Saturday, January 3, 2015

What if I Couldn't Tell Lies?

I was once reading this "Would You Rather?" book that asked if you would rather not be able to keep a secret or not be able to tell a lie. I knew right away that I'd rather not be able to tell a lie because not being able to keep a secret just sounded so much worse. If I couldn't keep a secret, my friends couldn't share intimate things with me and I couldn't be trusted anymore. My desire to choose not telling lies was mainly based on how bad I imagined it would be to not keep peoples' secrets.

But recently I've been thinking that maybe it would actually be nice to not be able to tell lies, just for its own sake. I mean, sure, there would be extreme cases where this would be a horrible idea, like if someone was hiding from a murderer and I had to lie about their location. But in normal, day-today interactions, I would really love it if I just didn't have the ability to lie. Even with simple things like, "I'm good, how are you?" when I'm not good - I hate it when I say that, and I would be much happier if I were honest all the time no matter what people thought about it.

Now, you're probably thinking that I would lose friends and everyone would hate me if I couldn't even tell white lies, but I really think that it would work just fine for me, and that anyone who didn't want to be my friend because I was honest all the time is probably not someone I should be friends with anyway. This trait would filter people out earlier on so that I wouldn't get betrayed later. I don't want to be betrayed anymore.

As for the question of "Won't you be hurting a lot of people's feelings?" the answer is to that is no. First of all, not being able to lie doesn't mean that you have to verbalize every single thought that comes to mind. If you think someone's new haircut doesn't look good, you don't have to lie about it necessarily - you can just not say anything about it. And when someone asks you if you like something, you can usually come up with something nice to say that doesn't tell a lie. Like, you can say that something really suits a person's style, even if it's not something that you personally like. If you don't like a present, you can still thank the person and say, "It was really nice of you to think of me!" or something like that that puts the emphasis on the thought rather than the gift itself. I think I can handle most of those situations without actually lying if I need to.

As for other situations, where I have to make excuses for things, I would be much happier to just be honest and not have to make fake excuses. Much happier. Because most of the time, even if I'm worried I'm going to hurt someone's feelings, it doesn't have much to do with them individually. For instance, most of the time when I'm stuck swallowing down food I hate just to be polite,  I just don't like that particular kind of food, but there is nothing wrong with the way that the person prepared it, or anything that they did. Most of the time when I don't want to do a particular activity, it is the activity that I don't want to do, and it does not have much to do with the person who invited me. I also may not go because I don't feel like being social, which again, has nothing to do with the individual person who invited me to be social. If I don't want to sleep over at someone's house or I don't want them to sleep over at my house, it is usually because I don't like to sleep away from home or I don't feel like hosting someone overnight, which is again, not anything related to the individual person. And if it WAS related to the individual, I would really, really like to be honest with them and say, "I don't want to come to your party because you make me feel bad about myself." I regret every single time that I didn't say that. Another thing I've ALWAYS wanted to say matter-of-factly is, "Nope, I never had any intentions of doing that. I just said it to be polite because you asked me in front of your grandparents." Of course, in this world I wouldn't have lied in the first place, but still. Not being able to make fake excuses would mean I'd have to stand up for myself and say that I was not doing what someone wanted me to do, and they would either have to accept that or buzz off.

I'm just wondering what college would have been like if I couldn't tell lies. Or my high school years. Or the three years with my boyfriend and his family and friends, which wouldn't have been three years.  Not being able to tell lies would be difficult, but I could work around the rough spots. I would only draw in people who were really okay with everything.

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