Lie: “I’m not feeling well right now.”
What We Really Mean: “I just don’t feel like going out.”
Why It’s Terrible: There are only so many times you can use the “I don’t feel well” excuse before people are either going to not believe you or start avoiding you altogether because they assume you have some horrible auto immune disorder that prevents you from ever being able to go to dinner at a regular time. Sometimes it’s just better to admit that you aren’t into whatever it is, so people at least know that when you do cancel something it’s because you have come down with the flu. You don’t want to become the guy that no one ever counts on because you are only too happy to cancel whenever it suits you.
Lie: “Your boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other is great.”
What We Really Mean: “I don’t like them for various reasons, but don’t feel like dealing with the repercussions of being honest when you ask.”
Why It’s Terrible: It is your job, as a friend, to answer important questions honestly when they are presented to you. Very few people in your friend’s life are going to be up-front about the fact that their new lover is absolutely repulsive. Just because they are in the throes of heady infatuation and can’t quite see it for themselves doesn’t mean that you can’t be honest and potentially save them from a few months of treacherous quasi-romance. Sure, they might get mad at you briefly, but as long as they were asking you and you are being honest and putting it as nicely as you can, there’s really nothing they can say to you. You may have to weather the temporary storm of their rage, but you’ll at least sleep well, knowing you did what you could.
Lie: “I’m not mad.”
What We Really Mean: “I’m really mad.”
Why It’s Terrible: There is nothing worse than asking someone directly if they are upset with you for whatever reason and having them tell you “no,” when they are clearly simmering with rage. If you don’t have the decency to tell your friend what’s up, you don’t have the privilege of being mad about shit. Being mad is an emotion reserved for adults.
Lie: “I might go to your party on Saturday.”
What We Really Mean: “I’m not going, but I don’t want to deal with you being mad at me about it all week.”
Why It’s Terrible: There are, of course, going to be circumstances in which you actually aren’t sure whether or not you can attend something in the near future. But let’s be realistic and say that, at most, this is the case only 30 percent of the time. We are not all billionaire playboys jetting around at the drop of a hat, getting invited to orgies held in the boom boom room of a dictator’s mansion, who can’t tell someone two weeks ahead if we can go to their birthday party. We’re just not going to go and don’t want to say no, because we’re kind of cowards and terrible people and the internet has made us lazy. Just say no, rip off the emotional band-aid, and get it over with.
Lie: “I don’t mind lending you _____.”
What We Really Mean: “Stop taking my things, please.”
Why It’s Terrible: We all know that few things can tear apart a friendship quite as insidiously as borrowed (and often not returned, or returned in shoddy condition) personal belongings. Clothes, movies, cars, anything — it’s all a recipe for friendship implosion. And half the time you just want to save yourself the trouble and tell them no up-front, but the code of “human decency” (pfft) prevents us from doing so. Better to just be honest and ask if they could live without it. (And don’t even get me started on loaning money between friends. That shit is to be treated with upmost caution, unless you don’t mind ending up in a gruesome murder-suicide a few months later.)
Lie: “You can put on whatever music you want.”
What We Really Mean: “Please don’t change my goddamn music.”
Why It’s Terrible: You know that you don’t want to have to listen to some other, lame music when you’re the one doing the driving. And you sure as hell don’t want someone to change your party playlist when you’ve perfectly cultivated it. Above all, though, you absolutely don’t want to cultivate the kind of friend who thinks it’s acceptable to get up every five minutes during a soirée and change the music to suit his or her tastes. That person is the worst person in the world.
Lie: “I don’t care if you go for ______, I don’t even like them.”
What We Really Mean: “I’m going to be jealous forever and hate you secretly with the fire of a thousand suns if you touch them.”
Why It’s Terrible: Whether it’s a recent ex or a mutual crush, you all should just not be stepping on each other’s toes when it comes to love that could possibly put the other friend’s heart/soul into a vice grip. The truth is that, if you’re good friends, you should be able to speak up and be like, “Bro, don’t date that person. I love them.” If they disregard your wishes, that’s one thing, but you should at least do your heart a favor and try to nip it in the bud, because there is nothing worse than having to bear witness to an entire relationship that tears you apart without being able to say a word. Don’t do that to yourself. You don’t deserve it.