Question:

My friend needs a handyman to do the exact same thing that I had him fix last week. The handyman did a very poor, and messy job. I was dissatisfied with his work. Can I tell my friend my experience with this handyman? Is it loshon hora to do so? What should I do, or not do/say? Similarly, he asks me about a particular restaurant I ate at in which I did not like the food, nor the service. How do I respond when he asks me if he should eat there? Is there a difference in the Rov’s response if he asks me publically (e.g., on social media) or privately?

Answer:

You should not tell anything to your friend. Offering negative information is only if you see that something very detrimental will happen to the other person, such as entering into a partnership with a crook etc. but not for something minor like this. You were not happy with the job because it was sloppy, or the restaurant’s’ service didn’t meet your standard, but this doesn’t mean necessarily mean that your friend will have the same negative experience, and even if he does, it isn’t so bad.

Best wishes

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One Response to “loshon hora”

  1. If the friend knows that you had a handyman over to fix the same thing, and he asks you, outright, who was the handyman, and were you satisfied, then it becomes more complicated. You can say that you had a less than stellar experience with your handyman. This is the reason that you’re not mentioning his name, and he should check out various handymen in the neighborhood, to see if people are satisfied with their work. If the friend asks point blank, if it’s Ploni, then you are allowed to say that yes, it was Ploni, but it may be that the problem was with you, and that other people might be more satisfied with his work.

    When asked about a particular restaurant; and you ate there and didn’t like the food, or the service. In regard to taste, there is no objective benchmark to compare it to. So you can say that different people have different tastes, and they can only know by trying. Regarding the service, it could be that you had a particular server, and your friend might get a different person to serve him. Alternatively, perhaps this same server was having a bad day, for whatever personal reason, and isn’t an example of their regular standard of service.

    Lashon Hora applies equally when stated publically or privately. However sometimes something is only allowed to be said privately, for an example, when someone directly asks you for information, and you say it to him for “To’eles”. In this case, there is no “To’eles” for other people to hear your answer.

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