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The 'Tell It Like It Is' Brigade - Liars

March 15th, 2017

There they are, the memes, the statuses and the quotes; “Only the truth comes out my mouth”, “I tell it like it is”, “You can't handle the truth” and all that other mambo jumbo. Here is a truth, most of those people are lying. I'll tell you why.

Truth and Lies - ImageHave you ever wondered where the concept of the 'white' lie came from? The definition of the white lie is “A harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone's feelings” and in there, lies the crocks of the matter.... “to avoid hurting someone's feelings”. You don't even have to open you mouth to tell a white lie, an omission to tell is just as much guilty of the lie. Now you might say why? Well, we humans are social animals and are lives revolve (as much as we don't want it to) around relationships. The extent and the content of the social circle depends on you cultural background. In western cultures, the nuclear family and fiends form the social groups, in others, such as many African cultures, the extended family group forms the basis of your social network. These people are so important to you that they are the ones you are most likely to tell 'white lies' to.

After all, what is the truth anyway? In many cases, in a social context especially, the truth is subjective. Truth and facts are not synonymous – facts can be proven but the truth? Let's have an example. Many people will say a baby is cute even when it is obvious that the baby is not. Hold on, who is it obvious to? To you, of course, but then “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Your concept of cute may be similar to the majority of your social circle but it is subjective. It would bear well to bear in mind when you want to tell the truth to consider whether in fact, it is true. If you don't believe me, go to two different news sites – preferably those with different view of the world – and determine if the new US president, Donald Trump, is doing a good job. This is why 'crime' detection based on oral statements is so difficult.

The fact is that we are biologically inclined to protecting people in our closest social circle. Hurting their feelings especially for non trivial matters as 'does my bum look big in this' is not important enough to tell the truth. I mean in such a situation, if the person would be going out and embarrassing themselves, you might give them the semblance of the truth by maybe suggesting some thing a little less revealing. Consistently hurting people in your social circle is likely to mean you end up with no social circle at all and we know that instinctively.

White lies aside, we cannot defend those who lie to cheat and manipulate others. Again our instinct to protect those in our social circle will force us to 'out' them. In this case, truth and fact may even be synonymous as many times you can prove the person is lying and expose their intentions. In this context, you perceived social circle might be as wide as the city you live in. Don't forget, social circles are fluid for example members of your tribe or citizens of your town are within your wider social circle.

Facebook and Twitter and other social media is a fascinating place for people watching of a different kind. You see people bigging themselves up, lying to themselves and others, pretending to be what they are not including the 'tell it like it is' brigade and yet most of the people in their close social circle know exactly – subjectively obviously - how they are.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a hurtful 'truth' and the person telling you this does not care whether you are hurt or not, they don't consider you part of their circle and you should remove them from yours. If, on the other hand, you are one of those very few people who insist on 'telling the truth' even if it hurts those close to you, then you are an a***hole – and that is the truth.

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