Is it common for people to lie online?
September 10, 2004 1:20 AM   Subscribe


How common is it for people to lie as a part of their online personas? I suppose that I can understand the whole fictional persona thing, but in this case I'm referring to a pseudonym with life details that maps closely onto the real person's but with some (boasting?) fabrications added. This is someone I know in Real Life, so it's disturbing to me.

The more general question is just about lying. How much do people actually lie, anyway? I never assume that people are lying about the things they say. I almost never lie (the notable exception in my life has been lying about being sick for work). I might exagerate of give an incorrect impression. But just flat out say things that I know aren't true? It doesn't even occur to me, even when it would be convenient (or possible the right thing to do, a la the "white lie"). Not to say that I'm virtous, in a bazillion other ways I'm not particularly, I mention it because I suppose this is why I never assume or even suspect that other people lie about things and I'm always deeply caught by surprise.

I'm feeling very disapointed in my friend, which I intuit is perhaps silly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh to Human Relations (41 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Woah EB, 7 minutes (and 2 posts) between your one word post, and your explanation inside. Take care of those trigger-happy MeTa callout people (of which I am definitely not one of! :-) ).

I think there are many times when the small lies we tell go below our own radars; they're subconscious reactions. Conscious lying is something else.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:35 AM on September 10, 2004

Tell the truth. It will keep some people content, and amaze everyone else.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:37 AM on September 10, 2004

To be a little platonic about this, I think it’s important to understand what you think may be negative about lying. Once we’ve got that worked out we can go from there.

Do you think there is inherent value in telling the truth? Do you feel uncomfortable not knowing whether or not people are being truthful to you? Do you think lying is representative of someone “not being themselves” and feel this is a negative thing?
posted by ed\26h at 1:50 AM on September 10, 2004

funny how right away people thought you were looking for advice on how to lie, heh.

i've read (in psych journals/text books) that we humans lie many, many times a day - but most of it fell into the white lie or hyperbole categories. it seems perfectly natural for us to tell small lies to get by in a variety of situations, so i doubt you're as far in the clear in this area than you realize. as for your friend, if you think he's going to hurt himself in some way by padding his accomplishments or whatever, and this is a relationship with a strong bond of trust that's weathered the test of time, then i'd mention it to him, gently and with a certain amount of humour. if not, step off the virtue carousel before you get dizzy and fall off.
posted by t r a c y at 1:53 AM on September 10, 2004 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I figured it was the middle of the night and there wasn't a rush to get the "more inside" part done—so I didn't write it beforehand. Ah, but how wrong I was.

I hate to admit it, but I have a personal history of falling for people's lies. My aunt dated an actual con artist that later made the front page of the regional newspaper—I was the only person in my immediate family who didn't think there were fishy things with his stories. So he wasn't actually a Swede by birth and had been in the Swedish Air Force. It didn't occur to me to seriously consider that he was lying because, well, why in the world would anyone make something like that up??

On Preview, from ed: yeah, a little of each, really. I have a sort of truth fetish—I learnt it from my mother. She's this way, too. But, even trying to get beyond that, I still deeply feel that there's something wrong with it. In fact, the rare lies I've told in my life (like the being too sick to work examples I mention) really sort of haunt me. I feel more guilt about them than almost anything else, actually. Hmm. Anyway, in the case of this friend, it suddenly makes me think much less of her but also makes me trust her less. I'm trying to get a handle on whether that's a justified and rational reaction on my part.

On second preview, from t r a c y: I suspect that I'm at least as guilty as anyone else, and maybe more so, of lying by omission and hyperbole etc. But undeniable lies sort of freak me out. Like I said, I don't do them almost ever; and, when I do, I feel really guilty about them. It's hard for me not to be weirded out about this behavior in someone else (especially if they're close to me at all). I'm reminded a little bit of learning that one of my closest friends had a history of cheating on his prior girlfriends and his wife. I was deeply shocked and it bothered me for a long time. I don't think I ever thought of him the same way.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:00 AM on September 10, 2004

Sorry about that post at the top - wasn't trying to be snarky..

I try not to lie at all, personally - which has infuriated past girlfriends. But I've known several people who can't seem to help embellishing the truth quite heavily.

The only real pattern that seems to stick out is that we expect people to behave the same way as we do. You are surprised when your friend lies so freely, and those who lie habitually tend to assume that everyone else is doing the same.

