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Little White Lies Are Still Lies

We believe everything Carol Graham says. She would let you know you have spinach in your teeth and would never lie about your new haircut. Honestly, we love her and think you should visit her on her blog, Battered Hope, and those are no little white lies.

How do you feel about people who lie to you? I don’t mean the big lies, just those tiny ones that don’t really seem to matter. Or do they? Saying things we really do not mean is often more of a habit than an intention to hurt someone.

These are a few of my least favorite little white lies:

“I’ll be in touch.”  

If I tell someone I am going to stay in contact with them, I make a note of it right then and there. Sometimes it means sending them a quick email to see when we can get together or to see what’s new in their lives. Making the friendly gesture is only the first step. Keeping in touch is quite another.

I have heard those words so often and then wonder why they never call. Did they forget? Do they not care? It reminds me of the phrase after a first date “I’ll call you.” You know they don’t have the slightest intention of calling so WHY waste their breath by saying they will? Is it to appease the listener at the moment? It is just as easy to say goodbye as it is to say you will be in touch.

“Call me if you need me.” 

For most of us, it is not easy to ask for help. But if you need it, it is nice to know there is someone you can call. If they don’t return the call, you can try again and if that fails, believe me, it is quite safe to assume that person is avoiding you. Let it go.

“You look great!”

Didn’t wash my hair in a couple days, ran to the grocery store sans makeup. Come on, are you blind? Wouldn’t it better to say nothing? Allow me to wonder if you noticed how bad I really looked.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” 

When this is genuine, it is sincerely appreciated, But how often is that? If someone bears their soul to me, they need to know I will follow through and encourage them. I will make every effort to call them, stay in touch, or do whatever it takes to make them realize they are not alone and I really did mean those words.

“Love your outfit.” 

You are really thinking it makes her look fat or old or both. You wonder why a store would sell that and why your friend would even consider buying it. This is an especially tough one if she ASKS what you think of her new outfit. You could risk being honest and upset your friend. You could say something lame like “It’s a good color on you.” Or you could fake a coughing frenzy and motion that you need water – NOW!

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

This one makes my skin crawl. It is something I cannot bring myself to say to anyone. It is so empty and insinuates that if I am worrying, I can’t be happy. I know many people, including myself, who have gone through unbelievable circumstances with their heads held high. My attitude is a choice and I can choose to put on a happy front and meet challenges head on — but deep down I may be worried out of my skull. I am fully aware that worry accomplishes little to nothing and that 95% of what we worry about never happens. But it is like a slap in the face for anyone to tell me to be happy when I may be in the middle of a crisis. That does not mean I have to be miserable while I am processing whatever is going on but I need TIME. This is the image I prefer to portray — no one needs to know I am worrying.

Have I become calloused or am I not as naive anymore? I was taught and also taught my children to be a person of their word. If I say I am going to do something, then I had better do it. If for some reason I can’t, then I let that person know – I face it. Much easier in the long run.

Do you agree? Can you think of other things we say that we really don’t mean?

Carol Graham

Carol Graham is the author of a fast-paced award-winning memoir, Battered Hope, the blog Never Ever Give Up Hope, and a regular contributor to numerous blog sites. She has a monthly column in Book Fun Magazine and has been published in several anthologies including a best-seller. In 2015, Carol received the Woman of Impact Award from Focus on Women Magazine and Author of the Year for her memoir, Battered Hope. Carol hosts a bi-weekly talk show Never Ever Give Up Hope in which she interviews people with remarkable stories of how they conquered overwhelming obstacles and achieved success. Never Ever Give Up Hope has an international audience in over 70 countries. In addition to motivational speaking, hosting a talk show and writing, Carol is a business owner, a wife, mother, grandmother and together with her husband have rescued over 30 dogs.

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Vishal Bheeroo

Sunday 14th of August 2016

The first two lies are so true and people say it, makes me wonder, how many times in a day. Well said, Carol.

Carol Graham

Sunday 14th of August 2016

You are so right -- we say things as a habit or without thinking. Thank you Vishal

Vidya Sury

Saturday 13th of August 2016

Carol, what an enjoyable read and so true! I've experienced all of it and here's one of my pet peeves: people who say "please come home" and don't ever tell you where they live. I know someone who did this for 12 years. He he he. I do believe it was unintentional, but hey! Another lousy thing is making a "promise" to call or meet and forgetting it the next instant. That's disgusting. They won't even cringe when you ask them and they answer "i forgot".

Carol Graham

Sunday 14th of August 2016

I agree Vidya. Another one I hate is when they say "I'll leave a review for your book." You never see it. In other words, what you are saying is this -- if you are going to SAY something to someone, why can't you follow through, right?

Carol Graham

Saturday 13th of August 2016

Judicious -- now that's a good way to put it -- bowing out, that is. LOL Thanks for sharing your thoughts Diane.


Saturday 13th of August 2016

I never make a promise I can't keep. It would shred me to pieces to do that. I remember a time when I promised a grandson I would so something (Can't remember what it was now) and his parents showed up early and insisted on his coming with them at once. It was a terrible time for both of us. However, I have been known to try to be judicious when someone's hairdo or outfit is , , , less than flattering.

Carol Graham

Monday 8th of August 2016

Thank you for posting this Midlife Boulevard. I wrote it and still enjoyed reading it here!

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