Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Transparent Lies

I have a distinct aversion to liars. All of us lie, but I have never been much for straying from the truth myself. And what I find especially irksome are lies told on the fly with obvious flaws.

I called my mother-in-law to tell her that the weather was too bad to travel, insisting that she should stay home for her safety. Her reply was, “Oh, thanks for thinking of me, but I’m already on my way.” I said, “Really? Because I dialed your land line, not your cell phone,” using my most accusatory tone. She was forced to admit that she had not really left, but was intending to despite my warnings. I suppose that the real offence is that that sort of lie insults my intelligence. As if I would not be able to discern the lie because I could not see her. Come on. And what a stupid thing to lie about!

My boss reprimanded me for logging more hours than we are allotted one week. Well, we generally close at noon on Fridays, and that keeps us all under 38 hours in most cases. One Friday, I was called to another department to care for duties of an absent employee. When noon rolled around, I asked the supervisor whether I should leave or stay to finish the duties. She phoned my boss and obtained permission for me to stay long enough to finish. Well, I finished before I hit 40 hours, so the company did not have to pay out any overtime. However, when my boss was called out in a manager meeting about one of her girls exceeding 38 hours, she caved in. She boldly approached me and reminded me about our policy. I explained that I was under the impression that I did so with her approval. She denied it. I tried to stop her before she went farther, “I was there when Jennifer called you for permission.” But she persisted in trying to sell the lie as truth, insisting that she would never have gone against policy. I decided it best not to pursue it, but I was furious that she would not only lie, but swear it was the truth—even with eyewitnesses against her. Then again, on a subsequent Friday, I was told to be sure to clock out by noon since I was “way over on my time for the week!” I asked how that could be since I had not worked on Monday. That is when her story changed, “Oh, I mean that the timeclock software is all going to be upgraded this afternoon, so we all have to clock out by noon.” Well, then, why was she trying to make it out as if I had done something wrong? Some people just have to be called to the carpet before they will back off.

I have a friend that is well qualified for a managerial position where I work, so I encouraged him to apply. He applied online, but questioned whether his submission was successful or not because he did not receive a confirmation. So, I shot off an email to Gina in Human Resources. She replied that the position was filled 3 weeks ago. Well, I doubt that very much, since that manager would have frequent dealings with the people in my department and these past 3 weeks have not seen any new faces. And, then I have to wonder why the position is still posted on the website after all this time.

Why do people tell such transparent lies? If you don’t believe the lie, how can you convince me of it?

Have you ever seen someone’s eyes get all squinty and shifty when they’re obviously lying? I’ve only seen two people do this in my life. The sneaky, guilty expression gives the truth away, even if their version of the story is air-tight and iron-clad. The first time someone did that in front of me, for a split second, I was sure I would slap the expression right off his face! Some people lie so much that even when they tell the truth, it sounds like hustle.

It is amazing how little need there is for lying when you just do right. It really makes life easy. More people should try honesty. Honesty will naturally come with a sincere facial expression and believable tone.


  1. I hope you publish a post on when lying may be the right thing. Are all lies wrong? Are statements that are not true necessarily lies?

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  2. Certainly, there are innocent lies that are also transparent. An example might be "you look great in those MC Hammer pants." Most people lie to get out of an uncomfortable situation and it is definitely a common human failing. But I think that honesty is the best policy. You can always refrain from replying at all if a lie is the only appropriate answer. And if you're going to make a practice out of lying, at least be good at it!


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