How to be honest: A guide to build trust, be truthful and show honesty


In life, as with everything else, honesty has its price. Honesty is a virtue, but it’s a tough virtue to practice. For most of us, it’s much easier to lie than to tell the truth. We are all liars to some extent, but some of us lie more than others.

Honesty gives others the opportunity to get to know you, trust you, and be open with you. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know others, receive feedback, and build important relationships.

Honesty is the best policy. They say! How far it is true? If honesty really helps us to lead a happy and peaceful life, then how to be honest? How to be honest with yourself? How to be honest in a relationship? How to be honest at work? How to be honest in life all the time?

Let’s explore all the benefits and consequences of being honest along with what qualities in a person make him honest.

Read till the end if you wish to build trust in people and learn to be truthful and show honesty in life. Gather philosophical insights on life to be a good human in every aspect of life.

What is honesty?

Honesty is the characteristic of moral conduct with the involvement of all the positive human virtues to communicate the reality of truth in the most authentic way to build trust, improve clarity and create strong connections among one another.

Why is it important to be honest?

Honesty is important in life, because it prevents miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Honesty breeds trust. Trust is the foundation of any relationship and, in turn, it helps reduce conflict.
In order to be trustworthy, you first have to be honest with yourself. This means being willing to admit when you’re wrong, apologize, and accept responsibility for your actions.

However, there is no hard rule that everyone has to possess or possess honesty. The world is full of dishonest people even if they claim that they are absolutely honest to their core.

That said, it’s a matter of one’s own self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-image i.e. one has to realize who he is and who he is not.

Any man of morals, ethics and values strive to be honest. Honesty is the virtue of great souls. Not everyone possesses it completely. Only a pure and beautiful mind can have the power to carry the truth in himself and has the courage to face its consequences when it is uttered or applied.

This is the reason, in general, the majority of people change their words and acts as per their favor, only with the aim to be benefitted by the situation rather than supporting what is objectively right or true.

It is important to be honest because honesty allows communication to happen and leads to deeper, more meaningful connections. We can all fall into the trap of lying, but it’s important to remember that honesty is always best. The benefits of being honest are endless. It can help to build healthy relationships, improve communication, avoid stress, and help you trust others.

According to research from the University of Maryland College Park, honesty is more of a strategy for getting ahead in life. In their study, they found that people who have been dishonest in the past have been less likely to get help from others and develop trusting relationships.

They also found that being dishonest can lead to feelings of guilt and remorse and in turn lead to less trust in personal and professional relationships. That’s why you should consider it is important to develop honesty at every walk of life.

What makes a person honest?

There is a debate on what makes a person honest. According to the saying, honesty is the best policy, but some people believe it is being selfless or being ethical.

An honest person is a person who tells the truth and does not lie. Honesty is being truthful and ethical in one’s actions. An honest person is someone who will always tell the truth.

There are five main components that make a person honest according to The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale:

– Respect for oneself

– Self-confidence

– Respect for others

– Tolerance of other people’s beliefs, opinions, and values

– Loving oneself

What are the qualities of an honest person?

As earlier mentioned the single most attribute of an honest person is being true to oneself. However, there are other qualities that co-exist with truth and make a person honest as a whole.

Let’s briefly understand those qualities with their definitions.

Qualities of honest person:

Integrity: Integrity is the quality of possessing strong moral beliefs, ethical principles and values. A person with integrity is always be consistent in his qualities of actions and align them accurately with his words of truth.

Truthfulness: Truthfulness is the fact of being real and make statements that are true in nature.

Sincerity: Sincerity is the quality or virtue of being genuine to one’s own thoughts, feelings, desires and beliefs. A person with sincerity acts accordance with his virtues that shows honesty in his message.

Straightforwardness: Straightforwardness is the quality of being direct in a practical sense. Which may be sometimes acted without concerning emotions or feelings but purely acts upon pure logic.

Trustworthy: Trustworthy is the quality of being reliable. A man with trustworthy is consistent with his behaviour in every event and responsible for what he leads.