On preview: Middle of the night?! There is a world outside the US, you know! :)
posted by cell at 2:05 AM on September 10, 2004

In Japan, lying isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, often telling the truth there is considered very bad (depending on the situation of course). There is the "tatemae" (the surface) behaviour that maintains the "wa" (the harmony). This surface behaviour can consist of white lies, out-and-out lies, exaggerations and denials but that's fine, as long as you don't upset anyone. This happens in all areas of life : home, work, even amongst friends.

Personally, I think when somebody tells the awkward truth, it can regulate a relationship, and release a pressure. There is a pressure there when you hide something, and it creates a wall between the liar and the "lie-ee". The truth can be refreshing, lies can be stale.

However, there is a time and a place to tell those awkward truths, and I don't think it's healthy to be utterly frank with people 24/7 (see how many friends you win).
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:06 AM on September 10, 2004 [1 favorite]

I figured it was the middle of the night and there wasn't a rush to get the "more inside" part done—so I didn't write it beforehand. Ah, but how wrong I was.

From this Meta post:- EB "...even though I'm a USAian, I have the magical ability to be aware of and assess the prevelance of USA chauvinism here on MeFi."

OK, I'm just teasing you EB...! It was 9.20AM in the UK when you made this thread.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:11 AM on September 10, 2004

Response by poster: There's no doubt that lies are necessary social lubricants in most cultures. I'm reminded of the recent article I read on the FACS (a product of the research on human facial expressions). One very curious fact is that we signal a great many things with our expressions that other people don't seem to notice. Why wouldn't we use all the information we have available to us?

In that vein, I was talking to a friend about FACS right after I read that article and did some research; and I was very interested in studying FACS and becoming proficient in it. My friend found the idea sort of horrifying. His point was twofold: a) it's an intrusion on other people to read their thoughts on their faces beyond that which they would expect; and, b) he doesn't necessarily want to know in the first place. And then there's the quote about all of civilization being built on being able to pretend that something unpleasant isn't true when it is. (To that effect, I can't recall the quote.)

So, it is in this sense that I will say that I "fetishize" the truth. Also, that I don't have a good intuitive understanding at all of the social (and psychological?) necessity of lies. It is in regard to these sorts of things that I suspect myself of being somewhere along the autism spectrum. (Wanting to better understand what people think/mean by studying and practicing FACS is another clue, though!)

Anyway, I don't have a context for understanding a casual lie that is deliberate and very false. I do sort of understand what SC describes above about the Japanese, I do understand white lies (I think), and I do understand self-serving lies of "necessity" or whatever. But just casual, mostly needless self-aggrandizing or whatever sorts of lies? Those I really don't understand at all.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:35 AM on September 10, 2004 [1 favorite]

ok well i'm with you EB on the big lies, but i think a person can go too far in demanding the absolute truth from others. if your friend isn't hurting anyone including herself (which is more important than how it effects you) then i think you need to dig for some compassion (that's free of your need for respect or your need to feel perfectly safe) in that it's human nature to exaggerate. people are complicated and a little bit nuts in general and i think it behooves us all to be forgiving and to not be so self protective that we're shocked for a long time by lies that weren't even told to us personally. just because your other friend was a crappy boyfriend/husband doesn't mean he can't be a loyal friend or any other number of good things.

you aren't doing yourself (or the people in your life) any favours by being permanently scarred by the aunt's con man experience, or your cheating friend, etc... that's just an ego thing, being embarrassed that you didn't sniff out someone's conniving behaviour. we all get these surprises (both big nasty & trivial) throughout our lifetimes, but it's in our best interest to put it in perspective so we still have our full trust to give others who will deserve it.

this geocities page cites some of the articles i've read in the past about how often we lie.

In Japan, lying isn't necessarily a bad thing.

my sister lived in japan for several years and this was one of the cultural lessons she learned really fast - north american plain speaking was completely out of the question.
posted by t r a c y at 2:37 AM on September 10, 2004

Response by poster: tracy, I don't think those experiences scarred me—I was mostly just admitting that I'm more gullible than most1. At least in this respect. (And I really don't like admitting it, interestingly.)

But there is a bit of pathology in here somewhere. I suppose that the problem I have is that it's pretty black and white for me. I think I very likely do have some pathological need to be "perfectly safe" and thus I want to know if I'm being lied to or not. But what freaks me out is that once you (well, me) start wondering, you don't stop. How do you know anything is true? What are the rules? Where am I in her lying calculus (as an example)? I don't want to worry about that sort of thing, it freaks me out.

