Is it Possible to NOT Lie?

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Hi there,

Today I got Busted. With a capital B, for ‘lying’. Not outright lying, or pathological lying, but white-lie lying. And when I tried to defend myself, the reply I received was ‘you lie all the time about this stuff’. I was gobsmacked. I mean…REALLY?! I’ve always considered myself a rather straight forward person, with no time for lies or games. So how did this happen?

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about this after this discussion. This is how my lying evolved. You see, I used to be brutally honest. Like Tourettes – type, couldn’t stop myself, HAD to say what I thought. I’d been raised better than that, but I didn’t have time for bullshit. Better to just say it and get it out there. Surprisingly, I had many friends and they just accepted it as part of my personality. Although I know for a fact that there were many hurt feelings left in my wake of honesty. It was only after I began traveling to far-flung countries and cultures around the world, that I learned that this was not a good practice. Asia is what finally cured me of my brutal honesty. I learned, that in the culture, people elude to what it is they are trying to say. People are supposed to be able to pick up on the body language clues as well as inflection and understand exactly what was being said. But you never…EVER say it straight. It is insulting and does not allow for the person – sometimes victim – to save face. And that, is just not acceptable. Especially in any kind of business context. How was I so stupid? This point, my friends, is where the little white lies began.

  • ‘How are you?’ ‘Lovely’.
  • ‘What do you think of this dish?’ ‘Delicious.’
  • ‘Our schedule for tomorrow is…(7 solid hours of events I don’t want to attend) Does that suit you?’ ‘Absolutely, can’t wait’
  • ‘Does my butt look big?’ ‘Nope, you’ve got a great ass’
  • ‘I will pick you up at 6 in the morning…ok?’ ‘Perfect!’

You can fill in the rest. We all do it. Which brings me to the question of….why? If we all tell the same lies, then we all know when someone is telling the same lies to us, which takes away from the ‘I’ll soften the blow’ basis of the whole idea in the first place. So why do we perpetuate these little white lies when nobody is falling for the bullshit anyway? I mean, come on. I know that when I ask my fiancé if my butt looks ok in a pair of pants, exactly what he will say. (Well ok, not always. He knows it’s a trap & avoids it as much as possible). But when he does reply, I know that he wishes to avoid my incessant follow-up questions so much, that he will tell me exactly what I want to hear. And THAT is what this is all about. We lie to avoid hurt feelings and conflict. (As a general rule. There are some folks who just lie for…well, for themselves I guess).

My next question is: If I don’t want to hurt people with the brutal truth, and I don’t want to lie…where is the line? I think the line is tact. But tact seems to be that part between colours on the colour wheel where the shades blend in with each other. So where is the line between tact and lying? At what point do you pull yourself back?

And what about lying by omission? I mean, ok. I understand that it is absolutely wrong if you forget to tell your SO that you slept with someone else. That’s just straight out lying. But, well… I have a nicolette habit. It’s awful for me, I know. But I’m not smoking cause that’s 1000 times worse. My fiancé knows that in stressful situations I run for the gum. But he forgot about it after a time, and when he found some I had stashed away, he was really upset about it. This is the best kind of example I can give for what I mean. I didn’t see the problem, because I hadn’t told him I wasn’t doing it, so therefore wasn’t lying. And I think it ridiculous to report that I am purchasing it, as I don’t give a full report of everything I purchase, basically …ever. Same with clothes. I see something pretty, I buy it, I hang it, I pay my other bills. So why does it matter? But I digress. I think he felt like I had allowed him to believe that I wasn’t taking it anymore because the whole subject just kind of died in the wind, as most subjects do. And because I had them tucked away, not just laying out on the table, I can see that he thought he was being deceived somehow. So what is the thing here? When does just doing what you do and not thinking it important enough to mention, turn into lying by omission? At what point and how do you know? Help me out here, because I am at a loss.

I’ve really been thinking about this so I’ve decided to challenge myself, and you too, if you’re up for it, to NOT lie. No whoppers – pathological ‘I’m a detective, I work for the CIA, no I’m a policeman’ lies (not a problem for me, but maybe for some people), no lying by omission – i.e.; just not telling someone something (this will be difficult for me because I have a tendency to just do whatever I decide to do and more times than not, don’t bother telling anyone about it because I feel it’s not a big thing if I bought a new shirt, or left to go somewhere for awhile.), no conflict avoidance lies – i.e.; telling someone whatever it is they need to hear to just make. it. stop. No little white lies either. (Eeeek! This will be so hard, and I’ve already got a list of friends I’ll probably loose.) No lying on Cv’s or credit applications either, folks. (This happens a surprising amount. You know who you are.)

I would love for you to share any advice or thoughts you have on the matter because my questions are genuine. If I’m trying not to lie, and I’d like to maintain my relationships with friends, family and a lover who gets the brunt of my opinions…how do I do it?

Who’s with me?

