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Should friends be honest to each other?


Kokirisword 2 / 4  
Apr 8, 2010   #1
Hi everyone ^^
I'm new to this forum, and I decided to submit a practice essay I wrote for the SAT...

Assignment: Should friends be honest with each other, even if a truthful comment could be hurtful?

"Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them." By Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.

"A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling." By Arthur Brisbane, The Book of Today

~~~~

In my opinion, friends should be honest to each other, no matter how hurtful a thing can be. While this does not mean two friends can simply hurl insults at each other, it is nessecary for your friend to know if something is wrong with them so it can be fixed for his sake.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said that "disagreeable" things should be told to friends by their enemy. A friend in my opinion has the responsibility to talk to you, to point out your weakness and flaws and together help you to overcome that flaw in your personality. I believe that the nearer you are with someone, the more they should accept your flaws and vice-versa. However, should your friend is doing something that might potentially hurt himself or other people, you have the responsibility as a friend to tell him.

Of course, it does not mean that insults and making snide comments to your friends is helping them. There are many ways to approach a problem, depending on its magnitude. For example, I had a friend who used to wear very short skirts. Rather than giving her insults on how inappropriate it is, I gently told her that she should be aware that while short skirts give her more freedom, she is showing her underwear to everyone behind or under her. She immediately understood, apologized to me, and turned up the next day wearing a much more casual dress. In this situation, she accepted it as something said to her so that she can become a better person in everyone's eyes.

It is true that in another scenario, telling them the truth might make the friend angry and think that you are hi enemy. However, I believe that being honest to yourself and your friends is a must in order for long-lasting friendship to develop.

In conclusion, I believe that if something hurtful must be said to your friend so that he can become better, it should be stated frankly to him.

Word Count: 334.
The example was a bit...funny, but I can't seem to think of anything else, so I just decided to write it down. Feedback and Comments please? :)
Notoman 20 / 419  
Apr 9, 2010   #2
But ... but ... I like short skirts on girls.

Don't take this the wrong way. I am going to be very nitpicky here. If you are going to take the time to write practice essays for the SAT, you deserve to have thorough feedback. My intention is to help you.

Let me point out a couple of thing:

In my opinion, friends should be honest to each other

"In my opinion" doesn't add anything to the essay. The reader already knows that it is your opinion. The phrase eats up the word count and doesn't give the essay the strongest start. Instead of saying "honest to," use "honest with." It isn't a big deal, but is sounds smoother to the native speaker's ear and it mirrors the words in the prompt.

While this does not mean two friends can simply hurl insults at each other, it is nessecary for your friend to know if something is wrong with them so it can be fixed for his sake.

This sentence gets wordy. People have the tendency to think that long sentences are more sophisticated. Not always true. You have a misspelling in this sentence as well: nessecary should be necessary-- it is a weird word! You could try rewriting this sentence something like this: Friends should not hurl insults at each other, but honest input can help a friend to fix an issue. 36 words down to 19.

A friend in my opinion has the responsibility to talk to you, to point out your weakness and flaws and together help you to overcome that flaw in your personality.

Again, I'd delete the "in my opinion." Be more forceful with your persuasion! Tell the reader how friends should act and why. Make a statement without sounding like you are apologizing for your beliefs. You talk about "weakness and flaws" here and then overcoming that "flaw." Strive for more agreement between your words here. Weakness is singular (and few people have only one--two of mine are chocolate and girls in short skirts), flaws in plural, but then you only want to help the friend to overcome one flaw. Some teachers look down upon the use of the second person (you) in an essay and instruct their students not to do it. You might want to avoid it. Here's a sample construction: Friends have the responsibility to talk openly with each other, to point out weaknesses and flaws, and to work together on overcoming those flaws.

I believe that the nearer you are with someone, the more they should accept your flaws and vice-versa.

Ummmmm ... I don't know why, but "to someone" would work better here than "with someone." Tricky words! This sentence is a little awkward. Try to simplify it. Something like: The closer friends are, the more accepting each other's imperfections. The word count is cut in half (well, almost).

However, should your friend is doing something that might potentially hurt himself or other people, you have the responsibility as a friend to tell him.

The verbs aren't working here. "Should your friend is doing something that might potentially hurt himself ..." When there is potential for self harm or hurt to other people, friends have the responsibility to speak out. (My sentence is by no means perfect, but it shows another way to rework your thoughts)

Of course, it does not mean that insults and making snide comments to your friends is helping them.

This sentence is really long. Paring it down would strengthen it. Insults and snide comments don't help friends.

For example, I had a friend who used to wear very short skirts. Rather than giving her insults on how inappropriate it is, I gently told her that she should be aware that while short skirts give her more freedom, she is showing her underwear to everyone behind or under her. She immediately understood, apologized to me, and turned up the next day wearing a much more casual dress. In this situation, she accepted it as something said to her so that she can become a better person in everyone's eyes.

This part comes across as judgmental. The example is fine, but the word choice leaves you looking a little high and mighty. More modest clothing doesn't make a person better, just more modestly dressed. Here one way you might say the same thing: I had a friend, for example, who wore very short shirts. She didn't realize that strangers could see her underwear until I gently informed her. From then on, my friend wore more modest clothes and was grateful to me for being truthful with her.

It is true that in another scenario, telling them the truth might make the friend angry and think that you are hi enemy.

His enemy? "Them" is plural, but "friend" is not. The words "them" and "their" trip up a lot of people when it comes to agreement. Another way to write this sentence: Telling the truth might anger friends. (Okay, maybe I cut that sentence down too much. What can I say? I am not a fan of extraneous words. I believe that all words need to earn their spots--especially

when a word count is in play)

However, I believe that being honest to yourself and your friends is a must in order for long-lasting friendship to develop.

Your teachers have probably been telling you that transitions like "however," "secondly," and "in conclusion" help an essay's flow, but they just take up space and disrupt that flow (usually). Switch out "to" to "with." Here's how I'd rewrite it: Being honest with friends and with yourself is imperative for long-lasting friendships to develop.

Wishing you the best!
OP Kokirisword 2 / 4  
Apr 9, 2010   #3
Thanks a lot for the comments. I'll try to be better based on your advises :)
PS: I like chocolates too O:
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Apr 10, 2010   #4
"In my opinion" doesn't add anything to the essay. The reader already knows that it is your opinion.

Very cool.

Enter the room and write. Waste no words. Eric, you really know the way writing is like music, I can tell.

I believe that the nearer you are with someone, the more they should accept your flaws and vice-versa.---This is excellent.

The subject of short skirts should be avoided. I mean, not always, but here it should be avoided. Don't use it as your example, because it brings all kinds of ideas about free expression and gender and objectification into the essay... when really, you are trying to write about frankness in friendship.

So... this is a good lesson! Don't use an example that drowns out your thesis. I think we can all gain some wisdom from this thread.
stranger4ever 8 / 29  
Apr 11, 2010   #5
Add your own words in the begining, not just quotes.
dejavu 4 / 7  
Apr 12, 2010   #6
What a good topic! for me, we first have to understand the true notion of friendship, which can be easily found in Aristotle's On Friendship, in which he characterizes friendship into three categoris, and the highest one is "frienship is for the sake of the others."


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