1 I wasn't close to my aunt's boyfriend, so I didn't really feel betrayed. I sort of felt my whole family had been betrayed—he spent a memorable xmas with us. I just sort of felt stupid for not seeing through his tales. But then, he was a professional con artist who later escaped from prison. In the case of my friend, we were very close and he seemed to me to be very trustworthy, more than most people. Responsible. And he was, indeed, a very good friend to me during a difficult time that came later. But I couldn't help think less of someone that would betray the trust of the person closest to them. And more than once.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:53 AM on September 10, 2004

darn, i have more thoughts i'd like to sort out and then share with you but i don't have time to continue commenting :-( i have to dry my hair and then we're driving to toronto where zoran and i will be having brunch with jon lovitz and his wife morgan fairchild. later we'll be seeing some movies and going to a party.

some of that, of course, is lies, damned lies :-D
posted by t r a c y at 3:03 AM on September 10, 2004

Everything I say online is a lie.

/Awaits assorted explosions from all MeFiBots.
posted by seanyboy at 3:57 AM on September 10, 2004

I don't tend to lie online, because there's really no point. I'll not talk about the things I don't want my nearest & dearest to hear, but I generally won't lie.
posted by seanyboy at 4:03 AM on September 10, 2004

Seanyboy: Heh. Self-link. Bothered.
posted by ed\26h at 4:25 AM on September 10, 2004

If people are lying for self-aggrandisement, boasting in their lies... well, that's pretty obviously because they feel inadequate. Remember, "on the Internet, no-one knows you're a dog"... and if you think you're a dog, that's not a disadvantage -- it's an opportunity!

I don't tend to lie, though, on the 'net or in real life. The only time I consider it is to spare someone's hurt feelings. Actually, even then, I tend to just come out and hurt their feelings anyway, if I think it might be useful for them in the long run. You do have to be careful, though, because the truth in the wrong place can utterly destroy someone's self-image (or whatever they're calling it these days).

If you come out and say that you dislike something unchangeable about someone, they will remember it for years to come -- really, I've had people recite long-forgotten comments of mine back to me more than once ("that bothered you?" "of course it bothered me (sob)!"). It is a good idea to lie around sensitive and/or emotionally unstable friends, or, more broadly: don't tell the truth when it's obvious the person asking the question was hoping for a flattering lie.

I think my summary is: people lie because they feel inadequate, or because they don't want other people to feel inadequate. The idea of "casual lying" is mainly tied up with the idea of self-esteem. Of course, this doesn't apply to non-casual lies, that are mitigated and planned in order to avoid trouble or to swindle.
posted by reklaw at 4:30 AM on September 10, 2004

But, but . . . people lie ALL THE TIME on the internet. MetaFilter has caught out HUGE examples of this (Kaycee Nicole, that guy who self posted and was viral marketing for the lord, etc.) I know these are examples of huge lies, but people also do it on a smaller scale all the time. What about all the lying that goes on in internet dating or IMing, or whatever, where people pretend to be something they're not. It's incredibly EASY to lie on the internet and not get caught out. I bet people do it sometimes just for fun, or because they very much want attention or admiration.

I would be more forgiving of lies told to strangers over the internet as compared to lies told to you directly in real life.

On preview: some of this was covered by recklaw, oh.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:38 AM on September 10, 2004

here in chile, i get very frustrated because people lie all the time. a shop will tell me that something will arrive in 8 to 10 days, and it won't. a friend will tell me something will happen, and it doesn't. my partner's father will tell her he has done soemthign for her, and he hasn't.

yet, these people don't think they're lying. my partner (chilean) doesn't think they're lying. presumably i'm not, despite appearances, trapped in a society full of pathological con-artists.

so either the english are perfect and chileans are idiots - which on bleaker days is a tempting conclusion - or lying is a relative thing, and the point at which it becomes "bad" depends on the culture.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:02 AM on September 10, 2004

Online, if companies request my details for purposes, I tend to lie consistently (sometimes even when I'm trying to get support for software that I own and have licences for). I always end up as Mr Big Calm, unemployed, currently residing in Antarctica and with the email

