Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lies! All Lies!

The best way to keep one's word is not to give it.  ~Napoleon Bonaparte


I place a lot of value on honesty. that's not say that I'm a saint that's never told an untruth, but I try very hard not to. I also try hard to do the things that I say I'm going to do.

So, you can imagine that two things that really get to me are when people lie, and when people don't do what they say they're going to do.

We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.  ~Tad Williams

Being  a mother, teacher and someone who reads people fairly well, I can spot a lie pretty easily. My kids learned early on that it probably wasn't worth telling me a lie, as they tended to get caught out fairly quickly. There's not really much that makes me more angry than someone who disrespects me/themselves so much that they feel they have to lie.
Now, I know there are times when we 'have' to lie. The whole Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing comes to mind. I guess I could have told them right from the start that it was all a concoction, but I didn't want to be the party killer in that respect. And I didn't want them to be the only kid in the class that didn't believe (and spoiled it for everyone else). I'm not comfortable with it, but it's one of those 'for the greater good' lies; like telling your friend their butt doesn't really look good in those jeans, or your kids that you really did like their char-grilled toast.

Apart from that, we've tried hard not to lie to our kids. It's led to some pretty hairy conversations over the years, but at least we can look back and say 'we didn't lie'.
I guess part of it that I've never been very good at telling lies myself. My dad could always spot me in a lie (perhaps it's a Sagittarius thing?) , and I guess I lost confidence in my abilities pretty quick. These days I try not to tell lies, because I know sooner or later I'll stuff it up. It means that I occasionally upset people - the whole truth thing plus my propensity to talk first, think later, is probably not the optimum combination for keeping people happy - but in the long run it's better.

But I'm surprised at how many people think it's OK to lie to me. Sometimes people that are close to me. I always know, either straight away from their body language, or later because they forget some aspect of it and stuff up. 

I don't call them on it. Perhaps I should, but you know me, don't want to rock the boat. It pisses me off though. Especially when they're standing in front of me telling me a bald-faced lie that I know is absolute rubbish. Each time they do that, I lose a little bit more respect for them.

Promises are like the full moon, if they are not kept at once they diminish day by day. ~German Proverb

And then there's the lying by omission. The other thing that gets to me is people that say they are going to do something, then don't.
Now, of course I don't think that everyone should be running around doing things for me, and I know that sometimes things come up that get in the way of what we've promised. But once again, it all comes down to respect. 

If I have told someone I'll do something and something gets in the way (I don't want to any more, someone gets sick, I can't afford it etc), I feel like the least I can do is tell them. I don't always tell them why, but I try very hard to let them know that it's not going to happen.

Because it really pisses me off when people promise something, and don't deliver, but don't let you know.

One example I can think of, a few years ago we had a New Year's Eve party. I know now this is dangerous territory, as everyone has lost of invitations on New Year's Eve. Anyway, I talked to a lot of people about it, and invited a lot of people, most of whom said they'd come, or at least 'drop in for a while'. So on that basis I bought a heap of grog, food and decorations. I even forked out $400 to hire some pinball machines and a pool table for the night.

Less than 10 people showed up over the entire night. Now I know you probably think it's silly for me to mention this several years later, but it's a good example of what I'm talking about. Of the 30-odd other people who told me they'd come, only 1 or 2 bothered to call and say they couldn't make it. If they'd all called, then perhaps it wouldn't have gotten to me so much.

I get so sick of it, because it does happen a lot. How hard is it to call (or send a quick text message) to say 'I'm sorry, something's come up'?

Like I said, I think it's all about respect. What do you guys think? Do you take the time to call text? Can you pick a lie at 30 paces? Am I overreacting (apart from the NYE party thing, I know I am there!)

"Liar, Liar, Pants for Hire" - Oliver

2 comments:

  1. i think there is a reason why we have been friends for such a long time, even if we aren't always in each others orbit... we are very similar in our thought processes. nothing pisses me off more when people say they are going to do something, and they don't.

    makes my blood boil!

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  2. Mel's Dad/Sam and Oliver's GrandadJune 14, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    IF YOU TELL THE TRUTH, YOU DON'T HAVE TO REMEMBER ANYTHING!! Someone said this to me years ago, and it's true! The more people try to cover up their answers, the deeper is the hole they dig for themselves.
    Don't take any shit from anyone, my girl.
    Luv, Dad

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