RADICAL HONESTY: Lose Friends, Infuriate People, Find Mental Liberation

WHAT: Radical honesty

When psychotherapist and author Brad Blanton began teaching radical honesty workshops, he structured the curriculum on the premise that we all lie like hell. From trivial white lies told to spare someone’s feelings through to brazen falsehoods spun to conceal something downright dirty, we all do it. Regardless of why we lie, the honest-to-God truth of the matter is that the modern world is drowning in rising oceans of bold-faced bullshit.

By the mid-1990s, Blanton had had enough. Weary of the constant battle between trustworthy information and nonsense, Blanton founded the radical honesty movement. Effective communication, claimed Blanton, relied on true honesty, to the point where practitioners bluntly state their feelings and opinions even if considered rude or plain disrespectful.

Radical honesty advocates maintain that lying is the foundation of all human stress. They claim that rather than avoiding discomfort, we should embrace it and that the resultant productive conflict leads to a lasting resolution. If the mind is a prison, and the walls are made of bullshit, then Radical Honesty is the key to freedom.


Radical honesty truth compass
Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Practicing radical honesty is not about controlling or worrying about the consequences of your communication. It´s about becoming aware of the filter between your mind and your mouth and then banishing it. The goal, so they say, is to be able to clearly navigate the here and now, as it stands. It means telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and letting the chips fall where they may.

That doesn’t mean being deliberately nasty or rude. Don’t confuse radical honesty with Tourette’s syndrome. Telling someone they’re the reason God made the middle finger, or they look fat in their jeans, or cussing them out with no rhyme or reason isn’t what radical honesty is about. As long as you’re not mean about it, adopting and practicing Radical honesty really couldn’t be simpler. After all, composing a lie and maintaining the resultant web of deceit is way more laborious than telling the truth.

Radical Honesty Core Principles

In the words of Radical Honesty founder Brad Blanton, The core tenets are as follows:

1. Dishonesty is the root of suffering.
2. The antidote to lying is honesty. It’s power is in
distinguishing noticing from thinking.
3. You only notice in the moment. And you can only notice three
categories of things: sensations, thoughts, and your external surroundings.
4. Sharing honestly what you notice frees you from the suffering caused
by attachment to lying, withholding, phoniness, and ideals.
5. Sharing honestly what you notice also deepens love, connection,
understanding, and forgiveness (eventually).
6. Radical honesty is a living, walking, talking out-loud meditation that
moves you from reactivity to being a creator of your own life.


Everywhere. All the time. Although you can go it alone, anyone needing a helping hand is free to attend Radical honesty workshops. Radical honesty workshops and groups operate worldwide.
  • Certain bird species feign broken wings in order to divert a predator’s attention away from their young. For these creatures, radical honesty would entail an empty space where their kids used to be.
  • To lie is to deny someone access to reality. It may sound devious, but let’s not forget that reality can be a brutal place from which some could use a shield. Some believe, for good or bad, that lying makes the world go round. Deceit is what prevents marriages, friendships, egos, Santa Claus, and even governments from imploding. Obviously, this is a topic of ongoing debate. Unfortunately, some radical honesty practitioners may find they’ve no friends left to debate it with.

Leaning into uncomfortable feelings and exposing our own secrets liberates us from constant conflict with our fake selves. While ripping off the band-aid may cause short-term pain, radical honesty advocates claim that the consequent freedom from confusion creates long-term happiness. As well as being a powerful release valve for those suffering from bullshit-induced stress, honest sharing allows for greater love, deeper connection, better understanding, and increased intimacy. Radical honesty practitioners claim an increased sense of integrity, authenticity, and self-esteem. They also claim the practice saves them a whole lot of time.


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