In our hearts we all care too much about offending people. We don’t speak the truth, ever, for fear of pushing people away.
So we hide our satirical hearts under a shell of thoughtless niceness. We put up a façade and water down our sentiments, sugarcoat our ideas, and weaken our standpoints. We talk about people as if they are gifted, and witty, and lovely, in the hope that we might fit in, that people will like us, that a company will hire us and give us that big fat paycheck.
Everybody does it, by the way. Yes, you do it too. You’re not the bohemian you think you are. And, by the way, hippies do it as well. They are not better than us. Just look at Steve Jobs. He was basically an asshole who blatantly lied to us, so he could entice us into buying his fancy phones we don’t need, so we’d be seen as ‘cool’ by people we don’t even care about.
When people say they don’t lie, they are lying. We all follow our social contracts, whether we want to admit it, or not. You tell me I’m clever, I tell you you’re charming and amusing. If I secretly think you are a hypocrite, I will tell you that you are ‘diplomatic’. We develop our people pleasing talents to avoid conflict. That’s how we manage to get along. That’s how pathetic we are.
But that is not the only reason we lie. We need to deceive ourselves a little, just as much as we want to mislead others about how we truly are. We in fact want to come across as ‘nice’. We know what the alternative is, and nobody choses to openly be an asshole or a bitch.
Being impertinent could render us to become very lonely. So, we are polite to people, as that is how we secretly want them to treat us. We are wimps, and we’d better accept it. We would do everything not to be lonely. We cannot say what we think, as loneliness could be our punishment.
Think about your lies. I mean, your life. What does it amount to? Are you cautious with offending people? Have you been able to lie enough to yourself, to make yourself believe that all is going well? That you love your family, that you love your friends? That you love your job, even?
You hate your job. Admit it. You might even hate your family, albeit that this will be harder for you to admit.
We work hard to not tell the truth, or to keep our mouths shut, because we don’t want to drive away everyone who might care for us. That is because we have this delusion that there is anyone out there that truly appreciates us. It is just a survival instinct, because we can’t deal with the idea that there is nobody in the whole wide world who gives a damn about us. I will recap for the slow people: there is nobody out there that gives a shit about you. Better learn to accept it.
We want people to tell us that ‘all is going to be fine’, when things look gloomy. We actually want to be lied to, because the truth disheartens us and a lie is more comforting. These platitudes are killing us. But we want to be killed. Everything is better than being alive and knowing the truth.
That is why we rather have people say “Have a nice day!”, while they don’t actually care, than them being sincere, and look right through us.
The funny thing is that it becomes a knee-jerk reaction. As kids we often tell the truth, calling other children ugly, or stupid, or uncool. Soon we start to notice that this is not taken very well by the one that we say it to. So slowly – ever so slowly – most of us ‘adapt’ and after a while we acquire the skill to say what we want to say in a more subtle way. We fake our entire adult lives, as natural born liars.
That said, I believe we should try to find some balance in the tactfulness. In my experience people do not like it very much, when you treat them like they’re stupid. Basically that is what lying to people is; you deem the person you tell stories to, to be stupid enough to get away with whatever dishonesty you throw at them.
But how can we stop it? How are we going to put an end to this habit of politeness? It has become an inbuilt feature to lie to everyone and to invite others to lie to us. We so much hate the truth, that we have replaced harsh realities with comforting white lies.
Still, would you not expect that in a grown-up society we can be more honest to one another? That we should not need to sweet-talk people, just to get things done or to get some positive attention?
That doesn’t mean that we actively have to strive to offend people. It just means that we should be able to be sincere, to speak the truth, without having to apologize all the time.
Not trying to please everyone should not be seen as a crime against humanity. It should be seen as the greatest compliment, actually.
Because since I’m being sincere and outspoken towards you, it means I respect you and validate your intelligence.
Simple as that.
© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg