Does the Phrase, “To Be Honest,” Rub You the Wrong Way?

Maybe it’s me, but this phrase grates on me. After all, taken literally, it implies that the speaker, up to that point, has been less than honest.

To be sure, I doubt the speaker actually means that. But here’s the thing: I have to interpret words based on their actual meaning. I’m not a mind reader.

Accordingly, instead of “honest,” why not use a more precise word? Here are a few:

✔ blunt
✔ candid
✔ forthright
✔ frank

What’s the difference? While I like to assume that the person I’m speaking with is being honest with me, I can understand if he’s not being frank with me. The difference is subtle, but aren’t most things a difference of degree?

What do you think? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Or do you too find this platitude to be slightly insulting?

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