Thursday, January 05, 2012

Chock Full O' Preservatives

Have you ever told a lie?

Oh, please. Of course you have! Everyone has. Show me someone who says they cannot tell a lie (George Washington *wink wink* *nudge nudge*) and I'll show you a liar.

What about a white lie? Have you ever told one of those?

I'm guessing most of you tell white lies you're barely conscious of telling. Even the most forthright people I know, the most honest people I know, tell them. Usually though, the lies told are innocuous and understandable.

Most of us tell white lies to preserve the feelings of someone else. Right? Isn't that the point of a white lie? Telling someone something they want to hear to save their feelings in some way?

Now, have you ever been caught in a lie - even a white lie?

I know I have and it's pretty embarrassing, humiliating, especially when my intentions are the best. Because I know my word is only good when it is honest and lying calls my goodness into question. I don't like that. I AM good...mostly.

As I've gotten older, my tendency to tell white lies has decreased significantly. Perhaps it's because I've honed my delivery, softened it so as not to offend...much. Still...occasionally I do find myself telling a white lie and justifying it to myself by saying, "It's to preserve his/her feelings".

But is that the right thing to do?

One of the reasons I respect Peej is because Peej is THAT friend. The one you can call to come over and watch you while you try on outfits and know, 100%, that she is telling you the truth when an outfit looks great because when it doesn't she says, "Um, no, really, that is not an outfit you should ever ever everever wear even under the cover of darkness in your own home alone while dancing around, clutching a hairbrush microphone, and lip syncing to Madonna". (Yes, I do this. Shuddup. Don't judge. Madonna is awesome.)

Goddess of the universe

I strive to be like her (Peej. Not Madonna.) in my own offered fashion opinions (and that's kinda laughable given my own personal fashion style which, if you must know, is zilch on the 1-10 awesome scale). Frankly, because there is very little worse than being caught in an outfit you shouldn't even wear dead because someone you thought you could trust told you it looked good...while keeping her fingers crossed behind her back and her snickers masked in the confines of a forged coughing fit.

So then, here's another question. Is there anyone you trust implicitly to tell you the truth every single moment of every day and should you trust them? Did you need convincing or was it inherent within your relationship?

The only people I trust to tell me the absolute truth as he sees it are Lex and Acr0nym.

Not even Peej is to be 100% trusted. This is not because she's betrayed my trust but because I know everyone is fallible to the little white lie to preserve a feeling or two. I love Peej. I trust Peej. But I understand and accept that there are probably times when she's told me a white lie or two just to spare my delicate flower feelings. I suspect she feels the same about me. And that's great!

However, I trust Lex completely all the time. This took literally years to happen. I trusted him most of the time about most everything but there was one thing - the biggest thing - I didn't trust him about until we'd lived together for three years. And that was that I didn't believe he wouldn't just turn on me and leave...until he didn't.

I trust Acr0nym all the time. It took awhile to come to that although not as long as it took Lex - and maybe that's because of Lex - but it did happen. Perhaps it's because he told me - in public - something that cut through me like the sharpest of convenience store knives and I didn't die. Whatever the reason, I trust Acr0nym to always tell me the truth - most especially when it hurts.

I guess then, my question is this...who do you trust? Do you assign levels of trust? Do you find yourself completely vulnerable to no one, to just one, to several someones? Within the schema of things, do you find that your ability to white lie increases the less you trust?

The answers feel important to me tonight. Please, by all means, weigh in.


Anonymous said...

It's not that I've never lied, but I haven't told a lie--white or otherwise--in a very, very, very long time. I try hard not to be harsh or unfair and I don't think that vowing honesty gives me a right to spout off, stick my nose where it doesn't belong, or to spill my guts. I'm an exceptional secret-keeper and when people confide in me, which they tend to do, I never blab.

I simply will not lie. If I'm asked a question, I will answer in one of two ways. I'll tell the truth or I'll decline to answer because either the asker is overstepping the bounds of decency to ask or the question is not mine to answer.

I can count on my absolute best friend since forever, Lisa, to be fully forthright with me, even if it's not all shiny and pretty. I respect that and I count on it. It's one of the things I love most about her. My hubby and two of my kids are very honest, though all of them have fudged now and then in the name of kindness. If I ask any of them to be perfectly direct, though, they will.

I value honesty a great deal. When I find that someone has lied to me, it may or may not end our relationship, but it does change it.

Gaelyn said...

As a kid lies rolled off my tongue sound more truth than fiction. Or at least thought so. I got older, and maybe a little wiser finding it difficult to lie. Sometimes downright impossible. Truth just comes naturally now and I've had to learn to soften it a bit sometimes. But amongst my Very BFFs there is only truth. And they can kick my behind with honesty when it's needed. I love them for it, eventually.

alienbody said...

I was very adept at lying. Children of alcoholic/drug addict parents tend to hide behind them. Being with an abusive ex-boyfriend just sort of made it easier as well. I'm no stranger to the occasional white lie either. But I've been trying to just avoid a situation that would bring me to a point where one is needed. I try to be honest, the best I can, when dealing with friends. I won't let someone go out in a horrid outfit or say I agree with an action or behavior just to support them if I think it isn't right. But when a friend of mine asks about something she's created, then I have a hard time saying the truth if I don't like it. Merely because it is must my opinion and I don't want something so personal to influence the passion/dreams of someone is just perspective/taste/etc. Does that make sense?

