Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I Don't Like Liars

Sorry if this post is a bit on the rambly side, but I have no real plan except to rant a bit, so bear with me...

Nobody likes being lied to.

I'm not alone in this feeling.  But I have another reason for not liking them:  I can't tell when someone is lying to me.

Some people have an intuitive BS meter that can parse through a person's words and body language and confidently stand by their instincts regarding someone's truth.

I'm not that way.  I wish I was.  I wish I could tell if someone is telling the truth.

I think part of the problem is that I want to believe everyone I talk to.

I remember once a guy in a Wal-Mart parking lot asked me to "help him out" by buying a $50 gift card from her for $20.  He needed quick cash and he wasn't going to shop at Wal-Mart.  Now you might ask yourself, "Who would be stupid enough to fall for the most obvious scam in the history scams?"

That would be me.

It never occurred to me that the guy could be lying.  I feel like Alan from the Hangover, "He seemed like a real straight shooter!"

The point is that I learned my lesson (one that earned be a gift card with $0.67 on it) not to trust strange smoking men in beat up sports cars hanging out in Wal-Mart parking lots at 11:48 at night.

But it didn't teach me how to spot a liar.

Liars take advantage of people like me because we want to be people of trust.  Liars must prey on the good nature of others in order for their lies to have advantage.

Now I am not above reproach here.  I'm not straight as an arrow, nor am I a George Washington type who cannot tell a lie.  But I try to live my life as honestly as possible.

And when I hear someone intentionally, willfully, and forcefully tell me something that is not true, I get angry.

There is a lot of distorted rhetoric floating around the country during this election season.  Some of it is exaggeration and some of it is spin.

But then I will see a candidate for office intentionally, willfully, and forcefully tell a lie to the American people, I get offended.  I know that is "just part of the political game," but lying so blatantly requires the candidates to depend on the good nature of the voters.  We don't want to believe that someone could be so mendacious as to assert something so completely counter to reality.

I cannot tell you how angry this makes me.  A liar of this nature and this magnitude expects you to participate in his lie by you giving them your belief.

And we must refuse.

As a teacher, I've said things that turned out to be not true.  And if a student brings me the evidence to prove their point, I gladly take correction.  I don't want to be wrong.  I want to be on the side of truth.

This is one of the reasons it is SO important that we have an informed electorate.  We don't have to take the candidates at their word.  We can look up the truth for ourselves.

And that truth can set us free.

Honesty matters.  Not just in things like politics, but in the strands of every day life.

My closest friends and I don't see eye to eye on a number of things.  We disagree on politics, religion, movies, etc.  Sometimes the arguments are intense and can get pretty heated before all is said and done.

But the reason they are my friends is that even if we are at complete opposite ends of the intellectual divide, we don't lie to each other.  We don't have to lie to prove our point.

And because of that honesty I am blessed with a great set of pals.  I love them because they are honest with me and I with them.

My wife and I have never had a fight in all the time we've known each other.  One of the reasons (besides the fact that my wife is so amazing I have nothing to complain about (pssst, she reads these posts)), is that we have always been open about everything.  We don't lie to each other.

Sometimes if something is bothering us or burdening us, we'll hold on to it for a while and not share.  But in the end, we talk to each other about what we are thinking and feeling.

My wife doesn't lie to me.

Now, I said earlier that I couldn't tell if someone was lying to me.  But I'm betting everything on her.  And I trust her with everything.

Honesty matters.

When we lie, we turn the person we are lying to into an object.  They are merely a means to a certain end, some other advantage for ourselves.  But when we realize that the person is not an object but a subject, then we will treat them with honesty because we will know that they deserve the truth.


  1. You don't like liars. You're watching politicians. And you're surprised?

  2. I want to know what CatholicSkywalker bought with his special gift card.

    1. I bought an overpriced lesson in how sometimes people can be awful

  3. Have to agree with Ann.

    Politician is synonymous with liar, no matter what side of the fence you're on. "Jerry, just's not a lie, if you believe it."

    1. I know, I know. Politics today is about choosing the lesser of two evils.

      But shouldn't it be about the greater of two goods?