"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
My last post was about asking direct questions for the sake of clear communication. Direct questions aren't much use unless the answers to them are given honestly and openly. The reasoning for honesty and openness is largely the same as the reasoning for direct questions – and the reasons we shy away from honesty and openness are also mostly the same.
There are many reasons to be honest (and, as I discussed in this post, honesty includes openness). In fact, there are many reasons for honesty that are independently sufficient to make it a moral imperative for all of us. In this post, I will discuss only one of them: honesty respects the autonomy of other people.
Although our lives interconnect, every person makes decisions independently of all other people; in other words, my decisions are my own just as your decisions are your own. But my decisions and yours cannot be wiser than the information we have to guide them. When we give people incomplete, insufficient, or inaccurate information, we do so in an attempt to influence their actions. Moral obligations aside, any relationship that relies on such manipulation is inherently flimsy. The truth always comes out eventually and our lies (or our omissions) have a strong tendency to make things worse than they would have been had we been honest.
So show your confidence in and respect for others. Be honest. Be clear. Be tactful. Trust people to respond maturely when you tell them the truth.