I used to lie a lot when I was a kid. I wasn't intent on deceiving people, but for some reason I would just tell made up stories. They weren't even fantastic stories, they were just things that hadn't happened. I really have no idea why I did it.
One day I was hanging out with my friend Ryan and his family. We had just gone to a movie and were driving back to his house. Right as we were driving down his street I told a story to everyone in the car. I don't remember the story, but I remember it had something to do with cabinets. Hey, it was a long time ago.
Ryan's mother innocently asked a question that began with, "Wait... if you did that, then how could you have..."
I was busted. The story was completely fabricated and everyone knew it. Worse, it wasn't even impressive. I had lied about some mundane every day story. I was mortally embarrassed. Everyone could sense my embarrassment and took it as a sign to keep quiet. That was worse.
I think that day was a turning point for me, even though I was only in middle school. I stopped lying. Seared into my brain was the idea that lying equaled immeasurable humiliation. Telling the truth couldn't possibly be worse than that.
Since then I have a more mature philosophy on lying. I do it all the time. Just kidding. Here's why not to lie :
I'm totally not perfect, so I guess I do lie once in a while. I'm sure you've read about that ONE time. My lies are tiny ones, though. The other day I told my mom I was farther along building her web page than I was. I felt bad about it. Then the next day I spent a lot of time and built the whole thing. Still, I should have just told her the truth.
Some people make up insane lies that I can't fathom. I've seen people construct HUGE elaborate lies that they have to keep up on a daily basis so that people don't figure out the truth. One girl (no, not the one in my story) even pretended to be pregnant to try to keep her boyfriend. She was a total wreck and eventually alienated all of her friends when they found out about her lies.
I get accused of lying about my stories pretty often. I hope that this is because my stories are fantastic, not because I seem like a liar!
Sometimes you can be put in awkward situations, though. For example, let's say that Sally told me that she's going to dump Bill. Bill then says "Hey, do you think Sally is going to dump me?"
What should you do?
I would lie and pretend that I didn't know. As far as I'm concerned, if someone tells me something and tells me not to tell anyone, I didn't hear it. I don't think lying is a great option, but I think it's the most fair to everyone involved. Also, I would be lying to sally if I told her secret to Bill.
How about if a guy says, "Hey do you like my painting?" about his ugly painting?
There's a lot of incentive to lie here, but there's no good reason to. I would say "Honestly, not really. I'm not any sort of art critic, but it doesn't appeal to me." I've never seen someone who doesn't appreciate this sort of honesty. If he asks, I might give him some more detailed feedback that he could use later. If he paints a better one and I say, "Ooh, I like this one," then he knows that I'm telling the truth .
If you lie, be honest with yourself (or is that a catch-22?) and examine why you lie. Is it REALLY the best thing to be doing? Maybe give total honesty a try for 30 days and see where it gets you. It can be scary, but it's worth it.
This story is one of the first really interesting and bizarre things that happened to me. It's a tale chock full of twists, crime, and deceit, guaranteed to satisfy even the most discriminating BtyB reader.
It takes place when I was a sophomore in high school, before I had any clue whatsoever regarding women. Despite my objective inexperience, I had managed to attract my first real girlfriend. I'll write the full story some day on how I met her... believe it or not, I won her over by memorizing more digits of pi than she memorized. Let's all pretend I didn't just admit that. Anyway, she was very attractive, super cool, and perhaps the most compatible girlfriend I've ever had. Now she is a fighter (like amateur UFC or something) and a stripper. Her name is Allison.
One of my good friends at the time was a fellow named Charles. There always seemed to be something a bit odd about him, but I wasn't sure what it was. Later I would learn that he had been sent to juvenile detention for attempting to stab his stepfather.
A couple days ago, I told a Nigerian engineer to "Work online. Use freelancing sites. Lie about the country you’re in. [...] There’s a big stigma against Nigeria. That’s just reality, and you need to deal with it."
A reader replies -
I feel for this guy but I am surprised you recommend lying. There has to be another way. ... I have a problem with lying, period, and perhaps I’ve misunderstood Sebastian but I think he stands for straightforwardness.
Let's talk about this straightforwardly, like adults, like grown-ups.
Most people won't do that. It's inherently weird. Most people don't own up to the fact that they lie, yet almost everyone does so. A lot, actually.