Kind Lies

A response to bastards ;P

Mark Twain said there are three types of lies—lies, damned lies, and statistics—benefitting only children and idiots.  It’s a great line, but a bit simplistic, I think.

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When prompted, it is universally accepted, even expected, to say, “I’m fine,” regardless of how you’re honestly doing.  This is a
misrepresentation of feeling.  Nobody really wants hear exactly how you are—it’s usually uninteresting.  In this vein, “How are you?” could be seen as a lie, as well, but a less useful lie, in my opinion, because “How are you?” creates the potential for tedious discussion, where as “I’m fine,” squashes it.  Similarly, if you really have no opinion or are short on time, it is often wise to agree with a person unless what they’re suggesting is in anyway harmful.  In my experience, disagreement is usually met with a much louder and better enunciated repeat of the original
argument.  This could be damaging to both your inner ear and your composure

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Lies I told today:

I’m fine.
Yes, I understand.
I’ll do it tomorrow.
I’ve picked up 500 pair of gloves for him, this year.
You’re the best.
I really can’t go; I have a lot of work to do.
Yes, I’ll call if I need anything.
That’s terrible!
I don’t mind.
I’m actually doing that, right now.
There’s just no room in my fridge, thanks, though.
I wish you could stay longer.
I think you did well, it didn’t seem rushed.
You’re probably right.
Yeah, I’m ok.
I’ll do it tomorrow.
I’m not worried.
Uh huh.
No problem, it was on the way.
He’s not—can I take a
message?
I don’t really know, yet, what my schedule will look like.
Yep.  I’ll do it tomorrow

***

I’ve always believed people who pride themselves on their honesty are quite dangerous and to be avoided.  My success at evading Brutally Honest People (BHPs) has been greatly aided by the character profile I’ve created after hours of intense research and observation.
The BHP is commonly very animated.  He may use hand gestures and/or profanity to express himself.  He will maintain eye contact for an uncomfortably long period of time.  He is usually male.  He will stand a touch too close, but he never smells bad.  He commonly begins sentences in a falsely apologetic note.  If you’re still not sure whether or not you’re dealing with a BHP, say this phrase:  “Gratuitous cruelty.”  The wicked smile on the subjects face is the hallmark of a Brutally Honest Person.

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Me: We are under no obligation to “say it how it is.”
Brutally honest friend:  We’re not under any obligation…but I feel it is better to.  But, then again, people get by doing the complete opposite so it doesn’t make a difference.  Some say the opposite to get by.  They lie.
Me:  That’s harsh, man.

***

In situations where kindness and truth are at odds, I think that the “truth” is  pretty subjective.  I may agree that something is ridiculous or valuable or pretty, but that is not the truth.  It is what I think—my opinion.

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I have a casual relationship with the truth.  To thine own self be true, right?  In what way is squashing another’s mood (or hopes or beliefs or self-esteem, depending on the nature of the truth in question) true to me?  In what way does it benefit me?  I’m talking about brutal honesty, not constructive criticism.  “Dude, she doesn’t like you, and why would she, you halitosis-ridden monster,” versus “perhaps you need to clean up your approach, and anyway, if she doesn’t value you then she’s not worth your time.”  Lies can be a kindness.

 

The End

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