And, because of that...I find it very hard to trust someone when they compliment or like something about me. Weird, I know...I just can't help but think they are being nice, because I may have done the same at some point for someone (and not you...just in case your mind is going there, 'cause mine would if it were me). But, I'm saying this because you asked and I wanted to be honest...really honest.

Anonymous said...

Oh-my, how true is that? The older I've gotten the harder it is for me to lie. And as a matter of fact, I find I can't lie. Just thinking about it makes me feel ill. What has happened to me? In truth, I really like this new me.

Love this song, by the way. Thank you!


Laine Griffin said...

I think I only trust myself. I don't lie to myself anymore. But I do ignore the truth.
I do pretty much trust my BFF and my husband. But I don't ask much for input.
And I do tell white lies, but generally since I've grown a little older I tell them less often.

cdnkaro said...

Ooh, this one got me thinking hard. To be honest, I don't think anyone I know would not even tell me a white lie. I have been known to tell white lies to spare feelings, but like Word Nerd I try to do this less and less, and have been known to decline to answer. Great post!

Bon said...

I try very hard to not lie. Mostly because I have zero ability to keep up with lies. Maybe it's because I've got so many other people's lives in my head (fiction writer) that I must keep my RL interactions straightforward? Whatever the reason, I find that being honest or being quiet is my very best bet. :)

As a survivor, trusting people is hard for me. Because of that betrayal of basic trust, I expect harm on an automatic basis. It has taken me many a year to achieve social interactions without outright fear.

I still have anxiety - and likely always will - but, I can and do go out amongst the hoi polloi. ;D
(Oh, good Lord spellchecker - all of those are real words.)

danneromero said...

good question: who do you trust?

a question that swirls around in my head, regularly...

if not for myself.. also, my kids and i have had many conversations on that exact topic...

i trust my husband, my kids, and myself....

Lucy said...

Yep, I have told a lie or two, maybe even three LOL but overtime big time lying did stop. Big time lying is hard. You know trying to keep up with what you said and to who, I learned quick that lying was not worth it. In the end, telling the truth and dealing with the consequence was better. Now, white lies, like your haircut is nice when it isn't, yeah, I will still do that depending on who it is. For me, it depends on the personality of the person. I know certain friends and family members who can handle the truth, who really want it and others who like being told they are right or they look great, so for me it depends on that knowledge.
Who do I trust totally? My husband. If he ever turns out to hurt me I will be devastated,of course I will survive but it will take me awhile because he truly is my best friend and I trust him to tell me 'how it is' and I tell him 'how it is'. Oh, and my mom!! My sister comes in pretty close and then I have one very good friend that we share everything and I count on her guidance and honesty but that is it.

TangledLou said...

I'm with Word Nerd on this one. I am terrible at lying and something in me won't even tell the preservative type. I a good mum-keeper if I need to be, or "Oh look! A bumblebee!"-er, if I don't want to hurt feelings or answer the question.
I used to lie to my parents a lot as a teenager. The biggest lie of that time probably being "I'm fine."
Having said all that, some people beg to be lied to. Some people don't want to hear the truth and even if they hear it, will change it to the lie they want to believe.
As for trusting people, hmmm. I think my husband is the only person I absolutely 100%, no holds barred, without a doubt, trust. He'll tell me the necessary truth about anything and it only makes me love him more. He's the only one, though. I trust all kinds of people to varying degrees, but never with complete abandon.

Just Jane said...

My apologies for not coming by to thank you all for your comments sooner. You may or may not have noticed that I've been reading and commenting on everyone else's blogs like a mad woman for the last few days without regard to my own blog.

Thanks to all of you for weighing in. I love how it's clear that each of you, with age, came the wisdom that lying isn't easy or the best approach.

Periphery: You are absolutely right. Some people beg to be lied to or, more accurately, won't believe the truth. Awesome point!

At Bon: Amen, Sister.

Masked Mom said...

This post is HUGE with ideas. First, I am terrible at lying as well and I squirm when I'm put into the position of choosing to tell the truth or spare someone's feelings. Like you, I've consciously tried to improve the delivery system for when I'm asked direct questions, but I will totally cop to just keeping my mouth shut whenever possible--even though it's the weasly way out.

Second, there are a lot of guys who come through the halfway house that hide behind the slogan, "It's an honest program." as an excuse for being overtly and unnecessarily nasty to one another by spouting not just "truths," but momentary opinions that are fleeting and emotion-based and really more reflective of the person expressing them than the target of their expression. I have said over and over again that we should all be careful to look at our motivations in sharing our "honest" opinions. If our intention is to hurt, that is emotionally and morally dishonest even if what we are saying is a verifiable fact. And here's the thing, so much of "honesty" really comes down to matters of opinion or taste(for example, the fashion-related advice). Basically, my advice when I hear the "honesty" getting a little too raw is yes, it's an honest program, but that doesn't mean you have to say every little thing that pops into your head.

As to trust in relationships, I think the trust you have in others is best built on a foundation of the trust you have in yourself. It is so much easier to be open and trusting in relationships if we are secure in ourselves to some extent--when we have faith in our ability to stay centered in the aftermath of being let down. If we don't have that security, we will never be able to fully trust even the most perfectly loyal and honest person. If we do have it, we can open ourselves up to all the possibilities in our relationships.

I believe this whole-heartedly. Practicing it, however, turns out to be harder than one would think. :)