Friendships: Honesty vs. Dishonesty

  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Jan 22, 2013 4:35 AM GMT
    Part of being a good friend it to always encourage your friends to be the best that they can be, to reach for the stars and to live their dream. It's important to create a space of positivity and happiness for those closest to you, but what happens when your encouragement leads the person down the wrong path?

    Where do you cross the line between encouraging your friends to live their dreams and keeping them from going down a clearly wrong path?

    I have a friend who wants to compete next year in his first bodybuilding competition, but he is no where near the condition needed to compete. He lacks muscularity, definition and symmetry, not to mention he looks like a square block on legs. I don't have the heart to tell him to wait until he's ready because I would have to tell him that he doesn't look as good as he thinks.

    It reminds me of American Idol where you have these people come on the show and clearly can't sing and lack any kind of talent. You would have Simon Cowell, back when he was on the show, ridicule them telling them that whoever told them they could sing was clearly lying to them. I don't want to be that person that creates a false image of my friend lying to him when I should be saving him from such embarrassment and ridicule.

    Should I just encourage him anyway and let life be his teacher and lead him where ever it takes him, or should I be honest with him and tell him to hold off until he's better prepared?

    Are you guys painfully honest with your friends, or would you lead them down a path of embarrassment just to be that so-called positive, good friend?
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    Jan 22, 2013 4:53 AM GMT
    It's a tough situation. It depends on how well you know your friend and how open he is to constructive criticism. Do you think he'd be open to your opinion? What about getting him in touch with another bodybuilding who can give him some honest advice? That way, you don't have to be the bearer of bad news.
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    Jan 22, 2013 4:55 AM GMT
    If he's the only entry in his class/division, then he wins by default. I've seen some really really really really out of shape guys win that way. Of course, they don't make it to the finals.

    I really don't know your friend, but maybe he needs this? It could be some sort of validation of the progress he's made in getting in shape. Or it could be a self-inflicted reality check that will help boost his motivation to do better.

    Either way, I think it's ok to let him know your opinion. No need to be brutally honest or discouraging. But remind him of what he's competing against..

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    Jan 22, 2013 4:59 AM GMT
    Here's an easy metaphor that keeps me in line. Running.
    You don't start off running 24K's overnight, cause they take work and time. Encourage him to start in lower weight lifting competitions, if any, and encourage him to keep going til he reach those heavy lifting competitions.
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:01 AM GMT
    Honesty. Even if he hates you for it. Even if it means you lose a friend.
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:07 AM GMT
    Friendship is never about encouraging !
    It should be to help the other when they are in need..a true friend should never lie to each other & should accept the criticism too...
    a True friend will never let you down...he may some times criticise you & you may feel he is 'letting you down' but but the ultimate goal should be to help you to come out of failure!
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:52 AM GMT
    If encouraging is influencing a person's direction then I avoid that. If it is supporting a decision they made on their own then I can do that to the extent that I don't foresee hazards. If I see some danger then I bring that up as a consideration. I would try to help a friend understand the ramifications of their decisions. I'd help them think up and review their options. I'd make a terrible cheer leader for always the decision making is theirs.
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    Jan 22, 2013 4:11 PM GMT
    I prefer to be honest with real friends. It's much better than insincere smiling all the time.
    To be honest doesn't mean to hurt. I don't consider my friends as weak people, why? But I understand that sometimes truth is not so nice, sometimes it's hard to say and hard to hear. So, sometimes your friends need support and encouragement also. But if you are real friends you will both win, no doubts.
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    Jan 22, 2013 4:29 PM GMT
    Just put yourself in his shoes... What would you want to hear from your friend?
    Would you want to hear what you like to hear and chase a fantasy or would you like to hear something that can save you the embarrassment... And if he can't take the truth then at least you tried and he will see that you were right..
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 22, 2013 4:38 PM GMT
    I think you can do both, if approached very carefully. Sometimes honesty in a relationship is of critical importance, but he may not want to hear it.
    I would encourage him... and maybe throw out the idea of getting input from a couple of other trainers... that might be VERY helpful. If they evaluate him the way you feel he will be, he would hear it from "qualified 3rd parties" and you can remain the loyal friend and encourage him accordingly!

