I have a confession to make. One that I suspect will shock very few of our readers. I am a liar. I am a lying liar to who lies.
No, I’m not confessing to any particular lie. As far as I can recall I’m not currently obscuring any lies from any of you… Okay, okay, Bridget, if you’re reading this: Remember how all of our bread disappeared that one time and I told you that there was a leprechaun who appeared in the dead of night and forced me to make him grilled cheeses? Yeah… that never happened. I was just going through a grillie phase. Wow! I feel better now!
Anyway, I know that Bridget will understand about my lying because Bridget is also a liar. Once again, I’m not accusing her of any particular lie. I just lived with Bridget long enough to know that, like me, she has a natural tendency towards dishonesty. Also, like me, she’s damn good at it.
Here’s what you all may not know, assuming you, gentle reader, are not a liar: it’s a serious hindrance to be a good liar. Take Cammy, for example—she’s a horrible liar. Trust me, I’ve seen her try. As a result, she knows she needs to be honest (more or less) because if she tries to lie she’ll get caught. Her decisions are made for her. Me? I have a lot more options in how to handle any given situation, and the easiest option is often to lie. Except then I have to remember what lie I told to who and it just ends up being a big hassle.
How good am I at this whole lying thing? As a child my mother was once trying to get the truth out of me and she did the whole “look me in the eyes and say that” thing. Which I did, no problem. She scrutinized my face for a moment before saying, “You know, with your brother and sister I can always tell when they’re lying. I can’t tell with you.” (Side note: Mom, why would you tell me that? I didn’t need encouragement!)
I’d say something about how I try not to lie, but that would be a lie. The problem is I’m not really bothered by lying. That whole honesty is the best policy thing… I just don’t know I can be that absolute about it. Because sometimes a lie can prevent hurt feelings, conflicts, etc. And without causing any harm.
On the other hand, there are douchy liars. I recently learned that someone I knew in passing had created a whole fictional life for herself. I’m not authorized to go into detail, but the long and the short of it were that her lies wound up causing pain to some people I care about. When I heard the whole story I had two thoughts 1) I would never do something like that 2) I wouldn’t get caught.
Most of the time my lies are completely pointless. I make up boyfriends from time to time. I used to lie to customers at my place of employment about where I was from, what I did when I wasn’t at work. Because lying is a skill like anything else and you have practice in order to say skillful.
With that in mind I would like to propose a framework for ethical lying. One should never lie to hurt someone else. I’m not big fan of lying for personal profit, unless you’re in sales and it’s your job. But it’s far from the worst thing in the world to lie to make someone feel better or to smooth things over or to get out of trouble (as long as you’re not pinning that blame on someone else). But you might want to keep a list somewhere so that you can keep track of them all.