Honesty is synonymous with truthfulness, decency and being an all-round genuine person, but is honesty always the best policy in a relationship? Is a 100% truthful answer always the best response when asked questions like, “Does my butt look big in this?”

Dictionary definition of honest:

Honest (adjective): Free of deceit; truthful and sincere. Morally correct or virtuous. Simple and unpretentious.

Little White Lies
So does this mean that to be an “Honest Joe” you must always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or is there room for the occasional “little white lie”? After all, everyone tells little lies from time to time – don’t they?

White lies are those little harmless lies you use to avoid hurting someone’s feelings so there can be times when it’s possible to put forward a strong case for their defense. However, you might also use an occasional little lie to get yourself out of a tricky situation, and if so, are they still harmless?

Let’s say your girlfriend asks you to post an important letter for her and you forget to do it. When she asks if you posted it you say yes, making a note of it in your smart phone to make sure you don’t forget again.

Should you have actually told her the real truth? Or, maybe you were meant to book a restaurant table for a special occasion as soon as the phone-lines were open to take reservations but you forgot. When she asks if you managed to get a table, you lie and say that by the time you got through, all the tables were taken for the day you wanted; still just harmless lies?

Pants on Fire?
If you consider yourself to be a fairly Honest Joe, it might be worth taking a moment to consider how many little lies you tell on a regular basis.

If you had to put a dollar in an “honesty box” every time you stretched the truth even a tiny bit during the course of a normal day, how much money would be in there by the end of a week? If most men were totally honest with themselves and really kept a tally, they might be quite surprised by just unnecessarily dishonest they actually are.

How many of your little lies are in fact quite big, and how do you determine the difference between the two? It’s quite possible that you’ve been telling little lies so routinely that you no longer even think about it; lying has become a habit.

“A half truth is a whole lie” Proverb

A Habit of Being Honest
Neuroscientists at Harvard University in the US conducted the first ever neurobiological study of honesty and deceit. As a result of their research, they concluded that genuine Honest Joes don’t make a conscious effort not to lie, they’re simply never tempted to be anything other than honest: Being honest for them is just a habit.

Abraham Lincoln is one of history’s most famous Jonest Joes. In fact, he was known as “Honest Abe”.

Many years before he became the 16th President of the USA, Abraham Lincoln worked as a general store clerk. The story goes that when he was counting the takings one day after the store closed, he discovered they were a few cents over what should have been taken.

He realized he must have short-changed an earlier customer, so he walked to the customer’s home, quite some distance, to give her the change she was owed. His honest reputation stayed with him in his later career as a lawyer and he became renowned for his steadfast belief that the truth was never worth sacrificing, not for any gain.

“If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?” Abraham Lincoln

Choose Honesty
Old habits can be changed and new habits can be established, so the habit of being honest is no exception. Changing any habit is an on-going process, but to start all you need to do is choose to be honest because there really isn’t any value in lying.

For example: Instead of lying about posting the letter, own up to the fact that you forgot. Of course, you don’t have to own up if you’re not asked but you don’t have to lie about it if you are. Sure, you owe your girlfriend an apology for forgetting but you can still post the letter, it’s not the end of the world!

By choosing to be honest, you’re choosing to break a dishonesty habit and choosing to become a genuine Honest Joe. Unlike living a life of a liar who always has to be on guard and tell further lies to cover up previous lies, being honest is simply less stressful and easier way to live your life..

Does My Butt Look Big in This?
So what about those potentially awkward, “Does my butt look big in this?” questions? If you’d been honest with your girlfriend the entire time you’d been with her, she would already know the answer to that question. She would already know that you find her sexier when she stays in good shape.

If she is currently working on getting back into shape and asks you that question while getting ready for a party you’re attending together, you don’t have to be brutally honest and kill her self-esteem before the big night.

Since she already knows how you feel, you can answer with an honest, but tactful response like,  “Babe, I think you look a lot sexier in the red dress…I really want to see you in that tonight…”

Always look for a way to be positive and tactful with your honest, especially when someone else’s feelings are concerned. However, remember that honesty is always the best policy even when you first meet a woman. For instance, if you think she is sexy, don’t lie to her by saying, “You have beautiful eyes.” Instead, be honest and say with a smile, “I think you’re sexy.”

Avoid any temptation tell little white lies because they have a habit of snowballing into much bigger and more complex lies. Sir Walter Scott said it best with his famous words. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Avoid the tangled mess by just being honest.

As I’ve said to guys since we started The Modern Man, “You never have to lie to a woman. It is totally unnecessary. Women find you more attractive when you just stop with the BS and be an honest, real man. It’s also a lot easier than coming up with lies all the time!”

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