However, when talking to actual people (rather than companies), on all community boards, usenet, muds and online games I rarely lie about my own identity because there seems little point. Ok so I could pretend to be Mr Joe Schmo with a multi-million dollar fortune and seven Rolls Royces but I can't see the point. Maybe I'm just happy with my own identity, dunno.
posted by BigCalm at 6:04 AM on September 10, 2004

I don't have time for this "question" (where's the question mark?) I'm needed back at my mansion, where a patient has just been helicoptered in so I can perform emergency brain surgery. After that Bono, Hunter Thompson, the Pope and I are gonna shoot some pool and discuss the direction we want to influence civilization for the next decade.

posted by Shane at 6:10 AM on September 10, 2004

Hey, reklaw, is this you?

I don't lie much, and I don't play a role on the internet, but I agree with andrew cooke - it's all relative. Plus, some people don't lie - they have fun with the truth, which doesn't really bother me. But - whatever. Not only is lying relative, so is the truth.

Anyway, I have to go now: they are getting ready for another one of those crazy billiards parties at the mansion next door, so I'm going to have to see if I can get Jon Lovitz and his lovely wife Morgan Fairchild to finish up their omelets and get out of here so t r a c y and I can go join the party. I have a magical cue stick that vibrates and makes margaritas, so everybody is waiting for me.
posted by taz at 6:24 AM on September 10, 2004

Sometimes I lie to make a complicated story more simple. Lets say I strongly believed that my pet goldfish started talking to me and suggested that I buy these special kind of socks. I bought them and they turned out to be the most comfortable pair of socks ever. In talking about this, I might say, "a friend of mine told me to get these socks..."

If I bring up the talking goldfish, the listener will become very interested in that detail (and my sanity), but the point of the story is about the socks, and I don't want that point to get lost in unimportant details.

I'm not crazy about doing this, and it sometimes backfires. Someone else, who I was more honest with (but forgot about), might chime in and say, "I thought you said it was your goldfish!"

Sometimes, before I start a story, I feel like saying, "I'm going to simplify some stuff so that the story stays simple." But I fear that will also push the story off-track. If someone said that to me, I would probably be so intrigued about what he was leaving out, that I wouldn't even listen to the story.

Maybe the best thing to do is to tell the story first and then say, "that's not EXACTLY the way it happened, but that's the general idea..." But then you're leaving the listener with a big question, rather than with the point of the story.
posted by grumblebee at 6:34 AM on September 10, 2004

I draw a weird arbitrary line between misrepresenting the facts of some situation, and misrepresenting the emotions in a situation. Like, there are things that happened [you did kiss that girl or you didn't, you did get the paper in before the deadline or you didn't, you did pick up milk on your way home or you didn't] and then there's the way you feel about things [you like that girl, maybe, or you really tried hard on that paper, maybe, or you spaced the milk because you have a lot on your mind, maybe]. I try hard to accurately ascertain and represent the truth in the former situations, and then try to at least be accurate about what I feel in the latter situations. I equivocate a lot and say things like "To me, this seemed like..." and "Well in my opinion..."

This gets complicated in the messy world of relationships and/or politics where each player tries to get in their version of the "facts" to support their particular conclusion, and there's never enough time for banter and debate to get to the bottom of it. I watch political debates and am almost insensate about the reliance on mushy language, equivocating and lots of feel-good talk and very few real facts, or even debate about factual issues.

I have some always-literal brain problem where if someone says "I'll call you" I really honestly see that as a statement of intention to call, and one that should be attainable, and I get sort of bent when I don't get called and/or when I see the "I'll call you" person and they act like nothing has happened. If they say "I'll be there at five" I wonder where they are at 5:07. I'm aware that most people [in the US at least] don't feel this way. In attempts to act "normal" I will often try to be more relaxed about this sort of accuracy and promptness but it seems fake and I usually revert to my old uber-literal self. High school dating was a serious hell for me. I find that living in rural New England makes it easier for me to surround myself with folks who have similar truth-telling/accuracy habits to my own interpretation of them. Seattle seemed full of "I'll call you" and "let's do lunch" people which seemed to work out great for them, but was confusing and frustrating to me often.

My parents are often free and easy with the truth in an exaggerated form of what grum is talking about and it always annoys the crap out of me. They would have long discussions with me [when they used to fight with each other a lot, decades ago] making sure I understood their version of events. If I had my own impressions I was often accused of being disloyal which got old fast. I think I stick to the truth nowadays as a way to try to appear impartial but, in the absence of something like Heinlein's "fair witness" concept, we'll always be placing shades of meaning just by what we say and don't say.
posted by jessamyn at 6:45 AM on September 10, 2004

I really am in two minds about lying to simplify a story, so I understand where you're coming from, jess. I'm actually a literal person too.

Part of it is skewed by how much you care about stories. I hate lying, but I also hate a bad (needlessly complex) story. So I'm torn. I don't want to be lied to. On the other hand, I hate when people include gratuitous detail in their stories -- making the stories much less interesting and harder to follow -- just for the sake of truthfullness.
posted by grumblebee at 6:51 AM on September 10, 2004

I never assume that people are lying about the things they say.

I assume most people are lying most of the time, even if it's just via omitting information or about unimportant matters. I include exaggeration and understatement as forms of lying.

This is all for two reasons:

1. I am cynical.

2. Imagining other variations of the truth is a good creative exercise. It also prepares me for the truth when, and if, it finally arrives.

Related to the FACS: people do say more with their faces than they intend. It makes it hard to look them in the eye, because I, in turn, am afraid I cannot hide that I know things they didn't think they revealed.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:12 AM on September 10, 2004

I'm great at that FACS stuff, by the way; I got 17 out of 20 on this test.
posted by taz at 7:42 AM on September 10, 2004

Some would argue that by simply adopting a false name online (Is Ethereal Bligh you real name?), that is a form of lying and the once that line has been crossed, it is simply a matter of gradient.

I think we all lie to a certain degree. I think the important point is whether or not it is malicious. Some pathological liars are not even aware that they are lying. Does not excuse them but helps explain thier actions.

I guess the point is are you a n amoral liar or an immoral liar. If you are the former, then you exhibit the pathology that is inherent to sociopaths. If you are the latter however, then you are simply a flawed human.

Like the rest of us.
posted by Dagobert at 7:51 AM on September 10, 2004

a shop will tell me that something will arrive in 8 to 10 days, and it won't.

If Best Buy doesn't have it you can guarantee it will be on "the truck coming in tomorrow".

As a Brain Surgeon, Pilot, SEAL Team 6 veteran and International Movie Star (you haven't seen my stuff but I'm big in Germany, bigger than Hasselhoff!) I don't have time to lie on the internet.

Honestly (this gets better) I am a compulsive liar. I don't do it (much, white lies excepted) anymore but as an adolescent and young adult, whoo, watch out. Once you start, it's hard not to keep doing it no matter how much you dislike yourself for doing it. In my drinking days it got worse, of course. The nice thing about being a drunken liar is that you're probably in the company of other drunken liars but when introduced to polite (sober) society it became blatantly obvious that I was a moron.

Low self-esteem and a creative imagination are an awful mix. I can't handle the (mostly self-induced) shame anymore, and that's the truth.
posted by m@ at 7:57 AM on September 10, 2004

Plus, some people don't lie - they have fun with the truth, which doesn't really bother me. But - whatever. Not only is lying relative, so is the truth.

taz wins the Wise Comment of the Week award. It's absurd to say there's no such thing as the truth (hello, deconstructionists!), but it's plain common sense to say it's often hard or impossible to figure out what the truth is. The beginning of wisdom is when you realize that even your own memories can play you false. And while that's not directly relevant to the issue of people saying things they know to be false, it can help us avoid making to great a fetish of the Truth (as you clearly do). What practical difference does it make whether your friend, or some dog on the internet, is knowingly lying, misremembering, fantasizing, or just (as taz says) having fun with the truth? Unless you can learn to relax about this stuff, you'll have a hard time appreciating literature, let alone the internet.

Let me put it another way: your friend's self-aggrandizement is harming nobody and makes her feel better. Your obsession with Truth is making you feel worse. Do the math.
posted by languagehat at 8:18 AM on September 10, 2004

I generally try not to lie, except those socially necessary lies. (I love your cooking. Stop complaining about this so-called weight gain, you look fabulous. No, the baby's crying doesn't bother me; he's so darn cute.)

