Honesty and Emotions

My mother-in-law -used to say, “Be careful of asking for someone’s opinion. The person may give it to you.”

If someone asks you for your opinion and if the person perceives that your comments are derogatory, there is a problem.

Cognition and emotion go hand in hand, with the latter preceding the former. In other words, what we hear may prompt a negative feeling. Once a negative feeling has erupted, it doesn’t do any good to try to convince the person that the way he or she feels is wrong. You’ve got to deal with the way the person feels first.

An approach to resolving the situation is to ask the person whether the person is angry with you or with what you said. This will prompt the person to reflect. It will also diffuse the negative feelings because you have redirected the focus.

We want to be honest with others but need to realize our honesty can be interpreted as derogatory or negative. Having a good question to ask—if needed—when we give our opinion is simply good preparation.