How do you handle it when you know that people are lying to you? Do you call them out immediately, or do you let them keep going until the snickers and guffaws erupt as your body collapses on the ground in a fit of giggles? I have been known to beep loudly when someone is lying to me – and, when they ask what the hell the beeping is all about, I politely tell them that it is my bullshit detector, and it appears to be picking up a reading. Most people react to that with the most uncomfortable of smiles…and it’s kinda awesome. (I know, I know…I’m a total witch – I park my broom outside my office, and I’m pretty much okay with that)
Sometimes, though, I let people get away with their lies – well, not get away with it, but I just listen to them and say nada. Case in point: a boy just came in to my office with a sob story about how he had a car accident and missed a test yesterday, and would I be so kind as to arrange for a makeup sitting for him. He offered to show me pictures of the car (warning sign #1 – too eager to prove the point), which I was fine with – except that the pictures were date stamped April 29, 2013…not May 21, 2013 – and he had a new Samsung Galaxy, so it’s not like the date hadn’t been set yet. Tempted though I was to holler BS, start beeping and flailing my arms around wildly, I resisted the urge, listened to his story, offered up my sweet concern, and left it at that. Will I arrange a late test for the lad? Absolutely. Why am I letting him off the hook? Because taking a test that he doesn’t really want to take will be punishment and misery enough…he doesn’t need my snide, sarcastic arse adding to it. <Insert evil laugh here>
Some people are really good liars, while others absolutely stink at it. I find myself far more inclined to believe people who are telling me what I want to hear, whether it’s true or not…aren’t you? Think about it – if you’ve ever been told ‘it’s not you, its me’ – didn’t you want to believe it? Of course you did! We all want to believe that we are awesome and amazing and blameless…it’s human nature. I want to believe that I am always wanted and always right as much as the next person, so you had better believe that I bought it when I’ve been told ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ – of course it’s you, dumbass! I’m fabulous, and you, good sir, are a dink if you don’t want me! (Sidebar: we need to bring the word ‘dink’ back – it’s awesome)
I also enjoy believing people who tell me that I look beautiful, when I clearly do not. Those are great liars – my favorite kind. I’m also pretty fond of liars who say that my ass doesn’t look big – because it is. Whatevah. I love optimistic liars, those who say that everything will be okay, even when you both know it won’t – those liars and the bullshit they tell are heroes amongst us and some of the best people on earth. Remember that and treat them accordingly, okay?
I read an article online about when it’s okay to lie – we all do it, and sometimes it’s a really good thing to do. Give it a read:
Truth be told: When it’s OK to tell a white lie
Now, let me make myself perfectly clear, I’m not one for lying or for telling people it’s OK to lie. Having said that, telling a little “white lie” every once in a while might actually be healthy when it comes to managing our interpersonal relationships. I clearly don’t need to go into all of the reasons why telling the truth is important. One of the fundamental foundations for our relationships depends on our ability to rely and trust those who are most dear and close to our hearts. So, now that I got that out of the way, I can talk about some of the reasons or exceptions to why telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, might actually not apply. Here are four instances when it’s OK to tell a little white lie:
1. When the whole truth tears someone down and makes them feel horrible about themselves rather than builds them up, like saying “I like your new, extremely short haircut” when in reality it’s just awful. Brutal honesty can be used as a toxic weapon. We are not obligated to tell the whole truth if it hurts someone’s feelings.
2. A little white lie like mentioning the tooth fairy or Santa Claus is acceptable when it protects a child’s innocence or creative imagination. How can you argue with that one?
3. Offering passing pleasantries, like “Oh … it’s no trouble at all” or “I’m fine, thanks for asking,” counts as OK in my book, too.
4. Complimenting someone, but perhaps taking it a little too far, like saying “Your cookies are the best I’ve ever had,” is also acceptable. Mild false truths make it easier for people to get along and are primarily harmless in most cases.
The major difference between a white lie and a hard lie is that a hard lie is said to protect oneself, whereas a little white lie is said to protect someone else. Relationships can be complex and tricky at times. Sometimes a harmless, thoughtful pleasantry is just what the doctor ordered.
Seems pretty reasonable, eh? There are lies that we tell ourselves that aren’t so bad, either…if we didn’t, most of us wouldn’t get our arses out of bed each day because the world can be just too damn scary. The news is saturated with stories of tragedies and hardships, disasters both manmade and natural…and some of the crappy things that people do to each other really makes it hard to believe in humanity. However, we tell ourselves that today will be a better day, that things will be okay, and that the world really is good – sometimes we are telling the truth, other times we are fibbing big time, but…I choose to believe that. Don’t you?