Here's Why Honesty Really Is the Best Policy, as Told by Someone Who Loves Telling White Lies
We've all heard it time and time again—honesty is the best policy.
In fact, we've heard it so many times that it has almost lost its meaning. Okay sure, we should tell the truth, sounds like a no-brainer right? But when lying feels like the easier option, it's hard to remember why telling the truth is so important.
(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)
Personally, I lie all the time. I don't lie about big things, but I find that I am constantly telling white lies, even when I really don't need to. I've found myself lying to spare a friend's feelings, to make a situation more comfortable for myself, and sometimes simply because I don't think before I speak and I let a lie slip.
Recently, however, I've started to put some real thought into how my penchant for lying affects my life and relationships. Even though my lies are not life-altering or particularly disastrous, they've still put me in a few sticky situations. I've hurt people's feelings, and more than once I've put myself into an endless cycle where I have to continue lying to cover up my original lie.
When I think about it, lying hasn't added anything positive to my life. In fact, it's created drama where no drama needed to exist.
All of this has brought me to the conclusion that telling the truth really is the way to go. Not convinced? Scroll below for a few of my most shameful lies that are sure to convince you that honesty is the best policy.
I Lied to Spare a Friend's Feelings
One of the many times that my lies got me in trouble actually started with a very pure intention. I had been invited to a friend's birthday dinner, and one of my close friends *Emily, did not get an invite. Many of our mutual friends were going, but Emily was not very close with the birthday girl, so it made sense that she wouldn't receive an invitation.
On the night of the actual dinner, however, I received a text from Emily asking me to hang out. I was nervous for Emily's reaction about not being invited to the dinner and I really didn't want to hurt her feelings, so I told her that I had to finish up on school work that night and wouldn't be able to come over. A small lie, but it seemed okay considering the circumstances. As I'm sitting at dinner with a huge table of people, however, none other than Emily walks through the door. She was backed by her parents and excited to have a nice family dinner, and instead she was met with a table full of her friends hanging out without her. Needless to say, she was very hurt and angry with me for a few days. Even though our friendship recovered, I'm not sure she ever fully trusted me again.
The most irritating thing about this situation was that I could have saved Emily a lot of hurt by just telling the truth. Emily wasn't close with the birthday girl and although it might have been hurtful to know that she wasn't included in our plans, she probably would've understood. By being caught in my lie, however, I made Emily feel much worse because it seemed like we just didn't want to invite her. Beyond that, lying also compromised her trust in our friendship.
When telling a lie, even when you're trying to protect someone's feelings, it's likely that the truth will come out eventually. It's better to be honest and cause a little bit of hurt at the beginning rather than trapping yourself in a lie that will cause a lot more pain when the truth surfaces.
I Lied in a Job Interview
One of the most embarrassing lies I've ever told actually happened during a job interview (aka the worst time to tell a lie). For this story, we journey back to my high school days when I was struggling to get a part-time job. I applied at a few different places and was eventually invited to participate in a group interview at a movie theater.
The interviewer was a very kind woman who started off by telling the eight candidates in the room about her background, including that she'd been working at that theater for more than 20 years. Then, she went around the room and asked all of us why we would like to work at the theater. When it was my turn to talk I quickly stated my rehearsed answer: that I had friends who worked at movie theaters in the past and really enjoyed it, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for a first job. Not bad, right? Well, just wait.
Being the sociable and kind woman she was, the interviewer asked if I had friends who worked at that theater specifically. Now, let me just preface this by saying this was my first job interview ever. I didn't have any practice at interviewing and I was incredibly nervous. I don't know if it was the nerves that got to me, or if I just loved lying so much that I decided to sabotage myself, but for some odd reason I said yes, which was definitely not true.
But the horror doesn't stop there. Because she'd been working at the theater for 20 years, she asked me the names of my completely fabricated friends because she probably knew them. At this point, I was in total panic mode, so I just rattled off a few generic sounding names and hoped that one of them would stick. It's safe to say that she definitely didn't believe me, and I was not surprised when I didn't get the job.
Moral of the story: Lies are not only hurtful for other people, but they can lead to a lot of embarrassment for you. To this day I have no idea why I lied about that, but it is a constant black mark on an otherwise decent interview record.
Being caught in a lie is embarrassing, so it's better to save yourself the hassle and just tell the truth.
I Lied About a Friend's Boyfriend
Another instance where I created trouble for myself by lying occurred when one of my good friends got into a new relationship. Since she was in the typical lovey-dovey stages that mark the beginning of a new romance and she was spending a lot of time with her new boyfriend. I had no problem with her S.O., and I was excited that she was so happy, but all the time she was spending with him meant that she was spending much less time with me.
Because she's a great friend, she asked me if all their time spent together bothered me. Instead of simply telling her that I was feeling a little forgotten, I lied and said that it didn't bother me at all. I was worried that if I told the truth she would get angry with me, assume that I didn't like her boyfriend or accuse me of not wanting her to be happy. None of that was true, so I took the coward's way out and avoided a difficult conversation by telling a lie.
However, my inability to tell the truth totally backfired on me. Because she had no idea that I was feeling upset about our lack of time together, she didn't change her behavior. I grew angrier and angrier that she wasn't making time for me and eventually we stopped spending time together at all. This rift between us lasted for months. Eventually we were able to talk through it and fix things, but I lost one of my best friends for a good chunk of time because of a stupid lie.
If you aren't able to be honest with people, you only have yourself to blame when things don't go your way. I was angry with my friend, but I should have been angry with myself for not being willing to tell her the truth.
Telling the truth means that your position is out in the open and you are more likely to get what you want. Lying, on the other hand, doesn't give people a chance to fix the problem. Lying will only makes things worse, but being honest is much more likely to result in a happy ending.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
If you find yourself feeling guilty about recent lies you've told, click HERE to see what a life coach has to say about overcoming guilt and worry.