August 27, 2014 at 12:52 am #9946
If you ever have to use a “back door” to the truth, then can that truly be honesty?
*This was a question that was asked of a group I belong to tonight (the group is a relationship type of group) so the examples below use relationship scenarios to explain back door examples.*
A “back door” is when someone avoids telling a straight lie by basically using a half-truth so they can justify not telling a lie, and still claim honesty.
Example of a back door between a couple: Say a person was suspected of being unfaithful to their spouse, and when asked about it, they answer with “I would never be unfaithful to you.”
The spouse finds out that his/her husband/wife did have an affair in the past.
There are two back doors the liar could use.
#1. “You lied to me. You said you would never be unfaithful.”
The back door: “I didn’t say I hadn’t *already* been unfaithful to you, only that I never would.” The words “never would” to the unfaithful person, in this example, means “never in the future would I cheat on you, but that doesn’t mean I never said I hadn’t cheated on you (in the past.)”
And there you have a back door, which allows the dishonest, unfaithful person in the example a means of feeling like they weren’t exactly lying.
Back door #2: When confronted about the affair, the cheating person could say “I never said I wasn’t unfaithful to you. I said I would never *be* unfaithful to you.”
Example 3:”I would never be unfaithful,” says a lover. When spouse finds out that the lover had an affair, they confront them with “you lied. You said you’d never be unfaithful.”
Back door: “I said I would never be unfaithful. I didn’t say I would never be unfaithful to YOU.
So, those are some examples that were presented to us. I want to see the whole “back door” thing from every angle as possible, though. Even though I feel quite strongly that back doors are absolutely lies, no matter which way you look at it, I am open to other angles and perspectives.
What do ya’ll think? Is it ever possible, under any circumstance that you can think of, that a back door could still qualify as honesty? Care to share your views, too on whether or not back doors are honest, dishonest, or maybe you feel like there’s an in-between?
August 27, 2014 at 1:26 am #9947
In this family we call that a “loophole” and while I appreciate the technicalities that can be found in any statement (just as a stickler for technicalities), I don’t agree with them. I really can’t think of a way it would be honesty if a back door is used.
August 27, 2014 at 2:11 am #9954
Ah Pegasus! It’s so nice to see you responding. 😉
Loophole! That’s the other word for it. Dang it. I could’ve saved all that typing and thinking had I been able to remember the other word for “back door” lol! I knew it was commonly called something else, but couldn’t think of the word. 😉 Thank you for responding to this with your thoughts on it. I really enjoy other people’s opinions on things like this.
Feels good to be on the same page, too. 😉 Especially with something like this. Honesty can definitely be really hard, especially if doing so puts you in a vulnerable position, but I would rather have to face my consequences than lie. Probably because I know I’ll chastise myself far worse than the person who I lied to ever would lol. Plus, then I’d kick myself for lying on top of it. Lol. Back doors feel shady, to me, too. It’s like you don’t have the courage to own up to something or either find another route, even if it means just not answering someone over lying to them. It boils back down to knowing that you’ve worded something in a way for the person to think something that is a lie (intentionally misleading them.) Knowing that I led someone down the road to a lie, then let them believe it would make me feel cruddy and low.
August 27, 2014 at 1:32 am #9948
Yes. Yes and no. I don’t think it’s “honest” but maybe it’s “truthful,” to say something like “I’m not the cheating type, I would never cheat on you,” when one has a past of infidelity that’s very far behind them. What good would it do to tell a new partner that you’ve cheated on people, when you’re not in the same situation or the same person you once were?
In general, I advocate responsible truthtelling over blatant honesty.
August 27, 2014 at 2:04 am #9951
Thanks for your thoughtful response, Amalthea!
Yes, it’s certain that everybody will be different in every single relationship. I know I’ve been a bit different towards every single boyfriend I’ve ever had, sometimes even drastically different with one than another. That’s just all about responding and reacting to different people. I mean, I’m a bit different around say, my mom than my significant other.
