Everybody lies, except me. Except I just lied by saying I don’t lie. The truth is I very seldom lie. Except when I do, but I almost never do. Funny how most of us will say that we sin but we won’t say that we lie.
Did you trust me more or less because I admitted to an occasional fib? Did you trust me a bit more when I started a sentence with the “The truth is…?” Everybody lies (except me and perhaps you). But what about those people that go beyond the “white” lie from time to time? The ones that tell so many tales that you no longer even try to see beyond the lies.
A little more than a year ago I met a lady we became friends. As we got to know one another we socialized fairly frequently. One evening, she and her husband invited me over to dinner at their home. I appreciated all her hard work as it was clear that she wanted everything to be perfect. The table was set with linens and a full array of cutlery. Honestly, it was over the top and I kind of felt like I was being tested to see if I knew the difference in a salad and a dessert fork. Over dinner she told me about Kevin’s (her husband) important and sophisticated career. She was clearly very proud of him and he was quiet and humble. In regards to herself she talked about her past work with various kinds of animals and seemed proud of her work as well.
A few weeks later we were both at a social gathering of just women and she told the group about her past career. The career she told us about required specialized skill and had nothing to do with animals. She told us that she worked for the same company as Kevin. It struck me as odd since neither she nor Kevin had not mentioned it previously when I was at their home for dinner and she had shared about her husband’s career or her work with animals. A few days later I asked about the training she needed for her job and she very skillfully avoided the question, then said, “Don’t ever ask about my work in front of Kevin (not his real name) he is old fashioned and didn’t want me to work out of the home. Hadn’t she talked at length about their careers during the past dinner with Kevin sitting right there? I mentioned her work with animals and she once again went into a very lengthy explanation but never got around to explaining why Kevin didn’t mind her work with animals but had issues with her career in a highly skilled technical field.
When we got to know one another a little more she would tell me parts of stories and then not finish stating that she had promised Kevin she wouldn’t tell anyone. It felt she wanted me to beg for information. My thought was, “then why did you bring it up?” Instead, I responded, “Please don’t tell me anything you don’t want to tell. As a matter of fact, if it is that confidential I would rather not know.” I thought that would end it. Wrong.
She would go over how Kevin would be so upset if he knew she had even told me as much as she already had. I started thinking my friend was starved for attention and rather dramatic. Not that Kevin can’t have two (or more) sides to his personality, but he is always calm and almost meek in my observation.
I think my friend is struggling to feel significant and the lies are now getting bigger and the drama meter is at the red line. It makes me sad because I think we could be close friends if it were not for the theatrics.
It leads me to think about the lies, half truths and intentional omissions of people in positions of authority. Is it reaching a pandemic level or am I just finally seeing the truth? Probably a little of both. The digital age is the perfect storm for rumors, lies and fake news. So what can we do?
When we take in new information it is processed by the part of our brain called the hippocampus. But after we think about it and decide to believe it, it is stored in the cerebral cortex. Once we believe it isn’t easy to make us change our minds. Take a look.
No one likes fake news or having people we want to trust tell us lies, but it happens, it happens a lot. I have decided to take a Facebook break. Investigate in depth news that seems a little off and even dig deeper into the news that I think is true. After all, facts are only facts until they are proven wrong. I need to do that in order to make the most informed decisions that I can. I can’t be passive about everything I hear, read or watch. In regards to my friend that is wearing the flaming pants, I am going to make a habit of cutting the conversations a little short when she turns on the drama. That might require a lie once in awhile. I am not promoting lying but I think calling her out on her lies would not be to her benefit and I am tiring of hearing half stories.
Feedback and comments are always welcome. Things are opening back up and we won’t all respond to that in the same way, however, kindness is a choice even when we disagree. Choose kindness. In the words of Cat Stevens, “Oh baby. baby, it’s a wild world!” Take Care my friends.
Photos provided by Elijah O’Donnell and Annie Sprat