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Honesty Shows Good Character

by Ron Kurtus (revised 9 September 2013)

Honesty is a positive social character trait where you tell the truth and show integrity. The opposite trait is dishonesty, where you may lie, steal or deceive another person. However, it is possible to be too honest, where what you say can hurt another's feelings.

Questions you may have are:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Being honest

A person who is considered honest is one who displays integrity, is genuine and not deceptive or fraudulent. Honesty is characterized by truth and sincerity. Honesty denotes the quality of being upright in principle and action. Honesty implies truthfulness, fairness in dealing with others, and refusal to engage in fraud, deceit, or dissembling.

Returning goods

Abraham Lincoln was said to walk back several miles to a store when he noticed he had been given one penny too much in change. That was a sense of being honest and not taking what doesn't belong to you.

Also considerate

It is the same thing as finding something and turning it into the Lost and Found. Besides being honest, it is also being considerate.

Being dishonest

A person who is considered dishonest is disposed to lie, cheat, defraud, or deceive.


Examples of being dishonest include, stealing someone's pencil in school, not telling our parents the truth, not giving back something that a person has lost. Cheating on a test is dishonest.

Parents advocate dishonesty

There was recently a case where a 15-year-old boy defrauded stock investors of over $200,000 through manipulation of information over the Internet. The boy was certainly dishonest. Afterwards, his father praised the boy as being clever and "beating the government." The father apparently was giving his dishonest sense of values to his son.

Being too honest

There are some situations where you can be too honest. An example is when your honesty can hurt another person's feelings.

Third-grader Emma proudly showed her father a picture she had drawn in school. Her father looked it, and honestly said, "That isn't a very good drawing. The colors are all wrong."

Naturally, Emma was devastated.

Often, using diplomacy is better than telling the outright truth.

Being honest, but hurting another's feelings shows poor social character.


Honesty is a positive social character trait where you tell the truth. The opposite trait is dishonesty, that include telling lies, stealing or deceiving others. Being too honest is where what you say can hurt another's feelings.

Honesty is the best policy

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