Humans 101

How to Speak Honestly, Even When It’s Hard

A guide to saying the quiet part loud

Don Johnson
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readMar 7, 2021


Illustration: Benjavisa/Getty Images

“Never be afraid of the conversations you’re having. Be afraid of the conversations you’re not having.” — Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations

Have you ever struggled with saying what’s really on your mind? We all do. When we’re not being fully honest with others, it’s often because we:

  • Don’t want to be rejected.
  • Don’t want to upset the other person or damage our relationship with them.
  • Don’t want the conversation to get out of control.
  • Don’t know how to raise a difficult issue skillfully.

However, problems occur when you don’t speak honestly:

  • You suffer because you bottle up unexpressed thoughts and feelings, which tend to accumulate and then at some point come pouring out in angry outbursts, like “You always do that” or “You never clean up after yourself.”
  • People wonder what’s going on. They sense you’ve got something to say, but you’re not saying it.
  • If you’re working on a team and holding back what you think are good ideas only because they run counter to the groupthink, you may be unintentionally holding back the team’s success.



Don Johnson
Human Parts

Author | Meditation Teacher | Advocate for Kindness, Respect & Freedom | Human Potential Coach | Connect with me here: