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5 Reasons Lying Sometimes Seems Like the Best Option

#2. The Truth Hurts ... No, Seriously

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Unless you're a sociopath, one of the main reasons you'd feel like an asshole is because your actions and words directly lead to the other person being hurt. Even if the conversation is initiated by the other party and they're specifically asking for that information, it's still incredibly insulting to hear. Especially if you're using terms like "disgusting" and "food sinner."

The unavoidable problem, though, is that big situations like this do eventually need to be addressed because they directly affect your relationship. Your kid is being rambly and annoying to your guests. He's just excited to have company, but he's imposing and completely dominating the conversation -- that's totally normal, in case you were wondering. But you can't just tell a child, "You're being an annoying twat. Fuck off."

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They'll just retaliate.

Is it honest? Yes. But it's also sending that kid away feeling like an unwanted burden. If you're the type of parent who does wield that level of blunt honesty, you are a fuckup and need some severe counseling. And possibly an ass beating.

Conversations like that require surgical precision, handing out the truth in small, digestible doses. Not just to children, but to anyone who hears honesty on that level ... something that is so potentially hurtful, it's been held back from conversations until it was forced out by a crowbar. And since normal people don't enjoy making others feel bad, that's pretty much what it takes to get it out of us.

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"I think it's time we had a heart-to-heart conversation."

But one of the biggest reasons we fear honesty is because of something not many people like to hear ...

#1. The "True You" Isn't Good Enough

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I'm not a people person, but I'm sure as hell not going to say that in a job interview. I won't just hold that information back; I'll flat-out lie to them and say, "I love working with others. In my last job, they called me Johnny 'People Lover' Cheese because of my high level of enthusiasm and excitement when communicating with my team." Then I'll sing a song I wrote about how much I love people. It's called "I Sho Does Loves Me Some Peoples (I Ain't Lyin' Reprise)."

Imagine being totally honest in that interview situation. "What's my biggest weakness? Great question. I'd say it's probably that I hate all managers, and I'd rather wipe my ass with a wood file than speak to customers." Think of all the crazy shit you hold back on a first date. Or how much of your boring side you keep hidden in the bushes. Why do you cover it up? Because knowing the undiluted truth about you would likely lose you a job or a potential relationship. Not necessarily because you're worth any less than other people, but because everyone else has learned to paint over the ugly spots.

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"Mr. Daughterdad, I'd like permission to propose to Sarah."

So you get used to filtering your responses to keep from looking like a person who gets off work and then plays nine hours of video games until he passes out in bed, clutching a half-empty bottle of scotch, even if that's what you actually do. After a while, that process leaks out into your everyday life, and that's when you find yourself "putting on masks." Not just in an attempt to gain ground in a relationship or a job, but to edit out parts of yourself that you don't want other people in general to see.

Am I saying that's a bad thing? No, that's totally normal and sometimes necessary. It's only bad when it continually builds until you're hiding virtually every aspect of yourself. Because that's when you've cut yourself off from any social connection at all. We're just not creatures that are built for isolation, even if it's only a mental one. But the fear that "If I'm honest with people on any level, I won't be good enough for them" keeps us firmly locked into the position of an emotional goalie.

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"Not today, asshole."

It's not realistic or even feasible to be totally honest all the time. That's a fairy tale fantasy made up by people who have seen too many romantic comedies, and it would make you the most hated person of all time. But that's why a lot of us fear it. Or at least I hope ... because if it's just me, I need to start looking for a reputable psychiatrist.


John is an editor and columnist right here at Cracked, with a new article every Thursday. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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