In one of my early columns (no, not blog posts, columns - info on subscribing is over there on the right) I wrote about the importance of lying to our kids. It fosters a sense of security when you tell them you love them even though they just shoved your last blue M&M up their nose. And informing them of the monster under their bed that eats toes keeps them safely under the blankies for the whole night. As a bonus, it nurtures their imagination.
Caring and nurturing. That’s what lying is all about.
Few people realize it’s equally important to lie to our Significant Others if we want to maintain harmonious (not to mention reasonably frequent) relations. Fie upon those relationship “experts” who blather on about truth being the foundation of solid...blah-blah-blah.
It goes beyond “Of course not, Honey” in response to the classic fat-in-these-pants question. It means occasionally saying things like: “I don’t get all this fuss about Catherine Zeta Jones.”*
If you’re uncomfy with flat-out lying, and many of us are, having been raised and educated by Truth Nazis, start off with stretching the truth a smidge. Let’s say your SO has spent two hours showering, putting on makeup and getting dressed. You’re pretty sure a compliment is in order once the process is complete. At least, one wouldn’t go amiss. Here are a couple of sample responses when she’s done.
1 - “You look nice Sweetie.”
Pleasant and reasonably safe, despite the fact it may border on the truth. As a result, she may find it somewhat lacking.
2 - “Wow! If Marilyn Monroe was alive she’d be spinning in her grave!”
Much better. We’ve (probably) lowered the truth quotient, compared her to an icon of beauty and added a bonus element of confusion.
Every person, even the most insecure, has something about themselves of which they’re proud. It might be hair, overall physique, eye colour - something. Once you’ve identified what it is, compliment the heck out of it.
“Baby, it beats me how ankles as delicate and fine as yours can bear that weight!”
“Your smile is so shiny, like the grill of a showroom car, only somewhat smaller!”
It’s like poetry really, without the fancy-shmancy words.
Complimentary lying is not restricted to guy-type persons of the male persuasion. Although not as dependent upon flattery as the average woman, guys are not immune to its charms. We like being told we make Brad Pitt look homely and that single abs are hot. Or maybe that Shakespeare could have taken writing lessons from us. Or Darwin in theorizing.
It confirms our own secretly-held opinion.
After all, if you can’t lie to yourself, how can you expect others to believe you?
* Insert name of whomever you’re ogling in that particular movie.