I have a friend that wants to be a singer. She’s sure that she’s going to be a big star. She’s in her early forties and has been singing for a long time, but her career has never taken off. At all. And here’s the thing: she’s not really a great singer. Recently she asked me what I thought about her career and her singing. I didn’t know what to say. I basically lied and said that I thought that if she really loved it, she should keep going. I believe that to some degree, but I also didn’t tell her what I really think about her singing. Afterwards, I felt bad about lying, but I also don’t want to hurt her feelings. Is it ever okay to lie to spare someone’s feelings?
Kindness is not overrated. The challenge sometimes, as you obviously know, is to discern which choice or communication (or omission) is most kind in a given situation.
In this case, you could support your friend while also being gentle with the truth. For instance, one option is that you could tell her that you kept thinking about that conversation and realized you have more to say. You could let her know that the more you thought about it, the more you felt your answer to her was incomplete.
You could say that, in all honesty, you want so badly to support her that you left out some of your opinion. And you could point out that, while anything is possible (this is totally true!), the music industry these days is not usually starting out big careers for people in their thirties, let alone forties. This may invite her to shift her goals or dreams to a direction more worthy of her time and dedication.
However, the truth is that what you said to her, “I thought that if she really loved it, she should keep going,” is fantastic advice! Because we all should keep doing what brings us joy! If it brings her great joy to sing, then it is something she should continue to do!
Unless she asks you point blank about how you feel about the quality of her singing, I would leave that out. Your opinion is totally subjective after all.
But if she were to ask you directly about that part of her questioning, then you could either say that you don’t think your opinion is what should matter (because that is true also). Or you could, if painted into a corner, honestly tell her in the nicest way you can think of, what you think. For instance, you could start with every little thing you can come up with to say that is positive about her singing and performing. Then you could add that, while all those things are true, you do feel she has room for improvement. Perhaps she would be interested in some vocal coaching? (If you are in a position to do so, you could even interview coaches to find one who you know will be honest with her, and gift her with a session or two? Just a thought…)
A great coach will be honest with her, without crushing her. Make sure you find someone who is able to communicate in a way that allows her to continue with her passion and joy, even if she shifts where she might believe she’s headed.
And let us know how it goes!
Blessings and Love to you in all you do!
What is your experience with being truthful and yet kind? Share your comments below!
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