Fairness: Being fair is the quality of showing equal treatment to anyone irrespective of one’s status. A person with fairness possesses a good judgement in all aspects of life.

Loyal: Loyalty is the quality of being loyal. A loyal person shows faithfulness to people whom he trusts completely.

Altruism: Being altruistic is the quality of being selfless. A person with altruism  possesses good intentions and cares for other human beings or animals selflessly irrespective any connection or attachment with them.

Bravery: Bravery is the quality of representing righteousness. A brave man always stands up for what is right or morally good even if it seems risky.

How to be honest?


How to be honest? The honest answer is that honesty is an act of courage. It takes courage to be honest. It takes courage to always be true. It takes courage to be yourself. It takes courage to be vulnerable. It takes courage to be truly happy. It takes courage to live, love, laugh, and cry. It takes courage.

Being honest is an art and a science. It requires your full attention, your full emotional participation, and your full commitment to being true. Honesty isn’t the absence of ego or feelings. It isn’t being indifferent to other people’s feelings. Being honest means being true to yourself. It means being honest with yourself and with others.

How to be honest with yourself?

It’s important to be aware of your thoughts and feelings in order to be honest with yourself. Honesty means being honest with what you feel, and with what you really think.

In order to be honest with yourself, first, you have to know who you are. And in order to know who you are, you need to honestly look at yourself, and really consider what your personality is. Because, the truth is, if you don’t know who you are, how can you be honest with yourself?

You are who you are and you can’t change. But you can change, adapt to new situations, and be more honest with yourself about who you are and what your purpose in life is.

Being honest with yourself is a habit that you can take with you through life. You might be one of those people who say one thing and do another. You might say you’re faithful in your marriage, but keep finding excuses to cheat on your spouse. Or you might lie to get out of work, even when you know it isn’t the right thing to do.

It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of lies and deceit, but don’t think you’re the only one who does it.
You have to be honest with yourself if you want to experience true happiness and fulfillment. You can’t live a lie and expect to live in peace.

Start by being honest with yourself about who you are, what you want out of life, and what you can accomplish. Acknowledge your weaknesses and flaws. Realize that you aren’t perfect, and you aren’t capable of perfection. Accept yourself for who you are. Look in the mirror and tell yourself the truth.

Be honest with those around you. If people aren’t being open and honest with you, then tell them. Tell them about your feelings. Tell them about your expectations. Be honest with them.

Don’t get disappointed or angry. If things don’t work out, don’t waste time blaming others. You did your best, and you tried your best. Move on.

You’ll be surprised at how liberating it can be to be honest with yourself. If you try to change, to be someone else, you will never be as happy or as fulfilled as you could be. Just be yourself. Be true to who you are, and you will find happiness.

Don’t deny your imperfections. Don’t pretend that you aren’t human. Accept who you are and your abilities. That’s the only way to be honest with yourself.

How to be honest in a relationship?

A true relationship is effortless and oozes comfort with the pure connection. The lovable partners possess a healthy attachment style even after having a vast difference between each other. They make one another better in their lows and highs.

The secret behind such a perfect match is their mutual understanding and the ability to lead the relationship on one common goal.  Love is the reason that has a well-built trust and honesty in a relationship.

Being honest is not about being right or wrong. Being honest means being truthful, and that means being open to the opinions of others.

Many relationships fall apart because one or both people cannot handle the difference of opinion. I’ve witnessed this many times in my life. The feeling the other person is hurt or offended is very real.

However, the pain that is felt in the relationship is unwarranted. That is, if both parties are open and honest with each other. As they say, behind every hurt there is a hidden blessing. If you cannot trust each other, a relationship is doomed.

Instead, you have to build a trust based on honesty. If you have nothing to hide, then trust should be easy. This trust will help you understand each other, and help avoid hurt feelings.

Being honest doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes, it is as simple as admitting when you’re wrong. When you say, “I’m sorry,” and mean it, it goes a long way.

