Speaking of the dead

There is a saying
‘we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead’

My question is, having a conversation with someone about the deceased person, should one be hypocritical and pretend that they liked them and speak nicely about them? Or should you be honest and say it as it were.

Do you think people should only say nice things about a person who passed if all they were in life were horrible to you? If so, why? I suppose some would say its about respect, but again I ask, why should one respect someone in death if they didnt respect them in life, especially if someone really did you wrong whilst they were alive.

If the conversation was going " oh, she was a lovely woman wasn’t she"…should you say, yes, even if you thought they were down right horrible?

Been having a conversation about this with my very young friend tonight and she was saying why shouldn’t we say what we really mean just because they are dead, she’s got me thinking!

Interested in your views on this.


I’m reminded of what Bette Davies said when she was asked about her feelings shortly after Joan Crawford (who she hated) died…

You should never say bad things about the dead, only good… Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”

Personally I try to avoid saying unpleasant things about the dead in deference to the feelings of those who might overhear and be upset by it.

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I agree. As long as no one living who might be upset can hear or would hear, I don’t see why lying about how you feel because someone is dead helps anyone.

The part that gets tricky is when posting/saying things in public or with people who could tell others.

If I was just writing in my journal, for instance, lying to myself isn’t helping anyone, especially me.


In response to this, I would likely say something like “She didn’t really come across that way to me, but if you can think well of her, I’m glad”

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That’s so diplomatic. Much better than, “Ding-dong, the witch is dead!” :rofl:


I supposed to saying “don’t speak ill of the dead” came about because the dead can’t put their side of the story.

I can’t see any point in not telling the truth if in conversation with an adult.

I suspect there are distinctions to the phrase speak ill. I have always thought there was nothing wrong in being honest about someone providing you are not, being spiteful, telling untruths, slandering them.
A friend of mine was a thoroughly difficult person, he drank too much, wasn’t good at being faithful to his wife, often argumentative, but when he had a twinkle in his eye he was excellent company, his wife adored him, and the world is a poorer place without him.

I would probably say ‘everyone has their good points’ - because everyone does. It wouldn’t be a lie and it wouldn’t be hurtful - so I would have no regrets about saying it. Better still - smile sweetly - and excuse yourself because you have to be somewhere else.

I am sure we all speak ill of the dead at times, but not when they have recently died & people that cared about them are still grieving.
The dead won’t know what people are saying about them, or care, but we should
remember that those who loved them probably saw a different side to them!

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I have not heard many nice things lately about that chap who used to make TV shows for the BBC where he “fixed it” for people & he is dead.

We do speak ill of the dead. But as a general rule, why remember the negatives, if it does no harm to be positive?

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The one who left all his money to charity.


Firstly, why do we think that the dead can’t hear us?

There are many who are convinced that they can and some are very intelligent and sensible people.

I would not speak ill of the dead to their family, even if I intensely disliked them, I don’t consider it appropriate.

They may have never done anything wrong themselves and are grieving.

There are some who I consider the world is better without.

They are well known to the enforcement agencies.

Best I think to be kindly around friends and relatives and keep it buttoned.

You don’t have to be a hypocrite but “sorry for your loss” and “I know you’ll miss that about her” if someone is extolling virtues you don’t think they had! :rofl: We don’t always have to let what’s going on in our head come out of our mouth :fearful:

They’re dead after all, all debts paid in a way, and it can make you look a bit petty to carry on a grudge when they can’t fight back. Let it go with a “rest in peace” is probably healthier

This got me thinking about Margaret Thatcher and Jimmy Saville

I do believe that the death of any human being, however wicked, is a loss to the world and should be treated with respect

I hate seeing the people celebrating in the US outside where an execution has taken place, the gloating at Saddam Hussain execution etc

So I don’t join in the celebrations when Margaret Thatcher died, although I understood how those who did felt and had a lot of respect the people who attended the funeral and silently turned their backs

I thought she was a wicked old harridan and the world would have been a better place I’d she’d never been born but I don’t go around wishing death on people

But believe me, she’s one “dead” I’ll always speak ill of :rofl: ( but not to her grieving family and friends, if I knew them, of course)

The same with Saville, it’s open season really to speak ill of him, and anyone else, really, who’s dead but was wicked in life

(Although it does sometimes worry me that he never got to defend himself in court)


It should not worry you.

He was an expert at covering things up and avoiding prosecution.

There are many theories about how he was able to continue with his way of life for so many years.

All I know is that he was protected, big time.

I had him dead in the water, nothing to do with abusive, but very, very damaging to his image.

The prosecution was not only stopped dead, all reference to it, from start to finish, disappeared.

That takes people with serious power to do.

We referred to them as the funnies, career destroying people not only for you but also for your family.

They are not people to cross.

They can destroy Cabinet Ministers in a flash.

Think Matt Hancock and the CCTV which was suddenly shown in spite of No 10 inside cctv being sacrosanct.


Well, if they can Swim, they will already know what I think of them! We all form opinions of people, so why should that opinion change just because they die? If I say somebody was miserable or told lies, it is just how I viewed them & that isn’t going to change after they die. I am just sensitive enough not to mention it at their wake!


I suppose, the bad things you might say about a dead person, shows more about you, than them.

Just be happy that you are still here, to tell the tale.


Quite. Judge not, lest ye be judged, eh?

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I would always say exactly what i think/thought of them,especially if asked.
Other wise i would be a hypocrit.
It is suprisisng how many people talk utter bull and say the total opposte about them when they were alive.
I avoid these people as i wouldnt trust a word they said.
I have to add though,people tend to know what i think/feel about them.
I am not good with bulls…s in the world,be honest with those who do the bull…t is my policy without hurting feelings of course.

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I would be aware that even though we were not pals someone loved them so I would be diplomatic … I wouldnt change my thoughts about them just because the person had died… although obviously the dynamics of the relationship have changed forever and they are no longer in my life so I hope my feelings towards their memory might soften.

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