Honesty vs. Transparency


Honesty vs. Transparency in Relationships

Did you know that there was a huge difference between honesty and transparency in a relationship?

Honesty vs. Transparency

If you have relationships, you know firsthand that no one is perfect, and that we make mistakes. How we discuss these situations can impact the health of a relationship.

First, I will tell you the difference between honesty and transparency and give you an example of each. Then I tell you why transparency is important.

Honesty is when a person tells the truth about something they’re asked about.

Transparency is when a person volunteers information without having to be asked. 

Practicing Honesty vs Transparency

Let’s take purchases as an example. Have you ever hid your purchases, snuck in bags, or surprised your partner with a huge purchase on the joint credit card? 

As a concerned partner, you may ask your honest partner who practices honesty a question like,

“Hey, I noticed this charge on a credit card statement. What’s up with that? What is this?”  

An honest partner desiring to work this situation out might say,

“Listen, I went out, and I bought these things, and I know we normally talk about these purchases. I’m sorry I went against our rules.”

When you are with a transparent partner practicing transparency, your partner may come to you saying,

“Listen, I made a huge purchase today. We normally talk about it. I realize it violates what we agreed upon. I want to work it out, move forward, and make sure we have trust.”

Why is transparency important?

In a romantic relationship, the difference between honesty and transparency can be the difference between trusting and not trusting your partner.

Additionally, it can be tough to admit when you make a mistake. I caution against omitting information, carefully sharing snippets of chosen information, and vague information, as they can also lead to trust issues. You may desire to avoid feeling embarrassment, shame, or guilt, but you owe it to your partner, to be honest, and transparent. Likewise, plausible deniability or pretending ignorance is a trust violation. This behavior is manipulative and should be avoided in healthy relationships. 

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About the Author:

Devaney is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor who specializes in working with people of color, couples, and the LGBTQIA+ community. She works with adults ages 18+. She also offers supervision in the state of Texas.

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