Monday, October 19, 2009

My friends are good at being bad

My friends are all liars. That sounds harsh but it's totally true. Sure, they are liars with good hearts and wonderful intentions, but liars just the same.

Basically they tell me what I want to hear, because they are really good friends. Or are they? They mean well, but I can never tell what my friends are giving me: the truth, or the truth watered down a lot so it won't hurt my feelings.

For example: I was dating a girl named So-and-so and I thought she was great. Coincidentally, my friends all thought she was great too. She had a bunch of weird, red flags popping out all over the place but I couldn't see them because I was totally enamored with her and enamored with being enamored. My friends didn't say a word. Why do they let me run headlong into girls who are train wrecks? Because they don't want to hurt my feelings, those jerks!

I started to figure it out when the lovely, sweet So-and-so and I would break up. Curiously, the same friends who agreed with me when I thought she was wonderful and flawless were now agreeing with me when I would grumble, cry and moan about how terrible she was. “Yeah, she was totally wrong for you,” they would say. Why didn't they tell me sooner? Oh yeah, my feelings. I don't think I would freak out and yell at them, but I can't be sure because no one has ever told me the truth.

But now I have friends I can trust, or rather I have friends that I've had long enough to know when they're lying.

Me: “Oh, man. So-and-so is really great, you know?”

Friend: “Yeah, she's, um, unique.”

Right here is where, in the past, I would've charged on ahead and raved about So-and-so, blissfully unaware that my friend does not approve but doesn't want to poop on my puppy love party. But now I'm older, and, I daresay, wiser. Here are a few euphemisms that my friends use to avoid telling the truth:

“unique” = weird
“nice” = ugly
“spunky” = bossy
“confident” = mean
“earthy” = dumpy
“she knows what she wants” = high maintenance

So forth and so on. Dating itself is kind of just one big lie, isn't it? A first date is essentially a lying contest to see who can get the other to believe a bunch of lies.

What you say: “For fun I like to run, bike, swim, kayak and climb mountains. My hobbies include vaccinating orphans with dirty faces in third world countries, neutering abandoned kittens at the local animal shelter and knitting scarves and woolen mittens for elderly people with bad circulation."

What you mean: “For fun I usually watch a whole season of The Office on DVD in one sitting, only getting off the couch when I run out of 'Chunky Monkey.' And that's about it.”

I'd like to say I'd never lied on a first date but it's not true. One time I was trying find some kind of common ground with a girl who I had absolutely nothing in common with. The tricky part was she was super attractive, so I wanted desperately to have something in common with her.

She started talking about music and I though to myself, “I'm saved! I love music!” Then she said, “I really like the band Chicago. I think their music is really great. Do you like Chicago?”

I won't tell you what I said, but the next time you Peter Cetera croon “You're the feeling in my life, you're the inspiration” try not to think about what a liar I am.

PS - Please comment!


  1. I like honesty. The most honest people in my life are my mum, my husband and my university lecturers. I like how they'll give it to me straight. Then I never think they're just blowing smoke up my proverbial.
    It's a refreshing feeling and it means you don't feel insecure about your relationships.

    When my friends have unsuitable partners I find all the ways I can to be compassionate but honest at the same time. It truly is possible.

  2. Jacob, I always like your posts, you don't have to ask.
    I've kind of dropped any friends who were like that. I surround myself now with people who are brutally honest, which sucks sometimes but in the long run you know exactly where you stand with them.

  3. I loved this post. Honesty is very hard to come by but it is so valuable. Your list of what the words REALLY mean is inspired. SO true!

  4. Here I am commenting because I enjoyed the post today...but I have nothing really witty to say.

  5. Great post! I am a very blunt person and prefer to just tell my friends what I honestly think of their new flame and like the same to be done to me.

    just recently there was a guy i was interested in and all my friends were supportive, but after a while, nothing really happened and all my friends breathed a sigh of relief saying they didn't really like him.

  6. Another good euphemism is "intense" - I've found it most often translates to "difficult, loud, opinionated, and obnoxious." Not surprisingly, it is the #1 adjective most of my friends choose when describing me (to me!).

  7. how can you not like Chicago? I mean I know it's not your fav, but they have some sweet tunes...

  8. Everyone: Thanks for the comments, you're the best.

    Cait: Excellent euphemism. I'll add it to my list.

    Ben: I won't stop you from listening to Chicago, but as for me and my house we will not listen.

  9. I think another one would be "she's. . . fun." That usually translates into "kinda dumb" or perhaps "tiresome" in my experience.

    Is this post inspired by any recent event?

  10. This post is not inspired by recent events, or not anything that recently happened to me. I think I might have lied to someone and used a euphemism for "boring" and inspired myself to write about liars. Jacob = hypocrite.

  11. Socrates believed you can only approach the truth. So, the real question becomes how close to the truth do you want to get 20%, 80%, 90%. To get 90% you really need hours to explain something. If you have to describe someone in a couple of words you are doomed to hit below 20% truth even if you have a great vocabulary. I think this post is "unique". Just kidding, it was great.


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