Don’t Cast Your Pearls Before Swine

There is very little I won’t compromise around for a friend. However, there are a few things I hold very dear and if I’m crossed in one of these areas, I don’t recover. I lost a friend over something like this recently and the other night I was emailing, Ben (close friend for 30 years), when something hit me like a brick.

Ben is a Scorpio with an Aries Moon and an Aquarius rising. He bold and insightful and about a dozen years ago, I asked him what he thought of a certain situation.  I’d known him for close to 20 years at that point and I had asked him to share his view on things, countless times.  So it was nothing out of the ordinary when I asked him to share his sense but what he said to me at that point, floored me.  It was by far the worst thing anyone had ever said to me in my life.  It was so bad, I asked him if he realized what he had just said, and also who he was talking to.

“Yes, I know what I said and yes I know who I am talking to. You asked me what I thought and I told you the truth because it’s you, Elsa.  When have you ever wanted me to lie to you?”

I sat there stunned for a minute but I agreed with him. I did ask, I did want to know and if the answer was horrifying, too bad!  We got off the phone.

What, Ben told me that day turned out to be correct.  This was not verified for about seven years but eventually he was proven correct and the fact he made the statement so many years prior, softened the blow when the hammer finally fell. It still split my skull but it did not crack it wide open.

So what hit me the other night, is had I not swallowed what, Ben said that night…had I beat him up and berated him for saying what he did, Ben and I would not be friends today. Really.  Because if I had punished him for his honest answer to my direct question, what the hell am I going to do next?  And why talk to me at all? As Scorpio likes to say, ‘Don’t cast your pearls before swine”.

Have you ever shot the messenger?



Don’t Cast Your Pearls Before Swine — 44 Comments

  1. I don’t shoot messengers, but I’ve been actively belittled, scoffed, ridiculed and ignored for telling how things are. I once told a guy he was drinking himself to death and a few months later, he drank himself to death. I told the guy upstairs it wasn’t a good idea to bring all those crazy drinking buddies of his to his home. He agreed with me, but kept inviting them anyway, so finally one of those guys immolated himself and almost burned down the whole house. I could continue this list for quite a while, but I think you got the general idea already.

  2. I’ve wanted to shoot the messenger a few times. But, I wouldn’t allow myself to do that because I did realize that it was a message..not the person delivering it..that had the impact. I figured it was apparently coming to me for a reason.

    Now, like Annalisa, I’ve been at the risk of being shot for BEING the messenger a few times.

  3. Yes, a dazillion times. I am learning to choose my words more carefully and consider the question more thoughtfully. Some people don’t like the truth, they just want you to agree with them.

  4. I’ve wanted to shoot the messenger, but if it is a friend who is truly trying to be honest with you for your own benefit, you have to restrain yourself and accept the “bitter gift”. And it makes your friendship that much stronger.

  5. Honestly, I wish I had more friends like your friend, Ben. This became painfully true for me after my divorce, when several of my closest long-term friends said, one by one, “I never liked him. I could never believe you married him. I always thought he was…” I asked each of them why they never told me this. They just said they didn’t think it was “appropriate.” Their “politeness” in refusing to point out my blind spots was not helpful, and made me wonder what kind of friends they truly were. And thanks to Saturn in Libra, I have tidied up that area of my life pretty well now.

  6. As a young person I shot the messenger that was before I got shot for being the messenger. Instant Karma so to speak. That is a lesson in and of its own self. I now make a concerted effort to not shoot the messenger and ferret out messages I get because not all messages are true and that is not the messengers fault.

  7. No because when I hold the gun preparing to shoot the messenger it usually mis fires and takes a piece if me with it. How’s that for Saturn conj ASC opposite scorp moon?

  8. Ya gotta give us more info. Too hard to call. Was he being deliberately hurtful to you, or was he being respectful and polite and mindful of your feelings as he told you the truth of what he thought. Big difference. There is no reason to hurt a friend….telling the truth can still be respectful and loving. Its all in the delivery.
    I had an old boyfriend once who would say awful things to people, and he would defend it by saying ‘I call ’em as I see ’em.’ It took me a long time to realize there is no excuse for that behaviour. It’s sort of the same thing as when someone says mean things to you, and then laughs and says ‘I was only kidding.’ It’s a cop out, as if you don’t have a right to be hurt if they say they’re kidding, or you don’t have a right to be hurt if they say ‘I was just telling you the truth.’ The person who delivers hurtful information has a huge responsibility as to how they do it. I had a girlfriend who was tremendously hurt when her husband told her he though she was fat and unattractive. He said he was only being truthful to his feelings. Of course, she felt like she didn’t have a right to be hurt because ‘he was only being truthful.’
    I think the messenger has tremendous responsibility to honour the person he’s giving his ‘viewpoint’ to.

