Growing up, we’re told of the big three no-no’s: lying, cheating, and stealing. All that deliciously awful stuff is reserved for the worst of the worst in society. ”Don’t you dare look at them Johnny, they’re one of those. Second chances? Forget it. They stand no chance to make it.”
Teachers and parents make it a point to instill in us there’s no place in society for any of that, and guess what – they’re right! We can all agree that the big L C S (no this isn’t a ghetto acronym) – lying, cheating, and stealing – have really no place in this world. In fact, fuck the people who do any or all of them consistently.
But as much as we show absolutely no mercy for these people, there is one area where we tend to fall short and actually fall into this category of misfits:
Boy we love to lie. In fact, we do it once or twice a day on average. ”Say it ain’t so bro. I’m as clean as a whistle. I never let people down, I’m not a conman, and I pride myself on keeping it real.”
True, playa. You’re probably right, and simultaneously probably wondering why I’m sitting here like a schmuck calling you a liar, when for the most part you sometimes “bend the truth”.
Ohhh, bend the truth. Kind of like calling used cars “pre-owned”. Or calling a fast-food worker “fast-casual food architect”.
If it’s any comfort, none of us are immune from lying, cheating, and stealing. I’m going to go ahead and wager that just about 100% of us have done all three (hopefully not at the same time) at some point in our lives, and we’re probably slightly ashamed for it.
But what I’m talking about it is one area where we kind of consistently keep doing it.
We love to tell white lies.
A lot of us, including me, would argue that white lies don’t amount to much, and sometimes a necessary evil in today’s fast-paced and judging society. I mean are you really going to tell your friend you didn’t want to go out to celebrate their birthday because you’d rather sit partially naked at home watching re-runs of Seinfeld?
You technically should, but I get it if you don’t. You aren’t about ruffling feathers all the time. And no shame in your game — Seinfeld is one pretty fucking awesome show, by the way.
Instead, you’ll just say you fell asleep early, your car got a flat tire, you feel sick, you got food poisoning, or your leg got gangrene because you sat on it for too long earlier in the day.
Here’s the deal: that’s ok. In other words, lying can be OK.
Wait, what? How can you say that Adam? Here’s why.
When Lying Is OK
Lying needs to satisfy two main criteria for it to be considered an OK alternative to telling the harsh truth.
- It needs to not affect the outcome of any given situation, and
- It needs to be a better alternative to the truth.
These are not mutually exclusive. Both need to be satisfied, and both better be damn good.
Now I know that the second condition, the one about being better than the truth, is totally subjective. At least the first condition is fairly objective – it either affects the outcome or it doesn’t. If you tell a lie to gain an advantage, you’re affecting the outcome. And if you so happen to tell a lie to gain a disadvantage, you’re affecting the outcome (and losing at life so not sure why you’d do this).
Again, before I go any further, I’m totally not condoning lying in general.
But I think it’s pertinent to know that small lies, if they satisfy the above requirements, have their place.
Sometimes, shielding someone from the harsh truth, if done innocently, is just the better judgement call.
What You’re Trying To Avoid
We’ve all come across those people who describe themselves as blunt, harsh, or a ‘straight-shooter’. And every time, they always say that they don’t apologize for it. The kind who say “sorry, not sorry”.
These types of people are the exact opposite of the type I described above, and they should go fuck themselves. They are the exact reason why I say lying is OK sometimes, because you want to avoid being one of those people. There is no excuse for acting like a fool, relishing confrontation, and then pawning it off on your supposed “truthful” nature.
Generally, these straight-shooting types tend to be straight up assholes, and use their supposed bluntness as an excuse to act like an overfilled sack of tools: pick any tool from the bag, and guess what, you’ve still got a tool. They think they’re off the hook because that’s just how they are, and you can take it or leave it. Nah bro, nope. We can definitely leave it, and it still doesn’t excuse your fuckery.
There’s a reason why you think before you speak in an ideal world, and no excuse can pawn that off.
The Fork In The Road
So next time you come up against a situation that could be answered with either a white lie or the truth, take a moment to pause and decide which path you want to take when presented with a fork in the road.
Do you want to tell a good friend you can’t make their party because you care about them and their party just slightly less than you care about watching a movie that night, or do you come out and say the truth? Do you tell someone their sweater is ugly when they ask you, or do you realize that it’s a subjective answer and instead dole out a little white lie to soften the answer?
I think you know my answer, but I’ll let you decide if you wanna act like a straight-shooting badass and lay it all out. But calling someone fat, ugly, an idiot, or dumb has repercussions. If you do, maybe their response will make you think twice because you risk confrontation. I’m pretty sure anyone would be offended by some of the ways you could answer.
The truth shall set you free, but only if you have a moral compass.