I bet most people, or at least readers of this blog, think of themselves as honest most of the time. But honesty is relative. It ranges from agreeing with everyone about everything, to not saying a word.
I Don’t Think About It
Social issues: “Fracking? I agree, we need the jobs.”
Politics: “I don’t care who the mayor of Toronto is. Re-elect Ford? Whatever!”
My Friends and I Like Trading Tall Tales
Bragging: “We upgraded to a 5-star resort this year!”
Reverse bragging: “I only paid $3 for this dress!”
I Can Live with 2 or 3 Big Lies
“I may have said I had an MBA to get my job, but I’m just as good as everyone else in the department now.”
“I won’t say I was married because it was only for 55 hours in Las Vegas.”
You Are More Important Than Me
Deference: “I’ve been waiting in line for 20 minutes, but sure, it’s OK if you go ahead of me.”
Passive-Aggressiveness: “Congrats on the new job. I’ve only applied for it 6 times.”
Only to Get Myself Out of Trouble
“No, I didn’t notice that dent in the fender – someone must have hit me in the parking lot!”
“I’m a non-smoker too” (“At least, I soon will be – I’m down to 4 a day!”)
I Need to Save Face
Says: “Oh yeah, I went through a wild phase.”
Knows: “I got drunk once in grade 9 and stayed out past 10 o’clock!”
Only to Protect Someone
To your friend’s abusive ex: “Carly and I lost touch; I don’t know what she’s up to these days.”
“You got that retro paisley shirt for only 20 bucks? What a deal – it’s fabulous on you!”
“I love your alfalfa burgers but I don’t have room for another bite!”
Only through Omission
Says to preschool director in September: “I’m sure Olivia will do great in your 4-year-olds program!”
Omits: “Despite the fact that she won’t turn 4 until March.”
“Yes, those jeans make you look fat!”
“No, I don’t want any Brussels sprouts. The last time you made me eat them, I threw up!”
As for myself?
I try not to be sickly-sweet; but I am really not a deceptive person. If I can’t say something nice, I usually opt to say something generic: “I like the colours you used!” rather than “Your painting is genius!” And I am a master of omission. Just this week I was at my Book Club, and we were discussing Americanah. The main character is a blogger. And did I tell anyone I had a blog? Nope! And in real life, I have some pretty dark secrets, but they affect other people more than me, so I feel protective and don’t share them.
I wouldn’t want to become good at lying. How would I even remember it all? I know it’s not important to be equally scrupulous in every situation, but routinely bending “truthiness” is not for me.
Where are you on the Honesty Scale?