A day of speaking my true mind
By Anna Trevelyan
I’ve always admired those with strong opinions who say exactly what’s on their mind. It’s a risky strategy, as those who speak their true minds do tend to divide opinion (and have a fair few enemies) - but is it really necessary to want everyone to like you? Or should we all just stand up and say what we think? Paid online surveys are a good way to have your say, but what about in real life?
How refreshing, I thought, to not have to self-edit and to say exactly what’s on your mind. So I tried it one day. Here’s what happened.
The day began quite well. My husband and I tend to be quite frank with one another, ditto my toddler, so by 7am so far so normal.
Upon arrival at work I met a colleague at the entrance. We walked in together and he asked me how I was. Instead of usual “fine thanks!” I said “a bit achy really. Plus I’m fairly worried my breath smells like a used nappy.” The look on his face was priceless. He was still staring at me with that pitying half frown (usually reserved for when you see a one-legged-pigeon on the pavement) when I skipped on past him to retrieve a mint from my desk.
Apart from a few fraught phone calls (it turns out some people don’t like it when you tell them the truth: that you haven’t called them back because it “really wasn’t a priority”) the morning passed without too much drama.
The next sticky situation came when I was tasked with showing someone around the building. They must have thought me quite mad, and rather cynical (the latter of which I am usually not). In response to their questions I advised them to consider bringing in their own loo roll, and that I had to cut the tour short because I had more important things to do. I felt a bit mean really but it was the cold hard truth.
Later on a friend sent me a message to ask what I thought about a certain person she liked. I think she was hoping I’d compliment his nice personality, but instead I was forced to point out his rather prominent nose hair.
Things went rapidly downhill when a neighbour kindly offered me some home baking in the afternoon and I declined – explaining that their biscuits simply “weren’t worth the calories” - and when I felt compelled to tell someone else that their jumper really wasn’t very flattering. I also complained to the local cafe that their cups were a bit grubby, and I found myself ranting to somebody on public transport about how pointless I think Ellie Goulding might be.
My final moment of speaking my mind came when I was chatting on the phone to my best friend in the evening. Instead of casually closing the conversation, I told her the ugly truth: “Sorry, I’d better go now as I need a poo.” Her stunned silence and uneasy laugh told me that it was time to stop, and start self-censoring again for the sake of everyone around me.
I have to admit, it was quite a cathartic exercise. I have never over-shared that much, and I have never disclosed so much about my personal life and habits to near strangers in public. I’m still un-doing some of the truths dished out that day. Although it was easier to say exactly what I thought, the fallout was more hard work than it was worth for me.
I still admire those who speak their mind. It takes a thick skin, a cut-throat standpoint and real confidence in your own views (not to mention a willingness to share a LOT). Trust me, not everyone likes to hear the ugly truth. So, for now, I’m quite comfortable with keeping some things to myself.
What do you think? Are you someone who tells it like it is, or are you too polite to speak up? Whatever your opinion we want to hear from you at Opinion Outpost! Join in the discussion on Facebook, and don’t forget to have your say in our latest paid surveys and online polls.