Thursday, November 12, 2009

The truth is overrated

I used to tell the truth, but it was always getting me in trouble. For example, you know how women always ask their friends "Do these jeans make my ass look big?" Well, back in the day, I would be the one fool friend who would actually say, "Why yes they do" when they did (usually adding a guilty "sorry" afterward). As a result of this kind of truth telling, I lost a lot of friends.

Similarly, when clients or prospective clients would ask me what I "honestly" thought of their website or some article or press release or blog post they wrote -- earnestly asking me to give them "my honest opinion" -- I did. And if it happened that their website or article or press release or blog post sucked, I told them so (albeit using more professional language and pointing out any bright spots, if there were any). And guess what? I lost a lot of gigs.

So, after years of truth telling, and getting kicked in the teeth for it, I have finally learned what Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) had to explain to Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) in A Few Good Men: You [people] can't handle the truth. Oh you say you want to hear the truth, but what you really want is affirmation or confirmation -- to be told whatever it is you want to hear, just like that guy Bernie Madoff and those two Bear Stearns guys, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, told their clients... right before they lost all those clients' money.

Want to make friends and win clients? Tell 'em what they want to hear, the truth be damned.

I've even been practicing, so next time you ask me for my honest opinion, I'll be ready. Don't I think your kid is the cutest/smartest/funniest kid ever? "I absolutely agree! [Insert name of a child] is adorable/a genius/a natural-born comedian!" Want my opinion on your little operation? "Really, you had your boobs done?! No, no. They look totally natural." Had no idea your husband was cheating on you and can I believe it? "I'm totally shocked and surprised!" What do I really think of your new website? "Wow. I'm speechless." And your ass? "It looks great in those jeans!"

What's that I hear you say? Lying is WRONG. And I am setting a bad example for little J-THREE-O? (Hangs head.)

Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe you and the Thompson Twins are right.

From here on out, I promise to be truthier. Would I lie to you?


Anonymous said...

Totally agree, my dear.

Although I'm squarely in the majority here, a lie could get me out of harm's way, make me appear kind and sweet with the ladies, and even delivered the odd raise or two. Can truth say that?

Dave S. said...

(Runs crying out of comments section)

Verification word "onshe" which is "eleven" in Spanish for Drunkards.

EMM said...

Hmmm. I'm in sales and have learned how to spin things (ethically) so as to not lie.

I feel guilty if I do lie (raised Catholic) and you never know when something will come back and bite you in the ass, or send you to hell.

Truthfully, loved the post and the videos.

GSA said...

I’m surprised it took you so long to wake up.

J. said...

@EMM, I'm with you on both counts.