-Mliae

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31 Comments Add yours

  1. u2hearts says:

    How can you not lie, to a degree, and is it a lie when your just omitting the truth? When someone asks how are you? When I say fine instead of listing my complaints that’s not a lie, it’s an omission. How was dinner? Awesome, why hurt someone’s feelings for no reason. Smoking, your a grown woman with tons of shit on your plate, you really don’t need to give an excuse as to why to anyone but yourself. You know it’s bad for you, I’m pretty sure you can also read so you don’t need the lecture. You’ll quit when YOU are ready not when your significant other wants you to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jemmywaffles says:

      Agreeing with this so much.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If you are not going to lie, prepare to be solitary. People like to like and to be lied to , it makes them feel they have one up on you. It is a silly childish game that only continues with those immature and with no self worth. To stop lying, for some, means facing the truth-and growing up- and that is scary for them because they are needy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      It does seem that way sometimes, doesn’t it. I don’t know though. I do think there are a lot of people out there just as tired of playing this game as I am. The question remains though, are any of those people in my sphere of friendship?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 mmm. Point to ponder.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. adguru101 says:

    I think there’s a difference between lying as a means of self-aggrandisement, avoiding unpleasantness, hiding or ‘getting away’ with something etc. and unnecessarily brutal ‘honesty’ that mostly serves to make us feel better while alienating others. Hopefully there’s a middle ground that is truthful but not hurtful. Each situation requires honest evaluation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      Exactly, couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing, your comment gives me comfort 🙂

      Like

  4. dray0308 says:

    Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often and commented:
    Life Experiment Blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. mliae says:

      Thank yoooouuu 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dray0308 says:

        Most welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post! I’m a bit like you, in that I’m possibly a bit too honest. And I totally agree with the categorisation of the types of lies people tell, and recognise that almost everybody does it at some point. Despite knowing all that, certain lies still get my back up! Lies of omission are a struggle for me to accept, particularly if I know the person well enough to know exactly what they aren’t saying. My challenge is how to accept that trait in someone without allowing myself to pick a fight about it. Such an interesting post! Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      I totally agree with you about the lies of omission. It’s like they’re playing a mind game with you, but the cards are face-up because you know, you just can’t pry it out of them. So crazy-making! Thanks so much for commenting and I’m very glad you liked the post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve explained it perfectly right there!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a great topic! I lived in Asia and yes, they sublimate the truth to save face and most cultures do the same to a lesser or higher degree. In some cultures, western mostly, it is called being polite. In American culture, being polite is pretty much out-of-fashion, being crude is now acceptable and even “cool”. If you smoke, that is your business, your choice, if some people you know are obese, that is their business, their choice. Accepting differences in life styles that are not criminal are not to be judged by anyone, if they do, these people are rude, crude, and self-serving. Mostly because they are self-righteous. Self-righteous people are friend to no one. So, speak your mind gently with truth. That will eliminate, for the most part, white lies. It is wise to think before opening mouth, consider the subject matter and speak accordingly without judgement. K. D. Dowdall 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      I love this comment! You are soooo right and its great to hear from the voice of experience. Is it really so that in America, it is out of style to be polite?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, mliae, and yes, I would say about 40% of Americans have down-graded their language, attitudes, and manners. I think they are copying some one or several someones, our leader perhaps? Americans seem to use more inappropriate language without apology. Grace and elegance has taken a backseat to crude and lewd language/behavior. It is fine in books depicting characters in a story, nothing should be banned in books, but in real life it is not pretty. I am glad you liked my comment. K. D. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. mliae says:

        Interesting…. It’s shame when any part of society starts to loose their manners.

        Like

  7. dweezer19 says:

    I know other people like this. I have a compulsive inability to lie. Yep. Fear of the devil and all that stuff they shower you with as a child. So, if you see me turn away or not answer a question it is because I don’t want to tell a lie. I also don’t like to hurt people. So….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      That’s a good idea for handling the situation, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. dweezer19 says:

    PS. Do they have a special class in school for guys that teaches them that you will get into less trouble with a significant other if you just lie about coming home on time or better yet, not call at all? Cuz. That teacher needs to be FIRED. Putting off the inevitable only increases the intensity of the event guys. Really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      LOL. Nope. I’m thinking trying to stay out of trouble with mom has them well-trained, way before that 😉

      Like

  9. When you get to be my age it doesn’t matter, You can tell the truth and people ignore it and chalk it up to your age. However, I have been telling the truth for many years and you are right they don’t like it because “The truth hurts”, but it also sets you free.If I don’t want to lie but don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings I just say; “I’d rather not discuss it”. They usually get the picture. You might not hear from them again but that’s the chance you take. Your true friends and loved ones will stick by you whatever you say. ☺☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      A very valid point. I have tried to take the high road by saying ‘Id rather not discuss’. Some people take the hint, some of my female friends – for some reason it sets off a ‘I MUST KNOW’ trigger. Then I get frustrated & it all comes flying out. Probably should work on that one.

      Like

  10. michelle213norton says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the whole tact angle. It’s like diplomacy. If you choose your words wisely, you can tell anyone anything and not offend them. I went from being willing to lie to save my ass, to being brutally honest, to being considerate of others feelings and learning to express myself appropriately. It was a long road and I’m still a work in progress.

    Like

  11. hercontagiouslaughter says:

    I loved reading this because it’s actually a topic that I think about a lot. I have tended to pride myself on being a brutally honest person, until the past couple years when that started to bite me in the a**. So now I’m trying to find the right balance. I still don’t want to ever lie, but I work at a front desk in an office and inevitably have about a hundred people over the course of the day ask “how are you/how’s your day going?” as a way to pass the few seconds as they sign their names in front of me. And they don’t want to know how I really am. So, although I still try not to LIE, I think taming down what you’re actually thinking is not a bad idea in these situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      This is a great point! I mean, if you follow the line of logic, smiling and saying ‘great!’ all day is kind of lying…but seriously, what else can you do when there’s a 2 minute window & nobody actually wants to know whats going in life.

      Like

  12. I try not to ever lie, unless it’s something about me. For instance if I’m not doing ok, I’ll tell people I am, just because I don’t want to talk about it. Another reason is if it’s not my business to tell. I usually just say that they need to find the person they are asking about and ask them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mliae says:

      Exactly. I love this comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also I’ve learned, even though it sometimes hurt feelings. You should tell someone the truth if you don’t like how they look. Better for them to know instead of thinking they look good when they don’t.

        Like

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