However, sometimes honesty can be more difficult. Sometimes, people don’t know what is fair. Other times, people just don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. Whatever the situation, being open and honest should be your top priority. If you are honest, then trust will follow.

Importance of honesty in a relationship

A serious and committed relationship doesn’t require any work on honesty. They simply are and genuinely possess authenticity in every walk of their life. However, life can be difficult and shows its worse side. Which results in the change of people including their goals. If one has the vision to continue a healthy relationship Then honesty is important and essential to keep the roots of the relationship strong.

How to be honest about your feelings with someone or with your partner?

The best way to be honest about your feelings with your partner or with someone whom you admire is to be yourself. Clear communication is the key to better understanding. Expressing your feelings, values, and beliefs in the most natural way can help you to build trust and honesty between each other.

Signs of dishonesty in a relationship

Some characteristics of toxic behaviors and signs show a person dishonest in life at many levels. A few lists of signs of dishonesty in a relationship are:

Lies: They become good at lying, with practice they become professional liars. You won’t even see any signs and blindly trust their articulate words and expressions.

Offensive: They have very unhealthy mindset, they get offended for each time even though they are wrong.

Disinterested: Though there many causes make a person lose interest in you. However, a loyal person would never do that. If a person loses interest or get bored with you then it is an absolute sign of dishonesty and cheap character.

Cheating: There is no other act that is terrible than cheating in a relationship. Often, it is unforgivable. It’s definitely the sign of dishonesty and lack of integrity.

Manipulates: They mislead the information by persuading you and manipulates you by being nice to get what they want. They make you blindly believe them.

Over controlling: If your partner dominates you in every thing, controls you and decides what you should do and should not, then these signs are purely toxic and dishonesty.

Doubt: A person who has self-issues also has problems with everyone and everything else. They have lack of self-awareness that creates doubt in themselves as well as in others.

Abusive: When anything gets done against their plan, instead of responding they use their power to abuse you physically or psychologically.

Two-faced: They change their words, acts and behaviours only to support themselves, without caring for others.

Dealing with dishonesty in a relationship

You cannot change or forcefully ask someone to change who has an inherently different personality than you. However, if some of your values align with them, then try your best to show your honesty, integrity, and true side. If they get inspired by your authenticity and realizes that you truly deserve true love then they will change themselves for you.

Otherwise, if they do not change their toxic behaviour towards you. Just understand that not every person you meet or feel connected supposed to be in your life forever. Just avoid those kinds of people and move on to the next stage of your life.

How to show honesty at home?

Showing honesty at home is entirely different from being honest at another place. Home is where you have to be who you are irrespective of the environment. If any one of the family possesses toxic behaviors you cannot abandon them. Instead, try to persuade them and understand them inside out.

When they feel accepted and understood then they open up with their intentions and actions. In such a way you can build trust and honesty at home and with each one of the family members.

Related: How to express love: 30 ways to show love in 5 love languages.

How to be honest at work?

Being honest at work can be tough. After all, you don’t want to say something that will hurt your boss or offend a co-worker. And if you’re honest, you might lose your job. But that’s no reason to be dishonest. Being honest at work is good for your reputation, and after a while, your honesty will be valued just as much as your technical skills.

That said, there are legitimate reasons to keep some things to yourself.

There’s an old adage that says, “Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.” That’s because asking for specific things, particularly if you’re asking for favors, can come across as being too forward.

In today’s work environment, being an honest person isn’t always easy, especially if you work in a large company.
With so many people working for the same company and so many levels of management, it can be tough to hold everyone accountable.

But it’s essential for you to be honest with yourself and your colleagues. It helps everyone perform better, and it allows you to better drive your own performance.
When you’re not honest about your actions or your performance, you not only hurt yourself — you hurt your team and the company as a whole. You don’t have to lie or cheat, but you should be honest. Here’s how you can be honest with yourself at work:

Clear expectations. If you’re going to be honest at work, then be clear about your expectations. Do you want to try and rise through the ranks, or would you rather maintain your current level of responsibility? Do you want a raise or a more prestigious title? Use these clear expectations as guidelines when you’re going to be honest at work.

