Last Updated on December 19, 2022
Telling the truth can be painfully difficult, especially if the recipient potentially lacks the emotional strength to handle the truth. Picture a scenario where you’re the spouse to break it up to your partner that you think it’s about time you went your separate ways.
Or a situation where you’ve got to drop the bombshell to your long-term employee that your company can no longer sustain them. What about if you had to break the sad news of a gruesome death to the bereaved? Well, you get the picture.
But telling the truth isn’t just difficult where the thing to say is uncomfortable or unpleasant. Sometimes, honesty may run thin even when the expected piece of news is palatable to the recipient’s ears. That’s because it’s only human nature to want to lie. And lying can assume numerous forms.
Some people delight in telling outright lies, whereas others choose to be deliberately economical with the truth by withholding crucial details about a sensitive matter. There’s also a category of people who exaggerate facts to suit their own interests.
Not to mention those who tell the truth but with the intention that you misinterpret their words as lies, usually in an attempt to have you underestimate the true gravity of a situation.
Since telling the truth is one of life’s most difficult dilemmas, it’s best to arm yourself with some inspiration to point you in the right direction. One place to find that inspiration is from honesty quotes.
Quotes about honesty remind us that there’s nothing more important in our relationships than being truthful. And that starts right from being honest about our feelings for our partners. Any relationship based on lies is destined to crumble.
It’s only a matter of when, not if. These quotes also remind us about how precious honesty can be. That while lying may often seem like the logical thing to do, it’s always prudent to go with the more uncomfortable option – telling the truth.
We’ve rounded up 40+ quotes about telling the truth and why it’s important to cultivate the virtue of honesty in all your relationships. These honesty quotes cut across the full spectrum.
You’ll find quotes that compare the long-term benefits of telling the truth against the short-term comfort of lying. Indeed, being truthful may feel uncomfortable in the short run. But the consequences can be ultimately rewarding.
Our list of honesty quotes also includes sayings that emphasize the deceptive nature of lies. That no matter how properly crafted or meticulously delivered, lies have a way of catching up with the teller. Besides, liars need good memory and a heightened level of craftiness to continually refine their lies.
The best part about the following honesty quotes is that most of them were coined by some of the world’s greatest philosophers, including politicians, historians, and modern-day celebrities. So, if you’re constantly struggling with telling the truth, you’ll find this list highly resourceful.
Feel free to sample the below collection of honesty quotes for inspiration the next time you’re torn between lying and keeping it real.
Best Honesty Quotes
- “Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” — Henry David Thoreau
- “There are very few honest friends — the demand is not particularly great.” — Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
- “Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting 10 times more to tell you a loving lie.” — Robert Breault
- “An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” — E.W. Howe
- “Don’t trust the person who has broken faith once.” — William Shakespeare
- “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” — Ernest Hemingway
- “You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.” — Anton Chekhov
- “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” — Stephen King
- “The real source of inner joy is to remain truthful and honest.” — The Dalai Lama
- “As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” — Nelson Mandela
- “Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully.” — Maya Angelou
- “Honesty is often very hard. The truth is often painful. But the freedom it can bring is worth the trying.” — Fred Rogers
- “Feigned interest is worse than brutal honesty.” — Stewart Stafford
- “Trust thyself: Every heart vibrates to that iron string.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “There is always a way to be honest without being brutal.” — Arthur Dobrin
- “A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.” — William Blake
- “We learned about honesty and integrity — that the truth matters. That you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” — Michelle Obama
- “When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity — regardless of what others may do — you are destined for greatness.” — Napoleon Hill
- “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” — C.S. Lewis
- “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” — Confucius
- “Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” — W. Clement Stone
- “Integrity is making sure that the things you say and the things you do are in alignment.” — Katrina Mayer
- “Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life — all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity.” — Zig Ziglar
- “I rap about fighting back. I make it uncomfortable by putting details to it. It might not have been politically correct, but I’ve reached somebody; they relating to me. They relate to the brutal honesty in the rap.” — Tupac Shakur
- “The truth brings with it a great measure of absolution, always.” — R.D. Laing
- “When you’re dishonest with yourself, you’re disconnected from reality. You’re going to make poor decisions. You’re going to drop out of the moment and you’re going to be less happy and you’re going to be wrong.” — Naval Ravikant
- “When you face a choice between being polite and being honest, err on the side of the truth. It’s better to be disliked but respected than to be liked but disrespected. In the long run, the people we trust the most are those who have the courage to be sincere.” — Adam Grant
- “Create from the heart to produce something meaningful. Speak from the heart to build solid relationships. Live from the heart to have a beautiful life.” — Maxime Lagacé
- “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” — Spencer Johnson
- “People of integrity not only practice what they preach, they are what they preach.” — David A. Bednar
- “The high road is always respected. Honesty and integrity are always rewarded.” — Scott Hamilton
- “If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.” — Virginia Woolf
- “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” — Albert Einstein
- “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” — William Shakespeare
- “If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.” — Marcus Aurelius
- “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” — Maya Angelou
- “Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.” — Warren Buffett
- “To be brutally truthful, the removal of your noodle from seeking other people’s futile approval to be you is one of the most beautiful steps to flight, where wings flap to freedom from so many deadly traps.” — Curtis Tyrone Jones
- “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.” — John Lennon
- “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson