"Honesty is always best," one freelancer said. She was supported by about a dozen people who agreed that you should always tell a client why you won't be working with him/her again. They need to know what's wrong with them so they can fix it.
I thought it over...and realized those people are wrong. Our entire society is based on lies. Apply for a job and you'll see what I mean. Does your rejection email come with the excuse, "We didn't hire you because you're loud and obnoxious?" Or does it say something like, "We've decided to go in a different direction?" I'm guessing the latter. Try the former and you're much more likely to get blasted online. They might even go a little postal on you.
I've tried honesty. It never goes well. The person either a) gets defensive or b) gets angry. Either way, the blame will always be squarely placed back on you.
The truth is, if a client fires a writer or a publishing house rejects a manuscript, it is rarely done with honesty. And we're all happier for it. Our society is based on vagaries like, "This just isn't the right fit for us at this time" instead of this:
For that reason, I firmly believe the most professional thing to do when firing a client is lie. "I've accepted another assignment that will be taking up the vast majority of my time for the rest of my working life" is one. You can also go with, "This isn't the right fit for me" if you're dealing with a jerk. The point is, you put the blame on you, which fits into their own worldview that they are right and the other person is wrong. It's a worldview we all have, to be honest!
What do think? Is honesty the best policy? Or does it just lead to drama?
Congratulations to the winners of my blog tour giveaway and thank you SO much to the great bloggers who helped last week.