Tonight will be the last night that I spend in Surabaya before I head back to Jakarta and spend 2.5 days with my sister’s family. Whilst sorting out the many snacks and nick-nacks to bring back to Adelaide via Jakarta, Yani casually mentioned that one of the cakes that my were given to her relatives was spoilt by the time that they ate it. She was cautioned not to tell me in case it offended me and made me reluctant to head back to Surabaya. Yani decided to tell me nevertheless, with the honourable objective to be truthful to me. Unfortunately it made me a bit uneasy when I met my in-laws and the relatives. I told Yani that I wished that she had not told me about the cake, as it made me a tad annoyed. There were so many factors that could affect the cake, including the lag time between when my sister bought it and when I brought it over to Surabaya, and when the cake was finally consumed. Knowing the sister who bought the cake, I am pretty sure that it was fresh when she bought it. With the habit of keeping food in the fridge is still touch and go in Indonesia, it’s just normal that foodstuff goes bad more rapidly.
That made me think again about the truth. Would you tell it even if the consequence could be harmful for the relationship? (I mean day-to-day truth, rather than “The Truth”, if you catch my drift) … or would you filter it and just disseminate what is important? Would you tell Aunt Beryl to her face that the sweater that she gave you last Christmas is actually two sizes too small? … or would you (without lying) give the impression that the sweater is much loved and worn (even when it is by somebody else?).
Telling the truth needs extra finesse so as not to destroy the relationship, without watering the essence of the message. I’m more of a person who will only share the important ones, and keep the trivial ones so as not to hurt the feelings of the other party. For the important ones, I am game enough to tell the person, as wisely as possible. I have hurt several people in the process, but I’m learning every time.
Perhaps it would be better if I didn’t know about the cake, or perhaps it would be better if I were told about the news when I return to Adelaide. I don’t know the answer to tell you the truth. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important, I know.
What do you think?
Are you the kind of person who pass the truth:
[a] unfiltered – with the aim of having no secret and to always tell the truth?
[b] only the important ones, as wisely as possible; and omit the trivial ones?
[c] never; keeping face and maintaining relationship is more important?