A thought that just gelled for me a few days ago:
The truth, not spoken in love, comes across like a battering ram. Love is the bridge between me and others, which allows the truth I speak to walk across, looking like a friend.
How to make the love felt? I will need to preface my statements with “I don’t want to offend you,” or “May I say something as a friend?” or “May I make a suggestion?”--spoken with friendly ease.
. . . that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:14-16).
Notice that the apostle Paul refers to growth twice in this passage--and that both times he links it with love. So, it's not just speaking truth to others that causes them to flourish--it must be mixed with love.