I’m a believer in truth, even when it’s not popular. A sign hangs in my office that reads “When in doubt, tell the truth”. Before a conversation begins, that’s going to be one of those heavy conversations, I ask if I’m strictly a listener or if my advice is being asked because it’ll be truthful. I’ve also asked if they really, I mean really, want my opinion. Those that know me, know they’re going to get the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. So help me God. This approach has been appreciated, but it’s also likely cost me some friendships. While I may be sad to lose touch with someone, I’m ok with their decision because it’s just my policy. I’m not being self-righteous, it’s merely how I can look myself in the mirror.
That all being said, there are definite circumstances where that virtue isn’t so cut and dry. Got a piece of spinach in your teeth? I’m your girl. Want my opinion of the guy or girl your with? Brace yourself. Wanna cheat on a test or even playing a fun game with friends? Not around me you won’t. Cheating on your significant other? Say hello to the gray area. None of us, I’d like to think, want to hurt another human being, especially someone we’re close to. And that’s where things, like that last example, get hairy. What do you do? Your friend will be furious with you if you keep that tidbit to yourself…you have to tell. OR Your friend will think you’re full of shit or that you are instigating and be furious…you can’t tell. It’s quite a dilemma, isn’t it?
During our poll last week, we asked a few questions on the topic. One respondent stated, when asked what the most difficult truth they ever had to tell was, “That their (a friends) father had committed suicide. Only a very few of us knew the truth and I never knew if there was value in sharing that information.”
Another said, “The company was bankrupt, their investment was lost and it was due to my error. The outcome was (that) their trust in me increased and another business venue took place.”
Those are some pretty tough choices to make and take some steel nerves to follow through with. Wouldn’t you agree? Telling the truth can be one of the hardest things a person does. It’s silly to lie about petty things (in my opinion) like why you were late or if you broke your moms favorite glass. In those instances, the lie is selfish. We don’t want to suffer consequences. But the aforementioned are a bit more delicate.
Then there’s the feeling of being lied to. Ever have someone look you on the eye (or more likely, not look you in the eye) and lie to your face? It’s infuriating. Especially if you’re someone who tends to be a truth teller. Another poll taker said of this subject that “I knew that my ex was seeing his ex and seeing me at the same time. I couldn’t really confront him because I was married (although going through a divorce) at the time, so I didn’t really feel like I had room to talk. He knew I knew. No words were needed. It was never discussed. Eventually the relationship dwindled off. I got my divorce. I moved on. I think they are still together but who knows. And who knows who he’s seeing now besides her. I have no sympathy though. She knew exactly what she was getting.” Yikes!
What really sticks out to me about that story is the line “who knows who he’s seeing now besides her”. See, once you’ve deceived someone, it takes forever, if ever, to regain their trust. This is why it never made sense to me why someone would lie. The covering up. The severed relationships. The never being taken seriously. I’m pretty sure a staggering percentage of the population has told a lie at some point in their life. It’s the BIG lie tellers and repeat offenders that I am wary of. The ones that begin to believe the tales they tell.
Where do you stand on the whole lying issue? Do you feel there’s a time it’s ok? Would you ever be able to trust someone again if they lied to you? Are you, yourself, a truthful person? I’ll end with my motto: if you want to be trusted, be trustworthy. (I know, Earth shattering).