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  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jan 22, 2013 5:02 PM GMT
    Sometimes being a friend means being honest enough knowing it may hurt their feelings, but will prevent them from embarrassing themselves in front of others. Let them know that is why you are telling them the truth.
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:11 PM GMT
    Adrien - - - your advice is what I'd want to do if I were in this situation. Good job!
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Jan 22, 2013 5:11 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI keep it simple. This is my formula for helping 'anutha bro':

    1) Did he ask you what you thought of him competing next year? Did he solicit your opinion on the matter? From what you worded, it appears as though he has not.

    2) Think of the worst possible outcome, given the situation. Is it really that bad if he enters and doesn't win? What's the worse that can happen in this particular case? He works hard and strives for a goal and might get in the best muscular condition he's ever been in. It's not like he's in jeopardy in any way (other than possibly not winning). If he can't accept the possible disappointment of losing then he shouldn't compete in the first place.

    Crucial intervention and preventing another person from having personal growth and life experiences is a fine line. Unless he asked you what you thought I think you should let him do what he wants to do. Otherwise, you're interfering with the intent to rescue another person who, in my opinion, doesn't need it. To me that would come off as controlling another person. Are you a controlling person? icon_biggrin.gif


    This is great advice. To all you Honesty freaks, who says you are the final answer to all life's questions? I consider that mental laziness. Just blurting out whatever you want because it's the first thing that comes to your mind. Jeez. Some friend you'd be. Encourage your friend so long as he's enjoying it and be there to drink and drown if he falls short.
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:20 PM GMT
    I'm brutally honest and anyone who accepts a friendship with me, MUST accept that attribute. My sensitive friends don't share certain info with me because they know I might respond/advise them in a way other than what they want to hear.
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:32 PM GMT
    "Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty."
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    Jan 22, 2013 5:36 PM GMT
    Destinharbor said


    This is great advice. To all you Honesty freaks, who says you are the final answer to all life's questions? I consider that mental laziness. Just blurting out whatever you want because it's the first thing that comes to your mind. Jeez. Some friend you'd be. Encourage your friend so long as he's enjoying it and be there to drink and drown if he falls short.


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    Jan 22, 2013 6:14 PM GMT
    He_Man, about this:

    "I have a friend who wants to compete next year in his first bodybuilding competition, but he is no where near the condition needed to compete. He lacks muscularity, definition and symmetry, not to mention he looks like a square block on legs. I don't have the heart to tell him to wait until he's ready because I would have to tell him that he doesn't look as good as he thinks. "


    So you say, " That's the stuff!That's the right attitude. I think you should keep that goal in front of you until you're completely buff and ready to knock them on their asses. "

    Encourage the guy, AND keep it real. icon_wink.gif
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    Jan 22, 2013 6:38 PM GMT
    If I've learned anything in all my years of living is that people are going to do what people are going to do no matter how much good advice you try to give them.

    It seems we all have to graduate from The School of Hard Knocks. And Hell who knows the ridicule he might face might be what propels him to work harder at it. and return the next year in even better shape.

    Maybe you could approach it thusly: "Wow, its great you want to take your bodybuilding to the next level. Now I'm no expert by any stretch of the word but I think you may not be up to snuff, but like I said I'm no expert so maybe you should speak to someone familiar with these types of competitions and get some good advice."

    If he can't accept that then that's his problem.
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    Jan 22, 2013 8:09 PM GMT
    When I was 20 years old I had a similar delusion. I was looking at a Men's Fitness magazine and said "Hell, I look like that" and my best friend laughed and said "No you don't! You're not even close!" I was so surprised by his statement, but so appreciative. What are friends for if not to keep us from deluding ourselves, embarrassing ourselves, and falling on our faces?