I prefer to try to tell people what they need to hear. The way I see it, they're here because they want fresh opinions and advice. We're completely removed from their situations, it's an opportunity to tell them the way things are, and say things that people in their life would probably just sugarcoat.
It can depend on the question though. Some people are simply seeking reassurance and I see nothing wrong with offering some supportive words and telling them what they want to hear.
When people ask questions I like to answer with what truly answers the question. I always try to make it as realistic but just like how I believe everyone should communicate, there should be respect and compassion. To truly help someone you have to give them what they need to hear not what they want to hear. Or else that could just be reassuring them with lies.
I have to admit that I avoid doing the first thing even though sometimes I do so subconsciously ;_;. Most of the times I answer for the sake of it and I try to be honest. I rarely put an effort in my answers though.
I'm the latter BUT sometimes I'm brutally honest, and other times i express my honesty with consideration of others' feelings, especially on sensitive topics, because i think people deserve that decency.
I just joined so I've only commented on a couple of posts. I always tell the truth but if it's something that could hurt someone's feelings I would try to be careful how I phrase my reply so it can be more constructive than hurtful.
I'm honest all the time, which leads to some askers (mostly the female ones) going mental and blocking me afterwards. I don't quite get it, if they don't wanna hear some honest answers they should not ask at all.
Personally, I tell the truth, but I dont make it brutal. I try to be kind, yet realistic.
Sometimes if I sense that person is really insecure, I may tell them something they wanna hear. Still trying to be as honest as possible without hurting them. Other times I'm honest but I use my words differently, again, to try not to hurt them. Other times I'm brutally honest, especially with conceited people.