As part of our “Love Essentially” series, Jackie Pilossoph helps us navigate the complex world of relationships. Have a question that you would like her to answer ? Contact her here, and it may be featured in an upcoming article!
The other night, my 18-year-old son came home from an outdoor get-together, and while telling me about how much fun he had, he added, “Don’t worry Mom, I wore a mask.”
Do I suspect he was lying? No, but do I think he and every single one of his friends wore masks the entire time? Maybe, maybe not. I hope they did, but I guess I’ll never know, just as I’ll never know the details of the gathering. But like so many other parents of teenagers, I sometimes think that’s probably for the best. What good does the added stress do? Making sure we openly communicate, and that we are honest with each other in the larger picture is really all I can control.
Let’s talk about honesty. One of the worst things someone can do to a person they love—a child, a sibling, a parent, a friend or a spouse is lie. Hiding the truth or deceiving someone can shatter a relationship in a heartbeat, and can cause irreparable damage.
That said, there are some lies, like, “Don’t worry Mom, I wore a mask,” that are fairly harmless. I’m not minimizing the importance of wearing a mask, but there’s a big difference in a little white lie versus a lie that could be devastating and life altering to a loved one.
Here are 15 common relationship lies and lines. Most of these won’t hurt anyone too much, and some are actually funny. Any of these sound familiar?
1. It was on sale.
This lie takes away stress, mostly from parents and husbands. Thinking the spender got a good deal makes the financer feel better about the purchase.
2. He/she’s just a friend.
This lie is told when someone doesn’t want to discuss his or her love life with you. Even if you know it’s a lie, take a hint.
3. I’m two minutes away.
People say this when they are late. If the person is driving, it might cause them to speed, which can be dangerous. But the lie isn’t. It is said to let your loved one know you will be there soon.
4. I’m going to the mall. I’ll only be gone for about an hour.
She doesn’t even realize she is lying, so in effect, she is lying to herself. Harmless.
5. Please don’t buy me jewelry.
Women love jewelry. Period. Maybe she doesn’t want to stress you out financially, but trust me, you cannot lose by buying jewelry for a woman for any occasion, no matter what she tells you.
6. I love your mother.
The in-law relationship might be one of the most difficult, so if someone says this and you know it’s not true, he or she is either trying to be funny and lighten the mood, or wants you to feel secure, committed and loved.
7. Quarantining with you was actually fun.
The stay-at-home order was a huge lifestyle change for most people, and although some couples might have enjoyed parts of it, it probably tested a lot of relationships. Saying it was a positive experience might be his or her way of saying “We managed to get through it and I still love you.”
8. I love going out for dinner on a Saturday night with other couples.
This is what someone might say to make his or her spouse happy. Healthy relationships are about giving, compromising and being selfless. But let’s get real. Sometimes after a long week of work, people just want to sit on the couch on watch a movie on Saturday night.
9. Have you lost weight?
Want to make someone feel great? This is how. It’s a really nice lie, especially if you know the person has been making the effort to eat healthy and get physically fit.
10. I’m sure he’ll call.
This is what your best girlfriend will say to you after you’ve gone out on a date with a man who hasn’t been in touch. She will add things like, “Maybe he’s out of town,” or “Maybe he’s with his kids.” Whatever the case, she doesn’t want you to be unhappy so she will tell you this lie.
11. I will never get married again.
This is a lie that divorced people often say because they are hurt, and the wounds from their marriage are still raw. I can’t count the number of divorced men and women who swore they would never remarry, and then fell madly in love and had a huge wedding.
12. I just need some time.
Translation: I just need to break up with you and I don’t have the guts to say that. It’s a lie that can give people false hope and prevent them from moving on. Bottom line—it’s a selfish lie.
13. Maybe there’s something wrong with my phone.
Sometimes the best excuse for not taking someone’s call or returning the call is to claim you didn’t get a notification or a voicemail message, and that it’s got to be your phone. It’s a lie told for the purpose of not hurting someone, but you’re not fooling anyone. Everyone knows how slim the odds are that your phone is malfunctioning.
14. I promise, I won’t say a word to anyone.
Two scenarios: either the person has good intentions of staying silent and then caves, or they cannot wait to call and tell someone. It’s a lie that can really hurt people.
15. Let’s get together soon.
Someone recently said this to me and I was shocked because we have a long history of distrust. I felt like responding, “Sounds good, Liar!” This is just a nice thing to say to make someone feel good, and in certain instances, a fitting end to a conversation. Try adding, “I really mean it.” In these socially challenging days, the person will appreciate it. If it’s not a lie, that is.
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Jackie Pilossoph is a former television journalist and newspaper features reporter. The author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially, Pilossoph is also the creator of the divorce support website, Divorced Girl Smiling. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers.