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I think that every time we lie, we are basically putting up a small barrier from them. When it is someone we don't know or care that much about, it's not a big deal since it won't accumulate because you don't interact with them often. For example, you don't need to tell every overweight passerby you meet in the mall that they should adopt a healthier lifestyle. But the next time you lie (or omit the truth) to your spouse or a close friend about something, take a moment to see what it costs you. Do you feel some guilt or annoyance? All of that adds over time and creates barriers in your relationship. That exchange between the wife and husband is a poor example of truth because what the husband responds with is not truth but sarcasm. Perhaps instead of asking about the "payoff" the husband could do one of 2 productive but truthful things: 1. Figure out why he is so unwilling to listen to her and explain that. "I had a tough day and it's hard for me to focus on your story" 2. Explain that he doesn't see why she is telling him the story and ask her what the importance of the story is. You might be thinking… what if she just likes telling stories that have no real purpose… Well, if you were truthful to her the first time this happened and told her that you don't really enjoy listening to stories without points, she probably would have learned not to share unimportant stories, or be more aware of what she is trying to communicate so that the act of sharing can be enjoyed by both sides. I think this is the real problem with absolute truth: it only works in a world where most people tell themselves and each other the truth all the time. Someone who has bad teeth wouldn't be offended by you telling them that they have bad teeth if they are honest to themselves about it and their closest friends are honest as well. It's the same thing with calling someone fat. It's only bad in a society that judges beauty and character so harshly just based on a person's weight. I believe that my spouse and I have a 100% truthful relationship. If I wear something that he doesn't like, he tells me that he doesn't like it so that in the future if I'm picking out something that I want to wow him with, I have data to help me. And the best part is that when he says I'm beautiful or I look really fit recently or he's really impressed with the way I handled something, I know it is 100% true, without compromise. That is a wonderful feeling.
Commented May 2, 2012 on
Trust Me, I'm Lying
Trust Me, I'm Lying
We reflexively instruct our children to always tell the truth. It's even encoded into Boy Scout Law. It's what adults do, isn't it? But do we? Isn't telling the truth too much and too often a bad life strategy – perhaps even dangerous? Is telling children to always tell the truth even itself th...
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