Last month we talked about whether to divulge everything that occurs during the course of the day in “To Tell or Not to Tell.”
I’ve always been intrigued by the notion of someone “telling a story,” “a little white lie,” “a tall tale,” or my childhood favorite, “a fib.”
Perhaps my intrigue is because I use to use all of the above quite frequently. But that’s a story for another time. Today I’m interested in the validity of the “fib” in a relationship, so I decided the best place to start is with the word itself.
The handy Apple Dictionary program defines “fib” as “a lie, typically an unimportant one.” Well, that led to the next logical question, how is a “lie” defined? A “lie” is defined as, “an intentionally false statement.” Then the real definition of a “fib” is “an intentionally false, unimportant statement.” Interesting.
For the purpose of being thorough, I decided to check a few more sources. Wikipedia says it’s, “A form of lying that is usually forgiven because it is not intended to deceive.” And Merriam-Webster says, “a trivial or childish lie.”
Well if the false statement is about something that is trivial or unimportant, then why not just tell the truth? Why would you risk the breach of trust over something so insignificant?
Well, in reality, we’re simply not wired that way. No one wants to get “in trouble” with their spouse. We do tend to excuse things that are small in nature, especially if infidelity or finances are not involved.
The question becomes where is the line between lie and fib:
- “Honey, did you eat some of my ice cream?”
- “Babe, have you gone over your allowance?”
- “Uh, are those black heels new? I don’t remember seeing them before?”
- “Who did you go to lunch with today?”
- “Did you stop at the mall on the way home?”
- “Are you sticking to your diet? I thought I smelled chocolate on your breath.”
- “How long did you sleep after I left?”
My favorite way to avoid the fib is to simply respond as if I didn’t hear my wife. I simply say, “Huh?” She can be standing right next to me and my response is still, “Huh?” After 1 or 2 of these replies she looks at me and depending on the matter either laughs or rolls her eyes.
In fact, we may now have a good indicator of whether something rises to the level of a lie or a fib. We’ll call it the “Huh?” test. If you can respond with, “Huh?” and no further explanation is needed then it’s a fib. If the matter requires a tad more explaining and potentially legal representation, then perhaps you’re in the lie category and at that point all bets are off.
Let me know how the “Huh” test works.
Rev. Robinson – “Love God, Love People”