Friday, 10 April 2015

Lying: Drawing Your Lines 10th April 2015

Lying. We all do it.
There's so many different types of lies: giant whoppers of lies, little white lies, lies by omission, exaggeration, purposely misunderstanding.
And then there's all the reasons we lie: lying to yourself, lying to make someone feel better, lying to make yourself look better, lying to avoid confrontation. Where does it end? Answer: it doesn't.
I think each person has to draw a line they feel comfortable with.
I like to think I'm pretty honest, but there are some situations were I end up lying. That's life.
For example, my Grandmother would be mortified if she knew I smoked. She's in her 90s and to be honest, she doesn't need the stress of worrying about me, so I think telling her I don't smoke is a harmless lie. It avoids confrontation and saves her worrying. Some people will probably disagree.
I try to give my honest opinion if someone asks me a question, but I try to tone it down to avoid hurting someone's feelings, and I really don't think that's a bad thing. For instance, if I'm shopping with a friend and she tries a dress on and it doesn't suit her, I will tell her that. If she's already bought the dress and asks my opinion, I will say something like "I prefer the red one". If we are already out I'll say its fine. Why upset someone for no reason, its only my opinion at the end of the day.
I think we've all said something along the lines of being stuck in traffic if we're late for work, rather than saying we just wanted an extra 10 minutes in bed. Whatever you say, you're still late, why get a lecture as well? I think this is harmless if it's a one off.
What I can't stand is the pointless lie. Someone saying they speak fluent French for example, when they only know the word bonjour in reality. Yes it's harmless, but what's the point? It just bugs me.
I think, generally speaking, a little white lie is ok, as long as you're not doing it too often, and more importantly, as long as you're not telling lies to the people who are important to you.
When someone lies to me, if its a random acquaintance, I don't really care. It hurts a lot more if its someone who you care about. I tend to go along with the lie (which I suppose is a form of lying in itself), but it stays with me, and makes it harder to trust that person.
Generally speaking, I would prefer people to just be honest with me, even if it hurts, but at the same time, if someone tells a little lie to save my feelings, I can also appreciate that in their own way, that means they care.
Where lying gets dangerous, is when you tell multiple lies. You have to remember what version you told which person, and stick to them. Its just a lot of hard work, and the truth is bound to come out eventually.
I've read lots of articles on the body language of lying, supposedly written to help you spot a liar. This can be a double edged sword though. Maybe the person isn't lying, but is nervous about you're response, so shows similar body language. Also, those articles can be used by liars to manipulate their body language so it doesn't appear they are lying.
In general, my limits are; I won't lie to people I care about, I don't tell pointless lies to try and make myself look better and most importantly, but also hardest I think, is I don't lie to myself.

Where do you draw the line?

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