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Matt's Blog

A Most Stupendous & Audacious Undertaking

On Radical Honesty
papertygre  recently sent me this article about radical honesty, which I've heard discussed informally but never really read about.

Here are my thoughts:

I think any pop psych / personal growth movement has to go to the extreme to get noticed. "Thoughtfully tempered but clear honesty" doesn't sell as many books.  As a result, the advice given by these movements usually should be moderated or more thoughtfully applied.

It's clear elements of radical honesty can be very helpful, but you have to figure out how, when, and with whom to use them.   For example, if I'm feeling annoyed, tired, or despondent, someone delivering criticism to me via radical honesty will antagonize me and not get their point across. On the other hand, if I'm in a thoughtful mood, I'll likely be much more receptive.   At some level, it's clear Blanton enjoys pissing people off for the sake of pissing people off, and I think anyone being driven by that motivation is going to sometimes use radical honesty incorrectly. However, if radical honesty is delivered compassionately to people we care about, it could cut through a lot of crap and potentially enrich the relationship.