Is there really anything more despicable in the realm of friendship than being lied to? Really?
The sly and insidious destruction of trust by those who would choose to speak a lie to “protect” something that must not have been worth protecting in the first place, at least in their eyes, is exceptionally difficult to repair.
So, why in the world would someone do it? Y’know, lie?
For safety? CYA? Which does not stand for Count Your Apples. In case you were wondering.
Do people lie out of ignorance?
I don’t understand it. I prefer to live a life that goes more along the lines of “If I can’t share my activities with everyone I know, if they should care to know or be informed? I probably shouldn’t be doing it.”
I am a WYSIWYG kinda girl.
This causes no end of confusion in the hearts and minds of girls in my life. As I’m sure you can imagine.
Two weeks ago, one of my closest friends, confessed that it took her months before she believed that I actually considered her to be a friend. Why? Because I’m not needy and she couldn’t quite believe that I meant what I said.
Her words, “I have come to understand that, with you, I know exactly where I stand all the time.” And she said it like it was surprising to have such a friend.
That comment was extremely peculiar to me. Truly. Why would I behave any differently and why would I want a friend who wouldn’t respond to me in a similar fashion?
And that’s when the 4,399th conversation with my husband echoed in my mind. The one where he reminds me that I am, in fact, not wired like most girls he has known. This is reinforced by the actions of my friend, Sheela, who now understands that I must be told when there is an issue to be discussed because I lack the motivation, ability or desire to even attempt to make an assumption of behavior based solely on gut instinct or woman’s intuition versions of that touchy-feely crap.
If I have an issue it will be discussed. If I haven’t mentioned it? It’s not relevant or it hasn’t occurred to me. Seriously.
If you haven’t mentioned it, questioned me or raised the concern?
It obviously isn’t important enough to you to be brought into the arena of reasoned dialogue and should be disregarded as there are far more important and productive issues to discuss.
I suppose it’s blatantly obvious why I have an extremely hard time making close female friends. And why I tend to gravitate to the male discussions of politics, weaponry, TEOTWAWKI, theological debate and other much more concrete discussions.
Which leads me to the headline of this piece of inelegant prose… Why we lie.
I have lied. I have been in the position where I was conniving, manipulative and highly motivated to present myself as far more than I could be given my lifestyle, life experience and world view. And it was so expensive. Spiritually, morally, relationally and ethically. In fact, it was far more costly than I have ever been able to pay.
And when that house of cards came crashing down on my poor, unsuspecting but very, deserving little head, had it not been for the grace of God and the sweetness of a few, very few mind you, I do believe the shame and humiliation would have destroyed me.
But God…. I love that phrase.
And that is why, to the chagrin and irritation of even the closest friends I have, I have well-defined and specific boundaries that I choose to adhere to with as much strength as I have at my disposal:
- I will not lie. Even a little. There is a way to speak the truth everytime. And sometimes it will cost me a lot. It’s worth it.
- I will not assume I understand or can infer your meaning or insinuated accusation. I will not take action on an assumed offense.
- I will take action immediately on a spoken offense and concrete issue.
- I will not make a commitment of any kind unless I am able to follow through barring some prohibition outside my control.
- I will communicate as clearly as possible given the circumstance and your willingness to allow me the time to adequately process the situation.
- I will not put myself into close proximity either emotionally or physically with a person who has not shown himself or herself to be faithful to those already in their lives.
- I will not call you friend until I have known you for a period of time long enough to reasonably evaluate your character and observe your interaction with your family, specifically how you respond to and interact with your spouse (if you have one, your parents if you don’t).
- I will not spend hours on the phone with you. Ever. If you are the kind of person who requires large quantities of interaction I will remove myself from our relationship. You obviously have far greater needs than I possess the ability to fulfill.
- I will support, encourage and exhort you to prioritize your relationship with God and your family. If I believe that our friendship in any way hinders any of those things? I will create distance. I will not compete in those scenarios.
- If you speak badly about my husband you will be immediately cut from my life. I have done this on several occasions. It’s not fun. It’s important. I do it. I don’t mind teasing, good-natured banter or even the criticism from one friend to another. I am referring to slanderous accusations and malicious discussions intended to damage his reputation or character.
- And most importantly? If we do not share a common faith? I will keep you at arms length. No matter how thrilling, intellectually stimulating (my Achilles heel in relationships) or attractive you are.
Several years ago, Tony looked at me and said, “It’s hard for you to make friends, isn’t it?” At first I was offended. But looking back?
There really isn’t any benefit in having a busload of acquaintances but no real relationships. I have been willing to wait, to watch, to sift if you will, until I have found a very small group of people who have shown themselves to be of the caliber and quality of family/friend with whom I am able to find the sweetness of fellowship. I have settled for those who pretend a form of friendship that is based on their chameleon-like tendency to mimic all those things that they think I want to hear. The declarations of “We have so much in common!” that created a sense of false security and identity were always closely followed by a disillusionment as the very same people realized I didn’t want them to be just like me but to be like themselves and they were nonplussed to realize they had no idea who that might be.
A relationship founded on a lie isn’t worth the Facebook friendship it is patterned after and a relationship in its infancy that is damaged by deception and false information may never recover.
Honesty is the best policy.
Reality depends on it and I can’t get my head around living anywhere else.