"You look great!"
Lies, damned lies, and your relationship.
"Little white lies" are anything but and every lie is a threat to your relationships, whether they be with friends, family or business associates.
Big lies, little lies, white lies, not-so-white lies. Every lie is a damned lie because every lie breaches trust.
Let's take a very small thing and start with a common enough justification for the infamous “little white lie.”
Say your partner asks if those jeans make their ass look fat (or some similar question).
I’m betting you laughed a bit, or rolled your eyes. I know you reacted. Because you know, right?
It’s a trap! Except, really it’s not. Not if you know how to handle yourself, how to address the situation and how to avoid the “little white lie.” In fact, hard as it may seem to believe, this situation can lead to a bonding and trust-building experience between you and your partner.
But before we get into the happy ending, let’s look at what can happen if you choose the easy way out of this, the “little white lie” way.
You look at the jeans which hardly flatter the ass and emphatically assure, "They look awesome on you.” You know that’s not the truth.
They beam and buy the jeans. Then, as you do with new jeans, they wear them. They wear them a lot. And you don't find them flattering. They might have even been a bit of a turn-off, but you don't want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So you just live with it.
And so it begins. Every time they wear those jeans, you are consciously or otherwise reminded of your fib, and that makes you uncomfortable because you’re a good person and lying is shitty behavior. Right?
Just agree with me at this point. Trust me. I’m getting there.
In addition to knowing that you lied about how those jeans look, you’re also not as attracted to your partner in those jeans as you should be, considering you told your partner that the jeans look awesome while thinking the exact opposite. Thus, you adjust your actions accordingly.
It’s likely that your partner is not a total idiot and that somewhere deep down, they sense that something is not right. Your guilt at telling a lie, your slight lack of affection and attraction. All of the little things begin to add up.
What’s worse, is that if they eventually found out that you hated the jeans after they thought you loved them for so long, your partner would feel embarrassed, devastated, even betrayed.
I'm sure there are other effects as well, but remember, this was an easy example.
So why go through all of that, of all of the short- and long-term effects of your tiny little life when you could so easily just have spoken your truth?
“Honey, you know I love your body. I tell you all the time. And you have some very flattering jeans. These are not a pair of them.”
Defining the Relationship
Let’s talk about another time when many people are tempted to lie: Entering a new relationship, and the “talk” about expectations.
The gut-response is often to lie, to give a rote set of answers that you think the other person wants to hear, so they give (or keep giving) whatever it is you’re looking for from them.
Perhaps you once told someone, “Absolutely, I want to see where this goes and exclusively date you,” when you really wanted to see where it went while also dating others.
Were you really willing to box yourself in and give up those opportunities?
Were you really willing to make that promise and break it at the next opportunity, because you didn’t mean it, or they had no real “right” to ask that of you?
Why even take that risk when you could just as easily have said something like:
“Absolutely, I want to see where this goes and I hope we get to the point in our relationship where you and I are 100% about committing to each other monogamously.”
“Absolutely, I want to see where this goes, and I’m excited to share my polyamorous life with you.”
Sure, you might lose that person and what they mean to you. But you also maintain your authenticity and your personal power.
The upshot of what I’m saying here is that no matter how small, every lie changes the path of your relationship irrevocably. Even an apology or a "fix" only puts you back on course, it does not erase the error. It does not rebuild the trust you’ve lost. It does not give you back your honor.
Every lie does damage. No matter how big, how small, how mundane or how serious, all lies do damage to your relationships, to your sense of self, your honor and your honesty.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any situations in which you believe a lie within a relationship causes good?