I agree that some things, like cheating on a past girlfriend/boyfriend wouldn’t exactly be a requirement to share when in a new relationship, although if ever I did not want to be totally raw and open about it, I would just not answer the question rather than lie. I think I’d answer the person’s question with a question if I didn’t want to admit to my past. LOL. If they asked me if I’d ever cheated on someone, I’d just say “have you ever cheated on someone.” LOL. And if it went further I’d just jokingly say I preferred not to discuss the past, especially ex-boyfriends with them. Crises averted. Lol.
But I suppose I’ve always been incredibly open and raw when people ask me questions. I’ve always just been straight up, and even admitted to cheating in the past. It wasn’t ever held against me though, so that’s why I never felt a need to lie about it to anyone I dated. If one of them had let my past actions change how they treated me, or determined their respect for me, then I can’t say I wouldn’t do some lying. I’ll admit I’ve lied to boyfriends about things similar to that. Then again, at the time it did not occur to me that if they did lose respect for me over something like that, then they wouldn’t be worth my love/time anyhow.
If we’re discussing lies and white lies and which lies are “okay,” then my answers on those would vary greatly depending on the situation. I can see many instances where flat-out lying is totally acceptable! Lol. If you think hard on it, I feel like most people can imagine certain situations where a lie can be totally harmless and even necessary sometimes (not typically with people you love, but there are some other circumstances.)
But since we’re discussing back doors — trying to justify leading someone to believe a total lie, then I have yet to think of a circumstance when that would be considered anything honest. Still thinking on it, though.
What you said about “truth telling” and “blatant honesty”… not sure I know the difference, but if by “blatant honesty,” you mean voluntarily telling someone an unnecessary truth, then I agree — there are plenty of instances where that could be uncalled for. However, sharing an unnecessary truth voluntarily is hardly ever necessary anyways, so it would not be a lie to simply not share it. If that makes sense?
An example of voluntarily sharing an unnecessary truth would be like if you noticed a stranger wearing what you call a totally ugly shade of lipstick and decided to tell them it was ugly and didn’t look nice on them. Bad! That is just rude. I was just discussing with my significant other last night how almost any time you ask someone (of my age, at least) what some of their qualities are, they almost always say “I’m blatantly honest” or “I’m always totally honest, even if it means hurting feelings.” And I said — that is not being honest, that is being rude and using “honesty” as an excuse to do it! Lol. Like the lipstick example.
What brought that topic up was a girl I’d recently met made a big to do the second time I met her, telling my S/O that he needed to beat someone up because they said something about me. She wanted so badly to tell us that this person had said I was ugly in high school that she went well out of her way to tell us! She was afraid to hurt my feelings, though, she said after telling us. I assured her that the person had every right to not think of me as attractive, and he was totally allowed to think of me as however he wished, even if it is ugly! Turns out, a friend who heard her tell us later said that the person hadn’t even used the word ugly, but had commented that I had gotten lovely after high school.
Her telling us was voluntary, it was honest, though! Lol Well, it was honest from what she heard of the conversation about me. In my opinion, you don’t always have to tell someone something just because it’s honest. My mom has always told me to ask 2 questions before telling someone something 1. do they need to know & will it actually serve them any purpose to tell them? 2. Will it hurt their feelings? Obviously, if it doesn’t help them in any way, but only hurts their feelings, you keep it to yourself.
That is when honesty is more than just honesty and more rude than anything. But people want to be applauded for having the “guts” to tell you something that might hurt your feelings. It took so much courage! You might as well pat them on the back for such honesty. Lol. 😉
On the other hand, if I asked someone what they thought of me and gave them permission to be honest (which is really the only reason one would ask that question Lol.), then I would expect full honesty, and I wouldn’t chide them for giving it to me. In that case, I think blatant honesty is okay.
So when you say “responsible truth-telling,” that is what I see it as — being sure that your intentions are well-meaning when you speak a truth, and keeping anything that wouldn’t do you or someone else good to yourself.
And I also agree that situations change as your relationships do. Once a cheater always a cheater is not necessarily a hard truth, in my opinion. I mean, if it were, that would mean I would always be a cheater since I have cheated on past boyfriends. And I’m so far from that kind of behavior now that I could confidently say I’ll never do it. Again, that is. Lol. But, it is true — depending on the person you’re with, and how you feel about them (and how you might feel about other potential spouses too Lol) is more of a determining factor than having cheated in your past.
Whew! Am I long winded or what? Lol.
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