honesty is also increasingly hard to come by in a world built on fake news, false promises, and heavily edited media channels trying to portray a perfect life.
Falsity and deception create pressure for others to conform to what they see, even if it’s not real.
The end result?
A vicious circle of lies and mistruths where no one is truly honest, and everyone secretly doubts each other.
Truly honest people aren’t so easy to find. It’s not like they’re shouting about their honesty from the windows, and if they are… Well, honesty and arrogance don’t tend to correlate.
But they’re the sort of people you want to be surrounding yourself with, yourself included.
You’ve probably heard that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Making sure that those people closest to you who have the power to influence you and your behaviors are authentic and honest is therefore very important.
Not only can you then build stronger and more trustworthy relationships, but you can also rest assured that they’ll encourage and inspire you to become the best version of yourself.
If you want to be more honest, you need to surround yourself with honest people.
So what do people who really value honesty look like?
1) They live by the truth
This point might seem a little bit like common sense, but honest people don’t lie. They just don’t have it in them.
Chances are you won’t even catch them in white lies like “wow that haircut looks great”, when you’ve gone for a raccoon mullet, or “don’t worry he’s definitely into you”, when your date has ghosted you and blocked you across all social media channels.
People who value honesty above everything have an incredibly strong moral compass which prevents them from lying or telling mistruths.
They also know that what they put out, they get in return.
They want to surround themselves with equally honest individuals, so they offer up the highest level of sincerity.
2) Their actions match their words
It can be easy to say you’ll do something, but lots of people don’t stick to their word.
But not those who really value honesty.
Just like how they can’t lie, they don’t make false promises.
If they say that they’re going to stay late to help you on a work project or offer to pick you up from the airport at 5 am, you bet they’ll be there.
3) They’re not social chameleons
Social chameleons pay careful attention to their environment and the people in it and adapt their personalities and mannerisms to best suit the situation. They dabble in people-pleasing and grind to get people who dislike them, or who they dislike, to begin respecting them.
It’s not a bad trait to have. It’s actually quite conducive to blending in and getting people to like you.
But the truly honest are more just standard social…reptiles.
They don’t chop and change their personalities or their belief systems to fit the moment.
Putting on a façade for other people just isn’t something that they’re interested in.
They show up as their true, authentic selves, and are pretty good at spotting the fakes in the crowd.
4) But stick to what they believe in
They’re not walking around with boxing gloves on looking for a fight, but they’re also not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.
Even in an environment where their beliefs don’t match those of the majority, people who truly value honesty will be quiet yet steadfast in standing their ground.
A vegan at a dinner party of meat enthusiasts?
They’ll nod politely, explain why they choose to eat the way that they do, but also respect the opinions and beliefs of the other dinner guests around them.
Even if it’s a tiresome conversation about how bacon tastes better than everything.
5) They tend to be thick-skinned
Being frank and honest can often be misinterpreted as being blunt and rude.
Cue dirty glares and nasty comments.
Individuals who value honesty and incorporate it into every aspect of their lives know that this is just a part of life.
I’m not saying they deserve it, but they tend to be used to it.
They stand up for what they believe in and vocalize the truth (even when people don’t want to hear it). As a result, they’ve probably been met with their fair share of criticism.
Having been through this cycle over and over, truly honest people start to build up a thick skin. Malicious jabs or backhanded compliments don’t have the desired effect upon them.
Even if they feel saddened inside, they have the confidence in their honesty to move on without letting them dig too deep.
6) They take accountability for their actions
In the same way that honest people will stand up for what they believe in, they also won’t point fingers when they mess up.
You know what I mean.
You borrow your friend’s car and accidentally dent it.
When your friend brings it up, you’re like a deer in headlights.
No idea what you’re talking about.
Must’ve been there already.
People who truly value honesty will be the first to admit when they’re at fault.
They don’t try and shift the blame to others or make up silly excuses.
They know that trust is built upon honesty and won’t let anything jeopardize that.
7) They have close friends
They might not have a ton of close friends, but the ones that they do have, they treasure.
You know those people who seem to have millions of friends and are constantly flitting from one event to the next, the life of the party, but probably wouldn’t pick up your call if you needed someone to come help you change a tire?
Yeah, I’m not talking about those people.
People who value honesty above everything develop rich and meaningful bonds with those close to them.
Their friends know that they can be trusted and therefore open up.
Both the honest person and the (hopefully honest) friend know that they can show up as their true, authentic selves, and they’ll have each other’s back.
8) And don’t partake in gossip
Gossiping can be incredibly hurtful and damaging. Particularly if based on exaggerated statements or plainly untrue.
So, people who value honesty above all else avoid it like the plague.
Social chameleons and people who want to win others over love a bit of gossip.
Your ex’s new girlfriend? I hear she secretly has a monobrow. And sleeps with her thumb in her mouth.
They trade these statements like social coins to win one another’s favor – even if they’re not true.
But why would truly honest people want to get involved in spreading lies and laughing about others behind their backs?
They know it’s not truthful and they have no desire to build fake relationships based on fake rumors.
9) Other people trust them
Knowing that you can go to someone and get the full and honest truth, not some fabricated story to make you feel better, means you start to trust them.
Those around them are equally aware that they’re sincere and open, and many come to respect them for it.
Individuals who truly value honesty and incorporate it into every aspect of their lives are often the wise old owls of the world that people turn to for advice. They provide the truth, no sugar-coating or pussyfooting around what’s actually at play.
They might well not be liked by everyone, since sometimes hearing the truth hurts, but they are trusted.
10) And they’re very trusting of themselves
A bit of a double-edged sword, people who value honesty above all else can sometimes misplace their trust in others.
Because they so strongly value honesty, they can naively believe that everyone else does the same.
They often see the good in everyone (even if it’s not there), and will offer subjective opinions, often defending those in the firing line.
Got a bad boyfriend? Or a bad president? Truly honest people won’t be so quick to jump on the attack.
Maybe they’re not so bad after all.
Maybe they had a bad childhood.
Maybe they’re misunderstood.
Whatever the case, they gather all facts before making their own assumption.
Separating the honest from the insincere is difficult. Particularly in today’s world where people will tell you one thing, mean another, and run off to whisper behind your back.
Hopefully this list will have brought you a little more clarity in being able to tell if someone is truly honest and has your back or not.
And if you’re applying these to yourself, remember that practicing honesty and valuing the truth is the foundation of fulfilling relationships and a more meaningful life.