As a proud Capricorn, I want to know exactly what the plan is, and what everyone wants to do so I can please everyone. I’m not afraid to throw my opinion in the mix, be the leader or tell other people what I want. I feel like I am often alone in this, which lead me to wonder: why do we all have a politeness barrier that often keeps us from the thing we want most? Why don’t people just say what they want?

When I posed this question to my small Instagram following, I received answers such as “because they’re scared,” “to spare someone’s feelings” and “because they’re afraid of rejection.”

This was not what I expected. In my mind, I was asking why people don’t say what they want, but they interpreted it as why don’t people say what they mean? Which is another question I’d like to pose. In most cases, someone might tell you what they think you want to hear, or not say what they really think, to spare your feelings or prevent an argument.

But does this provide the basis for a trustworthy friendship? If we spend the whole time skirting around the truth, pretending to like things we actually don’t, being polite but disingenuous, how can we tell the difference between what is real and what is not?

Their answers also provided me an opportunity for self-reflection. Am I unafraid to tell people what I think because I don’t care about hurting their feelings? Am I too brutally honest, to harsh? Is it a good thing to speak with candor, if what I’m saying rubs others the wrong way?

I feel that in most situations, I am respectful of others’ opinions and welcome collaboration, but I also have been known to be argumentative and stubborn when I feel I am right. I feel like I continuously have to hold my tongue, and that I’m still learning when it’s okay to speak my mind and when I should hang back and let others lead the way.

My aunt told me once that “If there is a choice between being right and being kind, always choose kind.” And while I know kind is the obvious choice, it is still a choice I have to make everyday. It’s one we all have to make.

So, while I often wish people would tell me what game they want to play, where they want to go for lunch, or just let me make the decision, I think it’s time I learn to be a little quieter, and choose kind more often.