Volume 3, Number 8
Once, Twice, Three Times a Liar...
By Fiona Jane
To lie, as defined by the dictionary, is to tell a deliberate falsehood; a thing that deceives. To me, that sounds too malicious. I much prefer the other definition of lie, that is, to be or be kept or remain in a specific state eg. the road lies open.
The width and breadth of lies is enormous. You start off with the innocent(!) little lies "Of course, you're the best sweetheart" and gradually move up to "Yeah, I think it's one of these bugs that has been going around. I'm sure I'll be back at work tomorrow". Still not hurting anyone, but certainly not the total truth. When you reach the monster lie stage, you're up to the "No, no, she's never killed anyone else's pet before; she's usually such a placid cat" or ""I hear he sleeps with anything that moves and treats them like shit" (despite the fact that you've never even seen him kiss a girl).
When I lie, it's not normally to hurt someone, rather to prevent that happening. Protecting a friend from a truth they may not want to hear can often call for a lie, a little white lie or a massive load of crap, it doesn't matter as long as you keep them in a specific state; unhurt.
We lie to change the truth, make a new truth and have things the way that suits us and suits others around us.
Lying about the past is probably the most common kind of lie. At my cousin's engagement party, I found myself telling a story about my school. Most of it was true, but there were certainly embellishments there that were based completely in fantasy. Sure, it was the way that I'd wanted everything to be, but to be truthful, the real story was far less exciting.
If you want to see heaps of people lying about the present, just go to a school reunion. It's miraculous how the company secretary becomes the CEO when she's talking to her old classmates, and how the guy who never made it with anyone is suddenly scoring left, right and centre.
Lying about the future that you see for yourselves and others is common in relationships. "Sure honey, I see us together when we're old and playing with the grandkids". STOP. Draw the truth out and it's probably more like "Sure honey, I see us being together for a little while, but really you're not the kind of person I want to marry and I sure can't see us spending the rest of our lives together".
Telling lies though, is not a smart thing to do, even when it's the nice thing to do. Ever told a lie and absolutely crucified yourself for it? Lying in bed repeating the scene in your head cringing each times the words come out of your mouth has to be one of the worst ways to spend time.
My friend Claire once told a huge lie about me and then had the hide to ring me up a) to apologise before I found out and b) ask me to back her up on it. Yeah right. I don't know why she did it, she said she didn't know why she said it, "it just came out".
What had happened was, she was in the female toilets at a nightclub when she heard two girls (that I cannot STAND) bitching about me. She listened for a while and then (for what reason, I'll never know) decided to jump in the deep end with them. She told them that she was a really close friend of mine - true, but that she totally believed what they were saying because I'd done it to her too - totally untrue.
The stupid thing was that it was all about being with other people's boyfriends and I'd never done anything to deserve it. It was just lies.
It's hard to fight malicious lies like that at anytime, let alone when one of your best friends is backing up other peoples lies with her own and then wanting me to pass them off as the truth. I guess ironically, she just didn't want to look like a liar.