I recently watched a TED talk about How to Spot a Liar. The speaker, Pamela Meyer, says that many times we are willing participants in a lie. At first I thought she was a pessimist, but the more I thought about it there more I guess it must be true. If it is true, though, that people lie as much as she says we do, then I guess I understand why I seem to fail personality tests because "nobody is that honest". REALLY?? I beg to differ. I must be more honest than the average person, but I consider myself to have plenty of tact and I choose to use diplomacy and redirection rather than flat out white lies, but technically I guess that is lying by omission. Or whatever?? I am often just wanting to avoid hurting someone's feelings.
So it made me sad. That we lie to each other. It is part of our culture. Does it have to be? Is it true that we perpetuate this in our society and that we are often willing participants in the lie? We look the other way, so to speak, or even lie to ourselves and acknowledge the lie as truth, then why do we do this? Does it serve a purpose or does it just add to the confusion of the thread of reality that we claim to hold on to? What is important here?
Lies do not matter as much from people who don't matter as much to you so I have to examine it from the perspective of a loving and trusting relationship. That of spouses, maybe. Meyer says that spouses lie more to each other than people who are dating. WOW. Ok, lets assume that it's true. Why is this the case? I guess it depends on the people and what they are lying about.
If a lie is self-serving and to protect one from the consequences of something they have done wrong, then lying is bad. Sure, white lies are still lies, but do we want truth or do we want kindness? If the truth is not kind, and you really love a person, are you going to tell them the truth or are you going to be kind? Do we fault people for wanting to be kind? Do we fault people who tell the truth even if it hurts? We can't have it both ways.
In friendships we cannot keep friends if we are brutally honest all of the time. Nor can we keep from annoying people if we say "that's not true, you just said that to be nice" all the time. It is hard for a perceptive person such as myself to accept lies. I thought it was because I wanted honest interactions, but maybe it is OK to accept kindness too. If I have to choose, I would choose kindness from those who I know love me.