  9. barb, if Ben didn’t love me, he’d not be talking to me at all. He’s the kind of person, hard to access, but I get your point. 🙂

  10. Elsa, you’re lucky to have a friend like Ben and he’s lucky to have you as a friend, too. There are several people to whom I’ve told the truth when they asked. Most of them didn’t really want to know, so maybe they were asking the wrong person. (When I asked one friend whether he wanted me to lie to him after it was already too late, he gasped, “Yes!”) But one of my brothers told me that when I would predict things using common sense and analysis, he initially thought I was full of it, but when the things I said would happen did, he decided to listen to me instead of dismissing me or minimizing what I said by saying I see too much into things. That’s probably one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. However, I have learned to be more diplomatic as I learned just who my friends are and what they really want from me. If they want the truth, I’ll tell them, but I’ll also be there to support them, if that’s what they need.

    I don’t recall ever shooting the messenger. That’s not really my style. I would probably just cry–from remorse.

  11. I agree with Barb so far as that has been my experience: people are often rude or intentionally cruel when delivering “the truth.” These days (after a very long period of having been the messenger), I tend to keep my mouth shut unless a child is in danger. The “truth” about your marriage, your former spouse, your boss, your actions, your whatever, is none of my business unless it directly affects me. And thanks, but I don’t want your opinion on my life either. Saturn transiting my first house has been very isolating but it’s taught me so much about self-responsibility.

  12. I wish more people were like your friend Ben. I’ve learned(lately) not to take things people say personally, but always step back and look at my behavior when a comment is made, then decide if any adjustment needs to be made by me. Sun/Sag
    Asc/Cancer Moon/ Aquarius

  13. Sometimes I am shot. But I don’t offer my opinion unless asked, and I LIVE not casting pearls before swine. Most times people don’t appreciate being saved. I do appreciate it, and am thankful to people who can make my life easier by sharing their experiences so I don’t have to repeat them.
    But if you ask me, I will tell you- always kindly, I think, except when I notice a bit of sharpness in the person asking, and I may give a taste of that back to show the person where they are coming from that they may not see.
    I’d never really offer this in general though. I always figure, there are enough people who would like my help and support, that I don’t have to chase anyone down and save them against their will.

  14. i have to agree: who does the truth serve?

    it’s a fine line.

    in this case, it seems like ben was serving you.

    not everyone is like that, unfortunately.

  15. @ barb & Anna
    I think there is a huge distinction to be made here. The people I referred to in my post, and whom I think Elsa is referring to, are people who are honest with you and not people who take delight in being cruel in their “delivery” of their opinions.
    I have friends who are honest with me. Because they are my friend and are trying to benefit me, they give me this information in the best way possible, in their eyes. Still doesn’t mean I like the message. But there is absolutely no cruel motive with them, no “I call’em as I see’em BS”. Its more like “I am pained to have to tell you this, but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
    In my mind, those are two different sets of people.

  16. I should add to the one set- not only cruel in their delivery, but then also justifying it with their “I’m only being honest BS”.

  17. I will open fire indiscriminately if the message wasn’t asked for — but if I’ve asked for it, no, I don’t shoot the messenger. I’ve just never taken kindly to people butting into my business, which is what unasked-for advice, etc, feels like to me.

  18. I so agree with SaDiablo. I do not appreciate pep talk aka tough love aka an excuse for an abuse by strangers. But if I have asked my friend for his or her opinion, I will listen hard as it may be. It may even make me lose sleep and all but if my messenger has been reliable it is worth it. I may be unable or unwilling to accept what I hear but if I asked for honesty and the person was a trusted friend, I would be open to it. Despite the shock or pain. But the same thing uttered by a stranger in an unsolicited-advice setting, no sirree, it’s as good as in one ear and out the other.

  19. I’ve not shot the messenger, because I’ve had a distinct lack of messengers in my life. People have told me that they’re scared or intimidated to tell me things. I don’t view myself this way at all, but enough people have said it that there has to be some truth to it. At several points in my life I could have benefitted from a messenger.

    The only time I got unsolicited advice is when I first got sick with a mystery illness. When it’s health-related, people will line up to give you their unasked-for opinion, even complete strangers! I eventually stopped talking to anyone.

    @Barb “you don’t have a right to be hurt if they say ‘I was just telling you the truth.'”

    Ah, the “I’m just being honest/i.e. I’m just being an asshole” meme.

  20. I have…and lived to regret. A few years ago I was blogging about the end of my relationship and a person who identified him/herself as Durga made a comment about my ex. I deleted the comment and lashed out at the same time.

    Incidentally Durga is identified as ‘the Goddess of Victory of Good Over Evil.’

    I wish I could apologize. Durga was right.

    I’ve done it a few other times over the years…striking out in anger because I was too vulnerable to process anything. I am much more careful about who I share things with now.

    I don’t think someone should be punished because they respond to what I’m putting out. I think I can be very delusional at times and that confusion is where a lot of my problems spring from.

  21. No messengers shot that I remember. I have given a death glare to a few people though 🙂

    I’ve delivered a few messages that people didn’t like as well.

