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Truth about lies

published: 2009-08-27

There’s a fine line between exaggeration and lying. A high school friend of mine was always good at exaggerating. Her fantasy would take her for a run.
Sometimes, her accounts of things we had experienced together made me wonder whether I’d been sleeping. I missed out on most of the starry details she added. Back then it was charming, when we were young. But in time, her exaggerations came to stand between us. How do you trust someone who lies? Trust is the basis of a good friendshhip, or so it seems. Actually, it’s not.
I realized this last night, when that high school friend came over for dinner. We hadn’t seen each other in years. Listening to her initially confused me as it did back then, and then irritated me. But why, I wondered?
So after chilling out a little, I decided I’d just take her and her stories as they were. And in doing so I entered on a miraculous adventure with her. Animatedly, she told me about her personal assistant, and how she had joined a conglomorate of industrial designers. They in turn have hired 20 or so odd graphic designers to work for them. I clapped my hands in excitement at the dream of her actually living the success story. But life has its setbacks too. She’s fought her way through boughts of cancer, chemotherapy, miscarriages and depressions. Those stories had me feeling sad. Recently she’s been fainting a lot. It turns out her heart rate is almost always below 40, even when climbing the Grand Canyon. They tested her for a full day in hospital. As of monday a “unit” will be attached to her in order to monitor what’s going on. She joked around saying, “I’m going to look like a scuba diver.” By then she had me laughing and crying.
During dessert, she went to the toilet. It took a while so I knocked on the door asking whether she was okay. Had she fainted? “Oh no,” she said, “just studying your calender.”
On leaving, I held on to her as long as I could. Stay exactly as you are, I thought. You are entitled to your stories. Friendship is not about trust. It is about dignity.

3 Responses to “Truth about lies”

  1. Thomas says:

    @alief There’s always this internal argument going on regarding the value of some friendships. Why do I remain friends with people who seemingly add nothing to my life? They are unreliable and cannot be depended upon. When the fit hits the shan in my life they are generally nowhere to be found. Yet I get a lot of satisfaction from their company. My argument is always the same. I know the boundaries of their reliability and I accept them as they are. I trust them to be true to character and to act accordingly. I have no expectations other than they will be there for a good time when there are no fires to put out. They are unique in their approach to life and generally I feel that they need me to listen to them. It’s good to feel needed. Does this happen at the expense of my dignity? Does it affect theirs?

  2. alief says:

    @Thomas No, I think this approach is a dignified one. And realistic. But it does have me wondering: if your friends are nowhere to be found when shit hits the fan, who do you turn to?

  3. Thomas says:

    @Aleif It pays to have a lot of friends;-) Reliable and unreliable ones.

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