Is it really lying to omit details from a story? If I'm telling you about my trip to the zoo, to tell the truth must I say, "While watching TV, I decided to go to the zoo. First I went to Safeway, though, where I bought the following items: (...), then I got gas, then I went to my friend's house to see if she wanted to go, then we drove to the zoo"? It seems like this is just as true: "I wanted to go to the zoo, so I picked up my friend and off we went."
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:23 AM on September 10, 2004

croutonsupafreak, I don't think it's lying to OMIT items from a story (unless those ommissions give someone a totally wrong impression of the truth, like saying you gave someone a cake and omitting to say its got rat poison in it). I'm talking about CHANGING items in the story for the sake of simplicity. In my silly example, I changed my goldfish to "a friend."

Another example might be that I had a dream in which someone recommended that I watch a certain movie, but I simply tell you "a friend recommened that I watch this movie." The fact that it was someone in a dream doesn't add anything to the story -- assuming that the point of the story is to talk about the movie. But I would definately call that a lie, because if gives the impression that a REAL person -- not a dream person -- was talking to me.
posted by grumblebee at 8:28 AM on September 10, 2004

I have some always-literal brain problem where if someone says "I'll call you"

I did that to some poor woman once and immediately decided never to do it again.
posted by callmejay at 8:47 AM on September 10, 2004

Lies mask reality, and therefore all lies are wicked.

But the internet isn't always about "reality," and playfulness is not a sin.
posted by rushmc at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2004

I lie all the time about really unimportant stuff, usually to see if I'll be believed (at which point I say I was lying). I recently told someone that "pajama avenue" refers to the area on either immediate side of the spine (because if you wear a too-loose pajama top, that's where it bunches up). That kind of thing. I guess this is more bullshitting than lying.
posted by kenko at 9:28 AM on September 10, 2004

rushmc, I'm not a fan of lying, but why is masking reality always a wicked thing?
posted by grumblebee at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2004

But what freaks me out is that once you (well, me) start wondering, you don't stop. How do you know anything is true? What are the rules? Where am I in her lying calculus (as an example)? I don't want to worry about that sort of thing, it freaks me out.
Maybe if you can sharpen your ability at being more cunning about the people around you it would overcome this for you. Cunning is not one of my good traits as I view people being good than the possibility that they are bad. Then you could also, "not give a damn."
posted by thomcatspike at 11:47 AM on September 10, 2004

I'm pretty much myself here, with a veil of anonymity tossed over me. Though the veil is not quite skin-tight, I like to make it difficult to skewer me offline for anything I say online. It's not as if the offline world responds much to my online bitching, anyway, so I'd say it's fair to keep that working both ways (at least as far as my professional life goes) and enjoy some freedom from offline accountability for what I write online. Is this lying? Or compartmentalization?
posted by scarabic at 12:44 PM on September 10, 2004

rushmc, I'm not a fan of lying, but why is masking reality always a wicked thing?

My answer to that is probably too complex to get into here, but essentially I would say because it leads to behavior based upon delusional thinking, which I think is fundamentally wrong, if anything is.
posted by rushmc at 5:49 PM on September 10, 2004

I've been thinking more about this, and I've concluded that if I had a great deal of frustration or emotional pain in my life, and if I felt as if I were trapped within the circumstances that created that frustration, then I would probably try to create (to some degree) an alternate reality for myself online. Would that be "lying", in terms of how we generally interpret the term? To me, not so much - just as I don't see a semi-autobiographical novel as "lying", but rather a work that exists somewhere on the spectrum that spans "fiction" and "non-fiction".

We are capable of understanding so many complexities when they are at a certain remove - wrapped within the medium of art or literature, for example, or theoretical psychology - but when confronted with the same nuances in our everyday experience, we often lose our flexibility. This is just human nature, I think, but it's probably useful to try to be aware of how much our standards diverge when it comes to what we believe we accept and understand, and what we really are willing to tolerate when something or someone deviates from our accepted norm. Is this dichotomy, in it's own way, a form of "lying"? Again, for me - not so much, but, whatever your viewpoint, it should probably be judged using the same criteria. In your case, EB, since you have a very rigid standard for what is "true" or honest, your sin and your friend's sin pretty much cancel each other out (on a personal scale) - so just relax, give her a call, and make a date for cocktails.
posted by taz at 7:21 AM on September 11, 2004

Sorry! A teeny, but vital edit: should have been "when something or someone we know deviates from our accepted norm".
posted by taz at 8:43 AM on September 11, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the interesting and thoughtful responses, everyone!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:19 AM on September 12, 2004

« Older German-American Internment?   |   What songs would you recommend for a music piracy... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.