Do you want me to be honest with you?
Do you want the truth?
What’s awful about a scenario where someone says this is that it always precedes bad news. No one has ever asked, “can I be completely honest with you,” and followed it up with saying all the words that the listener wanted to hear. Do we think that by prefacing negative thoughts with a foreword indicating that they are honest, it will somehow lessen the blow? Or that the recipient of this negativity will then be denied any right to get upset because, hey, at least you’re being honest?!
And what can truly be an appropriate response to that question other than the affirmative? If you tell someone that no, they can not be honest with you, you may be consenting to hear falsities from him or her for the rest of your association. At the very least, you would be demoting (or denying progression of) the relationship by disallowing that most important element of human connection: trust.
No! Don’t be honest with me. Lie to me. Look into my eyes and tell me all the things that I want to hear. Show me that you care about me by not letting me feel the stab of betrayal, especially not inflicted by your own sharply-edged words. Give me the gift of blissful ignorance. And in the future, don’t ask for permission like this: I will wonder what was so bad that you had to ask if I could handle the weight of the truth? Because the truth is heavy. Be a friend and carry it for me.