No-one wants to think of themselves as a liar. We teach our children not to lie, and most functioning and normal adults don't tell lies on purpose. Being surrounded by untruths about an obese octogenarian in a red suit, however, had me thinking about the lies people often tell each other, either for right or for wrong:
1. Father Christmas
A giant red man can defy the laws of physics by travelling all over the world at the speed of light - visiting every single child - including you. He can also get into your house regardless of whether or not you have a chimney, and while he may come from the other hemisphere, he has still bought you the EXACT SAME TOY you saw in K-Mart. Wow! AND he uses the same wrapping paper that Mum keeps in the spare room. AMAZING! That's the magic of Christmas, right there.
And we continue to tell this lie to our children until they either see us wrapping presents, figure it out on their own, or get made fun of by their friends for being the only person at school that still believes. Ditto the Tooth Fairy.
2. I only look at Facebook every now and then.
Sometimes this is true. But sometimes the truth is that they go on Facebook so often they recognise the names of the people who regularly 'like' their friends' updates. They just Facebook like a stealth ninja, purposely leaving no footprint so they can continue to look cool and aloof.
3. Those bullies will regret it when you are a successful adult and they are all losers with no jobs.
My kids are too young for this, but I know it was said to me when I was young - a particular lie that Hollywood often tells as well, especially in teen movies. Sure, sometimes it's true. But, it's often not. One bully from my school is now a very successful lawyer, and others are doing perfectly well for themselves by conventional measures. Bastards. Don't they know they are supposed to be spending their days writhing around in regret for all of the mean things they ever said to me?
4. <On Facebook> Look at my lovely holiday snaps of me relaxing on the beach!
The real truth: I'm actually posting on Facebook because I am kinda bored, and I got a pedicure especially done for this pic of my feet against the white sand. I also had to make sure the photo didn't show the left side of my calf, where the mosquitoes had a feeding frenzy last night that I made worse by scratching the area with my hairbrush.
5. He'll regret breaking up with you. You'll see.
He (or she) probably won't, or else he wouldn't have broken up with you in the first place. Truly. If he also bumps into you one night dancing to I Will Survive with your friends, he's probably unlikely to regret his actions. If he's decent, he's more likely to just feel relief that you look like you're having fun rather than making a voodoo doll in his image and pushing pins into it.
6. Sorry, I'm busy that day. I'd love to come otherwise.
Sometimes that's true. But sometimes it just really means "I just don't fancy doing that". Which can put you in a bit of a pickle when pressed about what you are busy actually doing that day. Too many lies like that and you need to start recording them in your Smart Phone just to stay ahead of the lies.
Anyway, why is "I'd rather sit at home in my PJs" so hard to say? Let's start the revolution here and be honest about our true intentions.
7. I can't afford it. I'd love to come otherwise.
Again, this is often true. But, sometimes it just really means "that's not a financial priority for me", or "I think that's a big fat waste of money and you're stupid to be spending money on it"
This one does bug me - if someone were to say 'it's not my thing', I'm cool with that. But if someone complains about being poor when they aren't, I'll just wonder why they spent more on a new dress the very next week and secretly judge them about poor financial management.
8. I'm an above average driver
Did you know something like 80% think this? All I can say about that is I wouldn't like to be in the car with the other 20% ...
9. I have the flu / a migraine
Of course, something that is also often true, and when it's not, the person often doesn't know they are actually not telling the truth.
I always maintained I got migraines, and realised how wrong I was when I actually got one. Same with the flu. Ever since that I've called a headache what it really is - a headache, and a cold a cold. Which, let's face it, still suck to get, and you're not being a wuss to complain about a bad headache or cold.
10. <On Facebook> Look at this fabulous dinner I just whipped up! Nom nom nom
The truth: it took me hours, the kitchen is a mess, and why does it taste like lemons? There wasn't lemon in the recipe, I just don't understand.
Of course there are well-known psychological benefits to some of these lies, in terms of social lubricant and what-not. But, again - I'll write another blog entry on that another day. I'm too busy now - I'd write about it otherwise. I have a migraine. And I can't afford to stay online. But look at this fabulous dinner I just whipped up! Nom nom nom indeed.
Or maybe I just want to put on my PJs and do something else right now as my attention span has run out and I'm sick of blogging.
There. That felt good.