I spent too many years trying to please people or trying to make people happy. I have stopped all that as being a rather useless practice. I am not trying to be a pain in the ass, it just seems to work that way.
What does that mean? It means I do not opt for any dishonesty at all, even to save my own ass. I do temper my responses. If I know saying something will be hurtful and I have not been asked my opinion, I opt to say nothing. But when asked, I will be honest even at the risk of friendship. I have decided that you cannot comprise on honesty. There are a lot of people who do not like that. They say they wish I had said something a little less honest.
But sometimes I feel the need to speak up when I see something I think is wrong. This is when my being a pain in the ass seems to maximize. People do not like being corrected or being told something they do not want to hear. This does not mean I go around correcting people all the time, I do not. But if I see someone near to me doing something I consider harmful to themselves, I feel an obligation to say something. The thing is, I say it once and not again. It may cause hurt feelings but they will not come back at me and ask why I did not say something. People get defensive very quickly. A good pain in the ass, like me, does not take that personally, particularly when the person lashes out. In a way, it is the price of doing business, the price of honesty. When confronted about my being such I respond, “What kind of a friend would I be if I said nothing.” And that is my belief.
There are times, of course, when I am quite wrong. Times like that are simply an opportunity for me to apologize and move on. I do not like being wrong but I have no problem admitting to being such.
My belief system today tells me to err on the side of caution. I believe it is better to be wrong saying something than saying nothing when I am right.