I prefer fibbing, don’t you? Still, whatever my choice for wording may be, it is what it is: a lie.
Last night I read an essay titled “The Ways We Lie. (click on the link for the pdf file)” The author classifies lies into ten different categories. It got me thinking on the types of lies I use. My favorites were the white lie, omission, deflecting, and the out-and-out lie. We get better at lying as we grow older. As adults, we put together a mental strategy to make the lie as realistic as possible.
I remember being three years old, just as afraid to say the truth as to face the consequences for lying.
As I grew older, I read somewhere that, “A lie which is half a truth, is ever the blackest of lies.” I suppose it’s true. You might as well confess to all of it, if you confess to any of it. Still, I’m guilty of doing exactly that a great amount of times. That type of lie is called omission. That, as opposed to the out-and-out lie, is a mature lie.
Many times, in confession, I’ll confess to all of my sins, but omit the part where I’m guilty. That one small part I leave out makes all the difference in the world.
On one occasion in seventh grade, my friends and I got into a fight with another group of boys. We got called down to the Dean’s office and had to pick up paper as punishment. When I had to take a note home for my parents to sign, they were mortified. The dean was kind enough, or possibly foolish enough, to let us break the news to our parents. I went home with the intention of telling my mother the absolute truth, but quickly changed my mind after I saw the look on her face.
I confessed to everything, the whole thing about the group of guys with looks on their faces that said they meant business, running after us swearing and yelling. I omitted, of course, the part about my crowd being the first to go up to the other group of boys and chasing them around the playground, with our sweaters rolled up to our elbows and clenched hands. I thought that would ease the consequences. People use this type of lie when they think there is really no other alternative.
Why do I lie? Why do you lie? Why did President Clinton lie about his relationship with Lewinsky? Why must we concentrate on my small flaws when we have the President of one of the greatest nations in the world, cheating on his faithful wife? I am most certainly using the deflecting technique, turning it around to another problem to get out of the mess you’re in.
I think using your family is the worst to practice this technique on, but I have done it. I was younger, of course.
It was an easy way to get out of the long lectures my dad would give me when I received a low grade in school. I would quickly look for a problem going on at home, maybe even bringing up the grades of my sibling.
I quickly learned that it wasn’t the best way lo get out of trouble. I would still hear about it, but on top of that I’d have a temporary enemy.
Ah, last of the all, the white lie. Now that’s an essential lie. If none are justifiable, that one must be close. Women especially love the lie (whether they admit it or not) that saves their pride. The white lie is one of them.
As humans, we cannot accept an unflattering truth. Say, you’re out with your wife at a clothing store, and she tries on something that looks anything but good. She looks at herself, and says “I look good, don’t I? Tell me the truth.” I cannot bring myself to say anything negative. I did however, learn that I was not being much of a friend by letting her purchase an absurd piece of clothing.
What I do now is say yes, but suggest she try something else just in case. That works wonderfully. Neither am I lying to her, nor hurting her feelings.
A lie is a bad habit that is neither taught nor corrected. People who say they never tell a lie are lying, using the delusion technique. They excuse themselves, by saying all the lies they say are legitimate. Sure they are, but they are still lies.
Every now and then, “Honesty is not the best policy.”