It’s a lot of pressure being married to someone who never lies. Especially for me, as I’ve been known to resort to a fib, like, once or twice.
Such as the time I was running late because my playlist shuffled up a string of great songs, and I stopped getting dressed to grab my hairbrush and belt out several off-key renditions, but I said it was because my site went down.
Other things I’ve lied about include:
- Whether I was sent home from the party with a cupcake for Craig
- How long it took me to work out how to open the pump on my body lotion
- The real reason I was wearing a large cameo brooch circa 1982 on my white top.
You can generally pick my lies a mile away. They tend to come with extensive backstories, detailed but highly irrelevant sub-plots, colorful characters (many with strong potential for their own spin-off lies), and occasionally, small cliffhangers that accelerate the action towards the lie itself.
Usually by the time I get to the lie, I am so exhausted, and the lie-ee so overcome by the sheer overkill they’ve just witnessed, that we enter a tacit agreement to avoid eye contact and quickly change the subject.
But although I still engage in the occasional face-saving lie, I’ve stopped telling nice lies.
No More Nice Lies
The nice lie is the lie you tell, ostensibly to protect the other person’s feelings.
Craig never tells nice lies. If I ask Do I look gross in this? he will appraise my outfit and, if I do, he’ll say Yes.
At first, I found his subversive unwillingness to tell peace-keeping porkies to be the height of rudeness.
But over time I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of neither hearing nor telling nice lies.
1. Hearing The Truth Is Empowering.
As Gloria Steinem has said, The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
When people lie to protect your feelings, they aren’t changing reality in your favor, they’re simply excluding you from The Way Things Are.
Being told the truth, on the other hand, although it may hurt at first, gives you valuable, actionable information about reality.
If you don’t like what you hear, then you can do something about it. You can change things, or work at accepting things. You have options.
But if you stick your head in the sand, then you are left to carry on, oblivious to the fact that your butt is poking out into the air.
2. Telling The Truth Is Empowering.
There’s a line from a Black Eyed Peas song that comes to mind. No, not My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps – although that line is not without its own poetry.
Rather, I was thinking of And I lie and I lie till I don’t know who I am, from Don’t Lie.
Because when you hear yourself telling lies, you undermine your sense of identity.
What you think, what’s true for you – that’s a big part of who you are. If you don’t own that truth, then you are mortgaging a part of you, of your sense of self.
Aim For Kindness, Not Niceness
I’ve worked out that when I try to be nice, then I fall into the lying game.
No, it’s delicious; I’m only spitting it into my napkin because I took a really really big bite.
OMG, you look sah amazing.
Don’t fool yourself that being nice is about protecting the other person. Being nice is about wanting people to like you. It’s actually selfish.
But when I aim to be kind, then I can always find a way to be honest and compassionate.
It’s a little too sweet for me.
The color is really flattering, but I wonder if it might look better if you go up a size.
Being kind is genuinely about the other person, trusting them to handle the truth, but delivering that truth in a way that is compassionate and caring.
And in that spirit of caring, if you see Craig, don’t mention the cupcake.