‘To tell you the truth’ is an opening in English conversation. Other similar are ‘to be honest with you’, or ‘as far as I am concerned’.
In my clinical practice days, there was a staff nurse who used to repeat ‘to be honest with you’ in any sentence when talking to patients. The more he repeated it, the more cautious and insecure the patient became.
‘To tell you the truth’ is a funny one. It sounds like you had an option in front, to tell me the truth or not, and you decided, hey, I’ll tell you the truth.
The number of articles, books, book chapters and social media ‘bits’ about fake news, truth, post-truth etc is colossal. Repeating and repeating and repeating a lie makes it social truth. Easy. We have not invented this now, American Elections Era time-stamp. “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, was Joseph Goebbels’ contribution to the topic. And he was Corporate Communications big time.
In ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’, the author Yuval Noah Harari, says: ‘As a species, humans prefer power to truth. We spend far more time and effort on trying to control the world than on trying to understand it – and even when we try to understand it, we usually do so in the hope that understanding the world will make it easier to control it. Therefore, if you dream of a society in which truth reigns supreme and myths are ignored, you have little to expect from homo sapiens. Better try your luck with chimps’. To tell you the truth this is depressing.
And just to cheer you up, here is G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936): ‘We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green’.
I’ll be honest…this is not a good start to the day.