Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

If you search for tenderness
it isn't hard to find.
You can have the love you need to live.
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind.
It always seems to be so hard to give.

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.
('Honesty' - Billy Joel)

When is it ok to lie? Are there special circumstances in which lying is acceptable? These were some questions that came to mind after I discovered someone close to me had told me a bare-faced lie.

Of course, there is a thin line between LYING and being diplomatic, polite, kind, or whatever we choose to call it when we say things like "You look great!" when we know someone looks terrible, or "It will be ok" when we know it won't, or "No, that outfit doesn't make you look fat" when in fact, a tight top creates sausages on a friend's tummy, or when we smile and say, "I'm alright" when we want to scream out of sheer frustration.

What happens, for instance, when you tell a lie to "save" a situation or a relationship? Should we confess to our sins and hurt people, or lie and give them peace, quoting the adage, "ignorance is bliss"? What about our past? Do we 'fess all or edit and censor shamelessly? When is "honesty is the best policy"?

On the flip side, what if we decide upon the amount of information we give to near and dear ones, but unfortunately cannot prevent them from discovering the truth from some other source one day? Then, of course, we risk losing their trust forever. So, should we plunge in and bare all, knowing full well the consequences - which could be, and often are ugly - or, do we keep our lips zipped and cross our fingers, hoping they will never find out the truth? How honest should we be? Is there such a thing as being half-honest, partly honest, and how different is a white lie from a black lie? How honest should we be to the ones we love? Honestly, I don't know.