Be upfront. When you honestly discuss a situation at work, you should avoid being vague. Instead, you should make your expectations known. If you’re asked to do something you’re not qualified or unwilling to do, then say so. Come up with a solution.

Be willing to apologize. Sometimes, being honest can be messy. There will be times where you mess up or do something you don’t mean to. When this happens, be quick to apologize. Admit that you did something wrong, and offer to fix it.

Be willing to explain. Sometimes, being honest at work means explaining yourself. Explaining your actions, your motives, or even your thought process can be uncomfortable, but it’s a part of being honest at work.

Change your behavior. Sometimes, being honest at work means changing your behavior. and try not blame others if your work is not on time.

Importance of honesty in the workplace

Honesty and integrity are the major traits, that any organization looks for in a person they are going to hire apart from intelligence and liveliness. If you want to expect good treatment from your higher officials and a hike in your salary and promotions then obviously honesty is very important in the workplace.

Some people find it difficult to be honest at work. After all, what’s the harm in being a little ambiguous about a situation? It’s easier to go with the flow than risk being reprimanded or reprimanded more. But the reality is, if you can’t be honest with yourself at work, then you can’t be honest with yourself anywhere else.

Honesty is the basis of everything. When we’re honest about our strengths and weaknesses, our motivations and our goals, we’re better able to deal with workplace issues that can threaten our careers. That’s why it is important be honest at the workplace if you want to survive the pressure of corporate culture.

How to be honest with your friends?

Friends are the very few people in our lives who know the worst and best sides of our personalities. If you don’t act righteously by being honest, then you are missing and losing the only essence of friendship. You need not try hard to be honest with your friends. Real friends will accept and understand if you being there with them in their darkest and brightest times.

Being honest with the people you love is easier said than done, but making that effort is incredibly important. After all, your friends — and the relationships you have with them — are precious. Here are four steps to help you be as honest as possible with your friends

Be specific. Before you can confront a friend about something, you need to identify what it is you’re upset about. Are you angry that your friend didn’t make plans with you? Or that your friend lets you down? Being specific about your feelings can help you figure out how to approach the problem.

Be kind and forgiving. If your friend isn’t being entirely honest with you, it’s natural to feel upset. But venting your anger at your friend isn’t the solution. You’re better off being considerate and kind, because being angry will only make the situation worse.

Be calm. When you’re upset, it’s hard to stay calm and collected. Emotions tend to run wild when you’re upset. So, try your best to keep a level head. Being calm and collected will help you think more clearly, which will help you figure out what to do about the situation.

Be direct. If your friend isn’t being completely honest with you, you need to point it out. You can’t expect your friend to change if they’re never confronted with what they’re not doing. So, be direct. Tell your friend what you suspect and why, and ask for help getting to the bottom of it.

Why is honesty important in friendship?

Honesty is important in friendship, because it helps you develop authentic connections and understand people to their core.

If you are not honest with your friends, either they are not your friends or you are not a friend to them at all.  Needless to say, A good friendship and relationship involuntarily work on the qualities of honesty, integrity, openness, and empathy. If you want to build trust and a long-term relationship, then honesty is truly important in friendship.

You don’t need perfect friends, you just need friends who accept you for who you are, even your shortcomings. Honesty requires vulnerability. Vulnerability is often looked down upon, but it’s a necessary part of all healthy relationships. By being vulnerable and telling your friends what you’re really thinking, they get to know you better and helps you build stronger friendships.

How to be honest in life all the time?

Randomly, any person cannot become honest suddenly from anywhere. Each one of us is born with different genes, traits, and personalities. They cannot be changed unless one puts an extreme amount of effort in himself to alter his mindset entirely acts and tragic or major events force them.

The key to being an honest person all the time is to stop lying.

