Life’s Little Lies

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled programming to bring you the following public service announcement: Being skinny is not all it’s cracked up to be

I rarely make it through the day without people commenting on how small I am, usually followed by a deeply concerned look and insistence that I should eat more.  Clearly, these people have not seen me eat.  When Brad is present for these encounters, he loves to tell people that I eat as much (if not) more than he does.  This doesn’t help. 

I am thin.  I really can’t help it.  I have a small frame to begin with.  Add to that the two-a-day workouts I’ve been doing for several months, and you’d be thin, too.  Period.

The problem is that people seem to think being thin will make life easier.  “If I could just lose 10 pounds, I’d be able to wear whatever I wanted.  Shopping must be so great for you.”  Well, it’s not.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought the same thing 20 pounds ago, but I was drop dead wrong.  Still, nothing fits.  Pants fall into two camps: (1) so big that they won’t stay up; or (2) so small that they won’t fit over my calves, much less my quads.  All my skirts and suits require a trip to the tailor, which raises clothing costs about 30%.  And, because most stores only bring in a handful of XS shirts, I have to settle for whatever I’m lucky enough to find in my size.  Oh, and, forget about getting any sympathy from the saleswomen!  Instead, I get a sarcastic, “Boo-hoo, it must be soooo hard to be thin.” 

So, I’ve concluded that society’s belief that thinner is always better is one of life’s little lies.

This got me thinking about lies. 

I’ve often heard people say there are four different types of lies.  Having now thoroughly researched this issue, I can tell you that there are many, many more.  There are bald-faced lies, lying by omission, lies-to-children, white lies, emergency lies, bluffing, careful speaking, and jocose lies (a.k.a. sarcasm) — just to name a few.

During my research, I also became very disturbed by the definition of lie: “a type of deception with the intent to deceive others, often with the further intent to protect someone’s feelings.” 

Seriously?  Have we accepted lying as a way to protect someone’s feelings?   “Surely, this can’t be.  Maybe I need a new dictionary,” I thought.  Alas, same result.

I can handle a LOT, and I’m much tougher than people give me credit for.  But, lying is the one thing I simply can’t tolerate or understand, especially when done under the guise of protecting someone.  If you know you must lie about something to spare someone’s feelings, why do it in the first place?  If you can’t trust your friend or spouse with the truth, why stick around?  Besides, isn’t lying exhausting?  Once you start, you have to tell lies on top of lies just to keep the story together.  Who has time for that?

About halfway through this downward spiral, I had to step back and admit that, on some level, we all lie.  We tell people we are “fine,” when we are not.  We say “it’s okay,” when really we are crushed.  We don’t tell a friend that we think her beau is a creep because we’re so glad to see her happy.  I’m not convinced this makes it OK, but it does level the playing field.

So, I’m trying something new and opening this up for debate.  Is it OK to lie to protect someone’s feelings?  Why (or why not)?  How do you decide when?

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About Beth

Wife, daughter, big sis, aunt, friend, attorney, runner, cyclist, amateur chef & aspiring photographer. Thanks for keeping up with my life on the run!
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6 Responses to Life’s Little Lies

  1. Brad says:

    You just need to look on the bright side with clothing: You look great naked!

    • Beth says:

      I can always count on you to bring up the nudity! This would be a bright side if I could actually go places naked. Think the new job would frown on that?

  2. Meagan says:

    You two are way too cute.

  3. Hillary says:

    Maybe you guys should move to Colorado so you can garden topless?

    Ok, seriously in response to your questions. I don’t think it’s “okay” to lie to protect someone’s feelings. Lying is wrong, but protecting someone’s feelings is the reason we give to side step the moral obligations of not being honest.

    But I think the gray area “lies” in stating a different “opinion” or “puffing.” I think stating a more fluffy opinion of someone or something than you truly feel is not out right lying. Plus let’s face it, everyone’s different perspectives will allow them to fancifully side step around their opinions and puff up an opinion to not hurt someone’s feelings. But stating a false fact is out right lying and there is no gray area here.

    • Beth says:

      Nice double entendre with the lies. 😉

      I agree on the puffing. There certainly are situations where the truth might hurt someone’s feelings unnecessarily (like a bad haircut?). I can even understand situations where you re-tell a story in a better light because, frankly, you’d like to remember it being better than it was.

      I think the even bigger gray area is the lie-by-omission. As my fellow attorneys know, we are masterminds at avoiding disclosures by fancifully answering only the question asked (or at crafting questions to elicit only the answer we want). I think that any time you blatantly withhold information that you know would matter to another person, it rises to the level of a lie. But, who knows, maybe there are even exceptions there. Deciding where the line is in these situations could be debated for a lifetime…

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