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I have to admit something rather horrible. I don’t usually do things like this. But I did. And now I have to come clean.

I got very, very angry yesterday at someone I work with. Extremely angry. No hitting, slapping, punching or other physicality was involved (or ever would be) and I used no profanity (and very rarely do). I just said some not nice things.

I apologized soon after, but this person had already decided to take the issue to a superior. (Of course, we had agreed between us that we would settle it like adults and accept apologies and work well together — I meant it, but “this person” didn’t … clearly.) So, today, unsurprisingly, I was asked about it. I did completely admit what I had done and expressed remorse. But then I went one step further and did my best to engender sympathy. I said things were difficult in my non-work life, that there were problems I didn’t want to discuss (but I made some broad allusions to things that are sort of true, but also pretty much not). Yes, I lied.

I lied to save face. I lied to get people not to be angry at me.

I can justify it by saying my lie made the situation better, which it did. I can justify it by saying the lie completely eradicated any ill will and put us both on a level playing field. Yes, I could, those things would be true.

I can even say the lie wasn’t really a lie, because much of it is based in truth. Is there such a thing as a half-lie? A quarter-lie? This was part way between a little white lie and a “real” lie, leaning toward the former.

Should I feel badly about this? If a lie ends up improving a situation, is it bad? Do I come clean and face the music? Do I just quit while I’m ahead?

You see, I rarely lie. Almost never. I’m no good at it (but I surprised myself today) and I feel badly about it after the fact — but, somehow, today I don’t. I believe in honesty, and that’s the truth. But I discovered something today — bending the truth, telling a lie, whatever you want to call it, can actually have a positive effect.

If no one is harmed, if the lie causes no further problems, is it bad?

And why do I feel like Carrie Bradshaw, writing boring rhetorical questions?

6 Comments

thatmattdude Expounded Thusly:

so Im reading all of this after I talked to you today… and while Im trying to think of how fun it’d be to spend halloween with the entire gang (including you) you are on here calling me a dick head and dishin out some low blows.

is this somehow related to your personal life problems??? as well???

dang.

Thursday, October 28th, 2004 • 9:26pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

I did not post this.

Thursday, October 28th, 2004 • 10:41pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Very good and interesting questions.

However, I’ve had a bad night, and I’m covered with paint, and I got 3 hours of sleep last night, so I think I’ll just take a nice, hot shower, go to sleep, and answer you tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28th, 2004 • 10:48pm • Permalink

Just wondering Expounded Thusly:

Who called who a dick head?

Thursday, October 28th, 2004 • 11:27pm • Permalink

figured it out Expounded Thusly:

Oh, I see it now.

Friday, October 29th, 2004 • 3:18pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Well, now, this is tricky. However, in the situation proffered, I would say this was not a bad thing. If it was partially true, okay. There are half lies and quarter lies. Sometimes these lies come out without our thinking too much about it, and they do nothing bad. They aren’t great, because lying is never the best option, I think, but if, in your case, they smoothed out the situation, then okay. Nothing to stay up all night worrying about.

So don’t come clean, just quit while you’re ahead, and try never to do it again, young ________ [insert gender-relevant noun here]!

Monday, November 1st, 2004 • 4:24pm • Permalink

 

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