As part of our exploration of “telling the truth”, and why it’s often seen as a radical act in organizations, we brainstormed a list of why telling the truth could seem like a bad idea.

Here are our  Top 20 Reasons to Avoid Telling the Truth:

1.     Our relationship might change or crumble if we tell each other the truth

2.     It is uncomfortable and anxiety-producing

3.     I don’t think you need, or deserve, to know the truth

4.     You might not like me if I tell the truth

5.     It would force me to admit I am wrong

6.     I’ve learned people don’t really like to hear the truth

7.     It could put my job or career at risk

8.     Avoiding the truth is a social convention that helps us get along better

9.     The truth could put someone in harm’s way

10.  I don’t want to admit to, or live with, a harsh reality

11.  We might not agree on what “the truth” is

12.  Relationships, organizations and institutions don’t really support truth-telling

13.  Telling the truth would compromise a promise to keep someone’s secret

14.  It might mean I won’t get what I want

15.  Feelings could get bruised (mine or yours)

16.  I want to control you by manipulating the truth

17.  Last time I told the truth, it just got me in trouble

18.  Why should I do it when no one else does?

19.  I don’t think you can handle the truth

20.  The truth is unknowable, so what difference does it make?

What did we miss? Are any of these your favorites?

Next time, we’ll share our Top 20 list of Reasons to Tell the Truth