Lying is more than just an ethical misstep. Deceit gobbles up energy while inducing emotional and mental stress. And while you might think fudging the truth is sometimes necessary, guilt can creep in, ruffling your spiritual feathers. So before you weave a tangled web, try these tips for sticking to the facts:
- Swap shoes. Philosopher and theologian Augustine of Hippo said, “I know many who have deceived but I know no one who wishes to be deceived.” Before launching into a lie, consider your reaction if the tables were turned. It’s easy to discard or justify dishonesty if you’re doling out the fib, but think twice about how you’d feel on the receiving end; the shift in perspective may encourage more truth.
- Assume a charitable stance. The truth doesn’t have to be in your face. If you need to redirect a misguided friend, lead the conversation with positives, and use I messages to convey your feelings (ex. Red is a great color on you; I feel like that yellow shirt isn’t as flattering).
- Hold your tongue. Withholding the truth is not necessarily the same as remaining quiet until you have all the facts. If you’re unsure of an answer or feel your real story lacks substance, don’t be tempted to contrive one. Sometimes the best approach is simply silence.