An Esquire journalist conducted an experiment based on the book Radical Honesty. I read this book three years ago. The premise is that you always tell the truth. This removes the stress of lying, and also establishes deeper relationships.
"He says we should toss out the filters between our brains and our mouths. If you think it, say it. Confess to your boss your secret plans to start your own company. If you're having fantasies about your wife's sister, Blanton says to tell your wife and tell her sister. It's the only path to authentic relationships. It's the only way to smash through modernity's soul-deadening alienation. Oversharing? No such thing. "
My jaw dropped when the journalist pulled this one, halfway through his experiment:
I have a business breakfast with an editor from Rachael Ray's magazine. As we're sitting together, I tell her that I remember what she wore the first time we met -- a black shirt that revealed her shoulders in a provocative way. I say that I'd try to sleep with her if I were single. I confess to her that I just attempted (unsuccessfully) to look down her shirt during breakfast.
After a few days, he even applied it to the author of the book himself:
In his book, Radical Honesty, Blanton advises us to start sentences with the words "I resent you for" or "I appreciate you for." So I write him back.
"I resent you for being so different in these e-mails than you were when we met. You were friendly and engaging and encouraging when we met. Now you seem to have turned judgmental and tough. I resent you for giving me the advice to break that old man's heart by telling him that his poems suck."
By the time I finished the article, I was at the highest level of excitement I've reached in many weeks. Every sentence I wrote over email or IM for the next hour ended with an exclamation point. (Poor Stuttgart... who emailed me during the zenith of this fervor.)
I am sorely tempted to do this experiment in my social life, for a week. I won't do it for anything work-related, since obviously I need to keep confidentiality. And I would also keep any secrets told to me in confidence by others. But I think it would be interesting to do for the rest of my personal life.
I told one of my best friends, who replied:
I resent you for wanting to create even more self-centered drama in your life, for ostentatiously chasing some sort of ridiculous ideal. But mostly, I selfishly resent the idea because I would never have the courage to do it. Actually, I hope you do it, because I want to see what happens, but I'm kind of hoping it's a horrible disaster that leaves you chastened and validates my cowardice.
Awesome! If that's the kind of candid conversation I'll be having, sign me up right now!