One of the great missteps in the adventures of my relationships is that I often say things I shouldn’t and don’t say what needs to be said.

It’s my experience that when people don’t say what they should, they quickly move to grudge-mode because the “offending party” hasn’t read their minds and made the necessary changes.

Is it safe to assume that those in healthy relationships have learned the fine art of saying what most won’t. And, is it also true, that surface relationships (or acquaintances) seem to operate by different relational and truth-telling rules?

Is truth-telling dependent on the depth of the relationship? For example:

If I take a bite of a pot luck meal and the church lady asks me if I liked her lima beam Spam Velveeta Cheese and raspberry cashew Jell-O salad. In that moment, is it okay to be polite and not tell her the truth? Even though I want to say, “I’m sorry Mrs. Gagalot, I need to speak the truth in love and say what most won’t about your food. And at the core of who I am I’m experiencing revulsion and disgust. I’d rather eat from the mulch pit next to dump. What in the name of heaven were you thinking? We’re you trained in Hell’s kitchen? Hand over that spatula and promise you’ll never cook again!”

Here’s my question: At what level of relationship necessitates that I speak the truth in love? If I don’t have a significant relationship with someone, is it okay to be polite and/or vague and ignore flaws?

Would love your thoughts.