, ,

Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” ~William Shakespeare

As a child, my parents taught me to always be honest. As a child, I would try and get away with lying—and always got caught.

   Disappointed Mother: “Why did you lie?”

   Me as a Child Testing My Boundaries: “Um……”

Eventually, I learned that lying doesn’t really get you anywhere. In fact, lying degrades the bond of trust between you and the other person. So, since then, I’ve pretty much stuck to the truth. (I’m not perfect—no one is.) But recently, I was faced with a situation concerning Facebook that forced me to decide whether honesty was the best policy.

Raise your hand if you have Facebook connections who are on your limited profile list (and thus cannot view all your information).

(Raises hand)

Recently, a “limited profile” connection contacted me via FB email to ask why my wall was not visible. I was a bit taken aback and considered my options:

  • Option 1: Ignore the message (not really an option)
  • Option 2: Be honest: “Well, actually…. “
  • Option 3: Lie: “Oh, I’m so sorry, that must have been an error on my part.”

In this case, the person in question was someone I had known for quite some time. Given the longevity of our acquaintance, I felt at the time, the prudent thing to do was be honest—and so I chose Option 2.

Well, that turned into a mini-fiasco. Several messages were exchanged, with no real good outcome. With that in mind (since Option 1 isn’t really an option), does that mean that lying might have been the best solution?

For a variety of reasons, not everyone wants to be connected to everyone or grant everyone carte blanche access. That’s why Facebook has the “Unfriend” feature, and allows us the option to ignore friend requests, as well as block people. Some people use Facebook solely to keep in touch with family and relatives. Others are an “open book” and have completely public profiles and walls. Then there’s the rest of us—the majority—who are somewhere in between, with mostly private profiles and walls. And even then, what’s available on our profiles and walls can be adjusted for various groups of “friends.”

Generally, I don’t question it when I realize I’ve “lost” a connection or two. I’m not going to go searching through my connections to see who “unfriended” me. I certainly don’t ask people why they may have terminated our “connection.” I definitely don’t expect to be asked by an “unfriended” person why I removed him or her from my connections. In my ~5 years as a member of Facebook, I’ve certainly never had someone ask why my Wall or profile was not accessible.

Back to the issue at hand: Was this simply a case of poor etiquette on the other person’s part? After all, there is a famous proverb out there:

“If you truly want honesty, don’t ask questions you don’t really want the answer to.”

What do YOU think? What would you have done? Option 2 or Option 3? And why?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *