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When a friend asks for honesty, what do they really want?

It's a good question -- one that knowing the answer to could save a few friendships.

According to a recent TODAY/AOL survey on body image, the answer varies according to gender and age.

Across the board, it looks like most adults prefer to hear the cold, hard truth, despite the pending potential sting. Most teens feel the same.

But there is one group who admits that, even if they ask for it, they prefer the truth the least amount of time: Teen girls.

Take a look at the results:

So if what most people want to hear is the truth, then the question is, how do you deliver it without hurting feelings or, worse, damaging a relationship permanently?

Leading 'authenticity' expert Brene Brown might say that the most important reaction to have when someone opens up to you -- which is exactly what they're doing when they ask a question that exposes a vulnerability -- is to meet them where ever they are emotionally. More than the truth, people are usually interested in feeling less alone at any given vulnerable moment. Letting them know you've 'been there' is also a quick way to let them know you're not judging them.

Rehabilitation Counselor Lindsay Pirozzi, MS, CRC, suggests considering where you are -- the literal space -- before responding. Tough feedback should be delivered in a 'safe environment, full of love,' she says. 'Make sure the the person will feel comforted after the honesty bomb has been dropped.'

Most would also agree that sandwiching your honesty between two positive pieces of feedback is effective, but writer Kevin Daum of Inc. dished out a few more smart tactics:

'Instead of simply laying out a list of offenses, describe scenarios from an objective viewpoint and ask key questions so your subject can draw their own conclusions about their weaknesses. Lead them with questions to understand from a management perspective why a different behavior is more suitable. When making statements, stay away from direct attacks. Use "I" language and speak from your own experience.'

For the full methodology of the TODAY/AOL survey, head over to TODAY. For full results, head to AOL.

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Jeff February 27 2014 at 6:42 PM

how can you fix a problem without knowing what it REALLY is, unless you dont want to fix it
telling the truth shows respect, if they cant handle it, thats their problem

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nsheats February 27 2014 at 6:42 PM

Clearly NONE od the majority belong to the New Republicans

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nightaudio February 27 2014 at 6:27 PM

What about tact ? Is that a lost art ? Truth is good, but one must use some judgment about what to say, how much to say, and when .

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rjen164497 February 27 2014 at 5:12 PM

If your a liberal Lying okay. Name a single Liberal who is honest. If you answer you can, I know your lying. Obama, lies. Clinton, lies. Harry Reid, lies. Nancy the witch, lies. Liberals love to be lied to. I did not have sex with that Lewesky woman, which Hillary said. What difference does it make now.

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1 reply to rjen164497's comment
Erne February 27 2014 at 5:53 PM

Go take a cold shower! That might clear your head!

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Erne February 27 2014 at 4:22 PM

Before you go around asking other people what's the truth about something, especially if it's on a personal issue, you might want to ask yourself; who really knows the truth? Anybody? I think the best you can ever hope for is to get someone's honest assessment of the truth. I think 'The truth', like a lot of things in life, is elusive and changes with perception. Personally, I wouldn't give anyone a nickel to tell me the truth!

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sydneycmotley February 27 2014 at 3:58 PM

Most people cannot for the life of them, handle the truth. So you decide; do I tell someone I care about the truth and risk, drama, histrionics, hurt feelings and endless hours of dissecting the issue or just lie and gloss over the problem or subject and hope that will be good enough to move on? I basically try to avoid issues with people who I know are overly sensitive and can't handle the truth. And those who are stronger, I tell a version of the truth that's not as harsh as I would like. For me, I've always been a person that can, without exception, handle being told the truth, no matter how brutal. I'd much rather that, than for someone to lie to me when I know they're lying and think that I'm so weak I need pampering and coddling like a child. When you become an adult, you should want those closest to you to be honest. But the problem we're faced with now, it many people were raised to be weak. They only want to heard the good things in life and are not at all prepared for the bad. We in essence have a generation or two, of people who just want to live on fantasy island.

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BOB February 27 2014 at 3:09 PM

You really can't go by most of this.
Some will hold back and tell a le because telling the truth may be meaning to give out very personal information.
People who lie all the time later cannot remember what they said.
I feel most people have valid reasons.
Teens grow up and their ways change
Remember {I Refuse To Answer On The Grounds That I May Incriminate Myself} and that holds up in court also.

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gabillyjacks February 27 2014 at 2:09 PM

I had rather have the truth rather than be lied to

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gdl4974 February 27 2014 at 1:18 PM

"Honesty" ? is only a word... in reality is what each one of Us see things, listen , hear, and nothing to do with others .... How things are view individually, people etc, see, a point of view...
WE all need to take responsability ... that when we open our mouth to give an opinion on how things show up in our life ... is how we hear it because of a believe how things should be .. and is only one point of view one poing of listening, one point of seeing. one point of believe, one point of being trained... We need to watch and take responsability for what we say, think, and view things.. We all see life according to our belief

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abenzrite February 27 2014 at 1:09 PM

"Truth?,,What is Truth?"

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