Like most people, I try to tell the truth all the time, but there are times when it needs to be fudged a little. For instance, no matter who is asking it, the question “Does this make me look fat?” has only one correct answer and many variations on the incorrect answer.
For decades I was in management positions, and had a strict policy of truth-telling, but with as much tact as possible. That sometimes gets tested when you are asked by third parties to give a recommendation for one of your employees who is applying for work elsewhere.
Of course, managers are usually glad to sing the praises of great workers to help them up their career ladder.
It is more difficult if the person has some deficiencies, but you still want to help them get the new job.
Here are common phrases used by managers everywhere:
(for a lazy person) You’ll be lucky to get him to work for you.
(for a person who frequently steals from the petty cash fund) She takes change seriously.
(for a person with a serious alcohol problem) In his present job, his best skill is being wasted.
(for a generally incompetent person) No one would be better for your job.
Then you have the problem of people that you really want to keep because they are great at what they do, so you would just as soon have them not get the new job they are seeking.
That problem can be solved by honest recommendations like these:
When she finally shows up, she works harder than anyone else.
When he’s sober, he’s the best there is.
I’m no longer working, so I had to find other ways to use my diplomatic truth-telling skills. I now use them when discussing politics with people who support Donald Trump. The conversations remain convivial when I say truthful things like these:
When the President’s wall is finally built, it will keep a lot of trash out of this country, depending on wind currents.
When it comes to white supremacy, President Trump has done a lot personally to prove that proposition a complete fallacy.
The President alerts us all to the prevalence of fake news every single time he speaks.
No other politician has ever taken the Peter Principle to such heights.
Donald Trump promised to do something big about the national debt, and did he ever deliver.
Who else could have turned our enemies into close friends? Bosom buddies, actually.
Of course he’s religious. He’s a self-made man and he worships his creator.
No president has ever made such a radical difference in the respect America receives from our allies.
Even women who are Democrats are moved by Trump’s charisma. He touches them all.
I feel like I am doing my part to make dialogue in this country more civil, while speaking the truth. Sort of.