March 25, 2013

White Lies We Should Stop Telling Each Other

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What is the issue?

“Let’s hang out some time.” This is usually said when you run into a former friend, frenemy, colleague or acquaintance.

We need to stop doing this. I understand that this line serves as a go-to conversation closer for many awkward encounters. But have you ever thought of what would happen, if your counterpart actually said, “yes” and expected a follow-through plan to hang out? Don’t take the risk. More importantly, we have no intention of hanging out with this person out of our own free will, so why pretend? If you need a conversation closer, “Glad to see you’re still alive. Take care and have an awesome life.” has never failed me.

“Maybe he/she is busy, tired, awkward, shy, intimidated… [Fill in your favorite line about why your friend’s romantic interest is not interested in them.]” This is often said to comfort your friend when their romantic interest is not responding positively.

I want you to know that I am your best friend when I say, “Maybe he or she is just not that into you.” I know that sounds  harsh and I’m not going to commit to agreeing with all the principles of that book, and I’m not even saying that he or she is not busy or shy or moving to Mars next month. But I’m also not going to lie to you. Not getting feelings reciprocated sucks but you know what sucks more? Giving you false hope. Instead of making excuses up for our friends’ love interests, let’s just tell them how great we think they are and if someone they’re interested in, doesn’t see that or isn’t doing anything about it, it is that person’s loss.

“I’ll be there in 5 minutes.” This is typically said when planning on meeting someone ASAP but you’re running late.

Do you know why you won’t be there in 5 minutes? Because you haven’t left your house yet. It’s obnoxious because what we’re really doing with this lie is giving someone an expectation that their wait time will be short. Waiting for people is annoying enough, but having to wait for longer than expected is just not cool. Would it really be so bad if we just told each other that due to tardiness, we will be meeting later than we had planned? No it wouldn’t. Unless you are in fact 5 minutes away, let’s stop this ridiculousness.

“I didn’t get that text.” This is frequently said when your friend asks why you didn’t respond to their text.

First of all, I completely empathize with the annoyance that you feel when a friend asks about why you didn’t respond to a particular text. Obviously you didn’t reply because you didn’t want to. But choosing to lie is silly because more than likely, your friend knows that you probably got the text in question. Own up and tell him or her the stone-cold truth: you simply didn’t want to.

“I’m just so busy.” This is said by everyone, all the time.

We’re all busy – every single one of us. Some people are busy doing nothing but let’s not get into details here. “Busy-ness” is the excuse that no one can argue with so it’s the perfect white lie in a lot of ways. No, I can’t make it to your house party on Saturday because I’m busy. Yes, I missed your incredible dinner-event-thing last Sunday because I’m busy. Sorry, I haven’t seen, called, or texted you because I’m just so busy, okay? Actually, I’m not. I mean I am busy and yes that might affect going to things or seeing people once in a while. But the truth is I probably just didn’t feel like it. And as terrible of a human being I am to tell you this, whatever you wanted me to do was deemed not as important as my Saturday afternoon nap or Sunday evening date with Netflix. Now you know, and now we can all just be honest about it and feel good. And I know it’s just a white lie, but the truth will in fact, set you free. TC mark

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