  22. Yeah, when I wasn’t ready to hear what was said. But years or months later, realizing they were right, I was definitely humbled. Alot had to do with the delivery, since the messenger was x4 Scorpio.

    I’ve had it happen to me too, from the other end. Very apt lesson. Learned to mind my own business and, ‘not cast my pearls before swine.’ Thanks, Elsa. 🙂

  23. I’m always the messenger!
    Look at the number of messengers here Elsa!
    Ben is insightful, he knows his skills and why you’d ask for his insight. He knows you well – he knew he’d only be honest with you – your relationship is based on this frank honesty.

    The Messenger needs to remain in integrity at all times – being shot comes with the territory. (sometimes)

    He sure wasn’t casting pearls before swine, now was he? He was telling Truth to a Messenger. And that is a privilege as well.


  24. Like SaD: “I will open fire indiscriminately if the message wasn’t asked for — but if I’ve asked for it, no, I don’t shoot the messenger.”

    Big difference. In this case, Elsa had asked for Ben’s opinion.

    I like to talk through emotional problems with friends. Some of them take this as an invitation to heap shit on whichever man I’m venting about. I wish they wouldn’t!

    People like my BIL who give pompous, inappropriate and totally unsolicited advice… well let’s just say he’s lucky I have Libra

  25. @Josephine – “I’ve not shot the messenger, because I’ve had a distinct lack of messengers in my life. People have told me that they’re scared or intimidated to tell me things.” Same here.

    And boy, I’d have benefitted from an honest friend on a number of occasions. But forged ahead instead into the abyss.

    I don’t know what I’m putting out there that intimidates…. I know my Taurus rising comes off as stubborn but other than that not sure. It is strange when you think you know yourself well, but others hold such a different perception of you. I feel I’m pretty receptive to feedback and criticism and I respond by trying to do better. I certainly know how to hand out criticism…. and I expect others to listen… maybe that’s the Virgo part of me that intimidates others. Although generally I quite admire (most) other people and support them…

    Maybe Neptune plays a role – – self perception vs. what others close to me see? Not sure.

  26. I have a Scorpio Sun, Aries Moon girlfriend, except she’s a Virgo rising. I also deeply appreciate her honesty. We’ve only been friends for a couple of years, and I’ll admit – I find myself hiding things from her. I like to think that I’m an “honest-as-the-day-is-long” type, but when she’s around I am compelled to conceal certain things. I feel extremely vulnerable around her, and I wouldn’t be afraid to tell her that. That’s what I love about our friendship, that we can be honest about how we feel about one another, but it still really hurts when she hones in on my weaknesses and jabs her thumb in it. And laughs, and laughs, and laughs. Talk about a lesson in humility.

  27. people are people, what else should they be? 😀

    this swine-pearl thing doesn`t really stand it`s chance in our modern times anymore

    to much swines and pearls makes you one piece of haughty individual locked in a kingdom of fantasy and the sad truth is, that no one cares who you are, what you have, what you did, it`s about what you are willing to do for them and you have to be willing to give, in order to take

    rest assured, since we are adults, we are supposedly able to generate our own resources

    you have to be willing to be vulnerable in order to evolve, to open up, put down the armor, expand, get another armor

    “Either things grow and change or they die”

  28. I have been shot, too. I lost a friendship of almost 20 years this way, as well as another of almost 10 years. Both people had Cancer…Mercury rules my 7th House of Cancer.

  29. I usually cry @ the messenger but I’ll never shoot them. Been shot too many damn times myself! I’ve learned not to tell any air what they don’t want to hear.

  30. It’s about respecting personal boundaries too. I feel the key is this:

    If someone asks you, and you have a history of respect, honesty and are both personal growth focused – well then SURE, be honest with them.

    But if it’s a shallower relationship, boundaries aren’t well in place yet – then it’s just asking for trouble, hurt and complications.

    Because you can see something in someone, doesn’t mean you actually MENTION IT. Yep?

    It’s a personal discipline.

  31. I have been shot several for being the messenger when someone asked me my honest opinion. I was even gentle in the delivery. Oh well.

  32. There’s the truth and then there’s an opinion based on your own personal beliefs and prejudices.

    So often someones “truth” is merely jealousy, spitefulness or prejudice hidden behind some words they consider are for your benefit.

    Telling someone who gets drunk every night they’re an alcoholic is the truth and needs to be said. Telling a friend you don’t like their boyfriend/ spouse is an opinion and should be kept to yourself (unless he’s hurting your friend)

    I had someone tell me their “truth” when I was pregnant and it caused me harm, I had anxiety all the way through and during the first few months as a new mother. This person was jealous and mad at me so she said something harmful on purpose claiming it was something she felt I should hear.
    It was wrong what she said and i kicked that person out of my life immediatly but to this day it haunts me.

    Words have power to heal or harm, it’s good to have people who”s true intention is to heal.

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