It’s not always easy to be an honest person, because lying is natural human behaviors. It’s human nature to want to protect ourselves, our friends, our families, and our well-being. When there’s a danger to us or someone we care about, manipulating or lying can seem reasonable.

That’s why the first step to becoming an honest person is recognizing that lying and cheating are wrong and immoral, and that it’s immoral to even think about doing these things.

Once you understand that lying can lead you to face serious consequences, you can work to minimize your need for them. If lying to your parents or boss or peers is the only way you can protect someone you love, for example, try an alternative, more honest solution.

As a first step to becoming an honest person, it’s a good idea to stop and think about your lies, cheats, and manipulations. Then ask yourself whether you’re doing these things because you’ve come to believe they’re justified.

Ways to be honest

List of tips and ways to be honest in life, relationships, at work, and in every situation:

Be candid. Honesty starts with being candid. You should tell people when you’re unsure about something, and be open to their feedback.

Be direct. Being direct is the quickest and easiest way to be candid. Be straightforward with your colleagues and clients. There’s no need for sugarcoating.

Be Truthful. Truth starts at the top, and it starts with you. If you’re truthful, you will be trustworthy. Then it’s easier for you to be candid and honest with the people you work with every day.

Be consistent. If you’re honest, you need to follow through with what you say. Your word should be your bond.

Be transparent. Being transparent means being open and honest about your company’s business. There’s no need to keep secrets.

Be real. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re honest, people will trust you.

Do what you say and prove it with your results.

Be responsible for your words, actions, for yourself and for the people around you.

No matter how hard it is, always speak the truth.

Be committed to your goals and show sincerity in your work.

Be an inspiration for others to accomplish their goals.

Develop empathy, care for people and help genuinely who are in need of you.

Do not seek attention, do not try to impress others,

Be yourself as authentically and truthfully as you can. So, that you attract others who have similar values.

Be straightforward in a humble way such that people understand what you are trying to convey to help them.

Always strive to improve yourself without comparing yourself to others. Just focus only on your growth and ambitions.

Benefits of honesty

There are more benefits to being honest than disadvantages. Here is the list of benefits of honesty you should know to get benefited by their applications:

Honesty empowers an individual.

Honesty makes you physically attractive,

Your honesty makes others emotionally to trust you.

Your honesty make you look spiritually brave and courageous.

Honesty shows that you care people. So they fall in love with you for being humane

Honesty creates a great bond and increases your circle of great people who have similar values in life.

Honesty eliminates trauma and other nuisance drama in your life

Honesty develops a great sense of self-awareness, satisfaction and fulfillment.

You know when you are honest and when you are not. Being honest all the time make you realize that you feel inner peace and accomplishment.

Being honest is to be a good human. To be a good human is all that everyone strives for.

Your honesty makes others to feel accepted and understood. That’s a great sign of maturity and good human.

Honesty creates a great life.

Honest eliminates mental health issues like depression, anxiety and fear of uncertainty.

Being an honest person is a quality that earns you respect. It shows others that you are trustworthy and that you are not afraid to be yourself. You show others that you can be counted on to be reliable, dependable, and loyal.

Consequences of being honest

The issue is that, if you are really too honest that may turn out to be bad for you. Along with benefits, there are also consequences of being honest. Here is the list of disadvantages that you need to face for being honest:

People consider your honesty as a show-off.

If you are too honest, people take advantages of your weaknesses.

If you are too honest, your close relationships step back to share any confidential information or secrets.

There are times your too honest opinion may be perceived as silly and make fun of you.

You need to realize that people always require your advice and honesty. That may defend you even if you have a good intention to help them.

Your too honesty and straightforwardness sometimes hurts others very deeply. you need to know when to be quiet and when to help.

People really feel to think twice or thrice in order to spend time with you or be around you.

Your perfectionism and righteousness make others feel inferior. They feel that you are dominating and misleading even you are true with your actions.


How to be truthful?

