Does honesty pay?

I ask myself this question far too often.

Sometimes I’m not sure it does pay to be honest. I’ve chosen (perhaps naïvely) to be honest about my views in certain situations and have come to regret it. I don’t expect others to agree with me. I don’t expect to be able to influence someone else’s thinking. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should feel free to express it and I rarely take offence at others’ views.

And yet, I have come away feeling like I’ve inadvertently walked into a minefield, unsure how I managed to touch a nerve on something that seemed innocuous. Kicking myself for thinking I could freely express myself.

I used to enjoy healthy discussion on various topics, but my enthusiasm for it is waning. I seem to run into too many people who simply want to be right and win an argument. An argument I wasn’t trying to start in the first place. Invariably, I walk away hurt (and sometimes angry) that I’m so thoroughly misunderstood. 

On the other hand, I have often fudged my opinion to spare someone’s feelings. I try to be as honest as possible because I don’t want to outright lie to anyone, but unless I’m certain that someone wants and can handle my unvarnished opinion, I will do my best to keep from hurting them.

In a world that preaches the need for tolerance and acceptance, how do you ever express anything without stepping on toes? Or have we simply lost the ability to discuss opposing views without it degrading to personal upset?