You really should expect some brutally honest answers if you ask this question.
This question came up to me when I was thinking about what my friend said to me. My friend said that I could and should be brutally honest with them (No, I’m not giving out further detail whether it’s a he or she). Now, I’m in that situation where I would love to be brutally honest with this person, but I’m too worried I would only make things awkward or even worse, ruin the whole friendship. I really wish I have the guts. So in that case, I was wondering how brutal people would and could be if they were given the chance to, unconditionally. With a little help of a friend, I got my question posted on Reddit and I have to say that the answers are pretty interesting. Some are mean and perhaps even rip the heart. But I thought, isn’t that what you expect when you say “brutally honest”?
Note: The answers aren’t rephrased or changed. Just censored a bit.
“I would probably tell Donald Trump that he needs to stop. Like, that I understand that he gets a thrill out of the electricity that comes from having people listen to you, and that he enjoys the entire spectacle. But in the end, he’s just capitalizing on people’s lowest instincts while degrading the entire idea of the democratic process. He’s causing irreparable harm to the very idea of a democracy and he needs to stop. Also, the fact that his worldview is so shaped by Russian propaganda is pretty gross. NATO membership is not negotiable. Refugees aren’t animals roaming around looking for women to rape. Germany and South Korea aren’t “ripping us off” by leasing us land for military bases. I wouldn’t expect him to listen to me, but at least I could say that I tried.”
“I would tell my mum that I’m disappointed in her.”
“To the girl in the cafe right now! “You are incredibly hot, how about a coffee together?”’
“To my SO: I fell in love with you, not with your parents. I’m not obligated to spend time with their clingy-a***s”
“Justin Bieber…you are a spoiled mediocre little s***. Your dreads are embarrassing and you just need to stop.”
“Sorry mom. You are too simple and racist for me. I’ve been thinking lately that the blight of our age is the inability for people to admit they are wrong. We all have opinions about things. Some are justified through the truth, like facts. Some are completely unjustified through misunderstanding. We all have been raised to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, honesty and deceit. Opinions are not self-justifiable. Just because you have an opinion, that in no way makes it right. Just because you believed it, it doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Everybody deserves to feel safe. Everybody deserves to be equal. We are all born with the potential for greatness and mediocrity. We can all potentially be good or bad. We can all be right and wrong. Contrarians are neither, because they don’t really have an opinion. They just need to be different, even if it means being wrong. Being hateful against another race is being racist. Believing that everything in the news is honest and newsworthy is worse than being stupid. It’s the difference between being educated and being miseducated. Between being informed and misinformed. Between having a real opinion and being manipulated. Between being actually right and absolutely wrong. This goes for everything. You probably think that I’m talking about politics or religion. Or maybe about movies or music. It’s about everything. You are the person who taught me right from wrong and you don’t even know the difference. Having me at 16 was a stupid thing for a stupid person to do. I’ve come to realize that you are a hateful idiot who doesn’t deserve to have me in your life anymore. Call me when you realize how far on the wrong side of everything that you are.”
“To my coworkers during lunch: you’ve got lettuce/cheese/crumbs on your face. I wouldn’t mind telling them, I guess. Sometimes I just wonder how long it can stay on there before they notice.”
“I work with this woman who gets way too anxious and puts everyone on edge. She will also question everyone about how healthy their lunch is. I just want to tell her to cool the f*** down and shut the f*** up.”
“I had a student this year who was (and is) just the nastiest person. Self-righteous, arrogant, and entitled, she used my classroom as her personal soapbox. She is myopic and unable to consider the wants or feelings of others. In her mind, there is nobody smarter or more important in the room. Her voice is the only one that is worthy of being heard, and I, as her teacher, need to acknowledge how smart she is and how the stupid peons in her class should be listening to her as the source of all that is right and good.
I really want to tell her off – to let her know that I do not work for her, I am not her servant, and that nobody likes her half as much as she likes herself. At best, people are scared of her. At worst, people want her to take a long walk off a short pier. I want her to know how rude an awakening she’s in for when her future patients (she’s an aspiring doctor) think she has no bedside manner, and that her nurses will talk s*** about her behind her back. I want her to know what a mean, callous, thoughtless person she is, and that no amount of straight As (and she gets them) will make her kind, decent, or any fun to be around. Nobody has ever liked a human steamroller.”
“I would say…Hillary my dear. 96% of Americans think you are untrustworthy and the only people that support you wear adult diapers. Please drop out of the race for the good of the country.”
How far would you go if you were given the chance to be honest without any consequence?
Elsa Hestriana, 2016.
Illustration by Harriet Lee Merrion