“It is better to be kind than right.” – Wayne Dyer

I’m not sure I agree with this one. Would you rather have someone be genuinely unkind or insincerely kind? Is it better to be real and right or real nice and wrong? If this type of New Age thinking were prevalent, we’d never know how to take people.

We’ve all heard this one:

Wife: “Do these jeans make my ass look fat?”

Kind Husband (gets sex): “No, honey, not at all. You look slender and lovely.”

Right, Mean Husband (gets no sex): “Actually, it’s your fat that makes your ass look fat.”

Right, Kind Husband (probably won’t get any sex): “I wouldn’t say ‘fat,’ but perhaps another pair would be more flattering.”

Right, Very Kind Husband (might get sex): “You look fine. Are they comfortable? Try on a different pair, and I’ll let you know which better complements your great figure.”

You can see why the husband chooses Wayne’s way. On the scale of importance, sex is way up there and sincerity about whether his wife’s ass looks fat doesn’t even rank. Why would he jeopardize tonight’s hokey-pokey with honesty? Yet, from the wife’s perspective, this insincerity causes a conundrum. If her ass looks fat in those jeans, and one of her friends–who prefer being right to kind, because there’s no sex on the line–tells her, there will be hell to pay. Marriage has such delicate times.

Let’s play this out further. Wife’s friend takes her aside at the dinner party and asks why she would wear such jeans. Wife appreciates the honesty and is angry. Why? Because her husband will see her fat ass? Nope. Because the other guests might notice her fat ass? Bingo! One may be tempted to ask why wife cares more about what friends and strangers think of her ass. After all, husband is the one who is supposed to have exclusive access thereto and enjoyment therefrom. If friend’s boyfriend remarks to friend that wife has a fat ass, it is of little consequence to friend. Friend might be happy that her boyfriend is not attracted to wife’s ass, since it is not his to enjoy. Friend might become paranoid that her ass is similarly fat. Recursively, the wise boyfriend will deflect such interrogation with kindness.

I’d rather have honesty.

If you genuinely dislike something about me, and it’s something that constructive criticism can improve for my sake as well as yours, I’d rather you be honest. If your motivation is to elevate yourself by belittling me, then kindly STFU (Google it).

Excessive kindness will cause flaws and problems to continue. Honesty will cause a few beers to the face, but at least motivate improvement in some cases.

A woman stormed into my office (bar) last night and complained about her blind date. Her main issue with him was that he has mushy forearms and bony fingers.

“Did you tell him that?”

“No. I said I had a nice time and left.”

“In his mind, the list of top one-hundred reasons why you won’t return his text messages will not contain ‘because I have bony fingers.’ This will cause confusion and paranoia. You’ve done humanity a disservice with your honesty.”

I challenge Wayne-o to consider a more reasonable quote: It is better to be silently right than insincerely kind.

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.