Outspoken people: why the world needs them

Caitlin Walsh

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway,” Mother Teresa.

   I’ve had people in my life who avoided anything genuine because of their fear of being reprimanded. When I needed an honest opinion or someone to healthily bruise my pride, no one was there to address it. Only later did I find that they indeed addressed the truth, but to people besides myself. This type of behavior influenced me to tell others what they wanted to hear, rather than choosing to be sincere and respectfully telling them what they needed to hear.

   Fortunately, down the road, I was introduced to people who told me things without unnecessary sugar-coating or denial. They stood by their beliefs, they didn’t take anyone’s nonsense, and they told me the inevitable truth. At first, their bluntness was a shock, but I quickly adjusted and really started to admire straight-forward people ever since my relationships developed with them. The world needs bold people.

   However, it’s important to understand the distinct difference between people who are plain-spoken and those who are just plain rude. Being sincere and honest is not to say everything you think, but essentially to mean everything you say. Telling someone that their shirt is ugly is not the kind of bluntness that should be encouraged.

   There are many reasons for my appreciation and understanding of importance regarding honest people, but here are a few that I feel are valuable to share.

   Straight-forward people are reliable. They are trustworthy and dependable for the truth. A bold person wouldn’t waste their time speaking about a friend behind their back. If they had a problem with a particular friend, they would come right out and tell that person: the only person who should hear the issue. As a result, their honesty could improve them as a human being. Many people fear to confront someone close to their hearts because of a chance of hurting them. However, in the end, a confrontation could do the complete opposite. Telling a friend of a fault that clearly needs to be addressed might hurt their ego in the beginning, but sooner or later they will look at their actions and attempt to improve them. My personal experience with confrontations involved a friend who said I was too concerned about what others thought of me and I should just have more confidence in myself. At first, I felt a little offended because it was easy for me to recognize when others had this issue, but little did I know, I had this problem too. I began to practice on improving my self-esteem and that has significantly enhanced who I am as a person. Having a friend who is dependable for the truth will make life just a bit smoother.

   Bold personalities are genuine. They are the kind of people who stand up for what they believe in and are not afraid to rationalize with others. A friend of mine has an admirable personality where the only words that come out of her mouth is the truth, or nothing at all. I remember a discussion we had with group of people as we conversed a debatable subject: feminism. A few people argued feminism was just a way for women to have more rights than men. She didn’t keep quiet like some people or totally disregard their belief by telling them off, but instead, she told them she disagreed and her reasons for that. She didn’t sway her beliefs in order to avoid discomfort or vulnerability. It’s a very real and earnest characteristic of a person to support their opinions in a world that has many different views. This particular friend is open to my opinions just as I am with hers and discussing them has helped us both to learn more about each other and on insights different from our own. I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong to have disagreements with others.

   Lastly, plain-spoken people can be amusing. My blunt friends and I share a laugh nearly every time we’re together. They are the type of people who have the courage to say what everyone else is thinking and relate to others because of their vulnerability. Situations that include frank people are generally less awkward and more enjoyable because of their ability to break the ice. I’ve found that whenever I am the first one to become vulnerable and speak what’s on my mind, the people around me being to ease up and feel more comfortable. As an example, think about that one student in class who took a leap on inquiring a gutsy question. We were all thinking that same question, but didn’t have the courage to ask. We then laugh because we can all relate in the situation. I think a lot of us admire these kinds of people because of their bold personality. Transparency and boldness often leads to a humorous charisma.

   Diddle-daddling around the truth or continually seeking approval from others is a big waste of time. Speaking the truth requires bravery and acceptance of criticism. Yet, I say go for it, because people who are okay with honesty are likely the people that should be in your life.