If you want the difficult path, my simple hack to become truthful is – know what you want and act on it with an intense focus without receiving anyone’s help. When you try to solve everything on your own, you will face doubters, critics, disbelievers; and face setbacks, obstacles, and challenges.

In the process, you will slowly evolve as an individual begin to be humble. As everything you do turns you down, you lose hope, belief, you least expect from anything or anyone except your own commitment and will suffer enough.

Yet, do not give up. keep going through the hell. You will become so practical, become closer to reality as you experience more suffering in a righteous way.

After all the trials you have been gone through, there comes a stage either you choose to be silent or speak only what is real. Then every word you utter forms into a definite act of truth that everyone easily resonates with and realizes its essence.

If you want a simple path to become truthful, my hack is – create good intentions in your mind. Harm no one with your words or acts. Choose to be honest with yourself and speak what is right and prepare yourself for the consequences, if anyone misunderstands your message. Whatever the consequence might be stand up for your truth and keep moving forward.

How to build trust?

Honesty really is the key to build trust. Without it, things can get tense and frustrating. But if you’re going to be honest in a situation, you have to be authentic.

Authenticity means being true to yourself. If you’re pushing and pulling on yourself to prove yourself to others, you’re never going to be at your best.

So, how to build trust?

It’s pretty simple: you’re only as good as your word. If someone else is counting on you, they’ll feel let down if you’re unable to keep your promises.

In life, being authentic and truthful means being honest with your feelings — whether to another human or to yourself.
When you’re honest, you respect yourself. You respect yourself and you respect others. You respect yourself because you feel safe. And when you’re safe, you’re more likely to act in ways that are healthy for you.

You respect others because you know they’ll respect you. If you want to build a relationship with someone, you have to show respect. When people respect you, they’ll listen and spend time talking to you.

And if someone respects you, they’ll also respect your decisions — even if they’re different from their own. When you’re honest, you treat others with respect. You treat others as you would want to be treated. When you’re honest, you set a good example. And when you’re an example to others, they’ll treat you as a role model. And begin to believe in your words, actions and eventually trust you to the core.

Signs of deceitful person

The reality is we never know what the truth is. However, their body language, tone of voice and reveal some signs that can clue to recognize if someone is trustworthy or not.

  • Their words and actions do not align with the truth.
  • They try to manipulate to get whatever they want from you. (Not every time) But, in your gut you will come to know when someone is lying or not. Pay attention to your intuition, to gain clarity.
  • There is an inconsistency in their behaviour and change their words often to make them feel right.
  • Behind your back, they spread fault information about you.
  • They have a toxic and unhealthy mindset.
  • They often torture you and make drama out of each little wrong thing you do.
  • They always open for conflicts and fights.
  • They never share what really they are up to. (Hide things from you)
  • They do not trust you and often question your every act.
  • They have serious doubt issues and self-belief issues.

Tips on when you should not be too honest about your opinions.

1. When you are around toxic people, save your honesty with yourself.

2. Be aware to share your vulnerability and personal life incidents that may affect your relationships.

3. Avoid sharing the most intimidating stories of your past if it’s not appropriate.

4. When judging someone’s appearance, approving someone’s request, and breaking up with someone. Share what they might feel better to move on rather than hurting them with the harsh truth. Some things are beyond one’s control, no one can do anything about it. So, be empathetic instead of acting rational nerd.

5. Whenever you are not in the mood to share any information, follow your intuition and keep your secrets to yourself. It’s always not necessary to be blunt and completely honest.

Final thoughts:

One must know who he is and who he is not in order to realize what to say and what to do; where to say and where to be quiet. All these skills require an extreme level of self-consciousness.

That being said, it’s crucial to remember as the old saying goes – “Honesty is the best policy” always and forever. However, one must not only know how to be honest but when to be honest in life.

Just be aware, in order to save a relationship sometimes, a white lie doesn’t harm anyone.

Related:  A complete guide on How to motivate yourself in every situation

How to be honest: A guide to build trust, be truthful and show honesty

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