Deception has become part of human relationships. We once had truth and lies. Now we have truths, lies and other statements that we consider to be too mild to be called lies but that are actually not truths. So, I’d say they are lies?
Consciously or unconsciously, people do say a myriad of things to one another that are not true or that they are not certain to be true. And to put it quite bluntly, the majority of people are not entirely disconnected to reality therefore they consciously choose to say what they say, especially when they say it repeatedly, sorry.
People say they want things they do not want, people say they feel things they do not feel and neither they nor others consider that to be problematic, deceitful and morally wrong. As they are not deemed relevant enough, they fall under the 3rd category and are justified with sentences like ‘It wasn’t exactly a lie, I was caught up in the moment’ or ‘it wasn’t exactly a lie, I thought I felt it but I have come to realise I just don’t’.
And as in politics, we all act like that is acceptable. It is not acceptable. Deceiving others, misleading them, lying to them to achieve a certain objective – or not to achieve any objective at all – is not acceptable. And excusing such behaviour under the banner of ‘miscommunication’ is not acceptable neither. And forgiving such behaviour when someone says ‘well, actually that wasn’t exactly real’ and responding to it with an ‘at least it was honest’ is not acceptable neither. People should not be given a pat on the back when they finally say something that is truthful. That is the minimum we should expect and demand from each other.
How has deception become so widespread, casual and acceptable? I am pretty sure there is an array of people studying this issue fully resourced with questionnaires, interviews, study groups, historical analysis, sociological and psychological studies, etc. I’d say that one of the reasons is that deception appears to come without consequence. And when something is inconsequential, people just go at it like wild weeds take over a strawberry field.
Of course, sometimes we do think we feel something at a given moment that we end up realizing we actually don’t. In those cases, please, start by processing your feelings to be sure they’re there before voicing them out loud to another person, measure the impact of your words – words are incredibly powerful -, and be mindful of the feelings of others.
And if you do end up saying that you want something you don’t or that you feel something you don’t, recognize it, own it, take responsibility, apologise, and don’t do it again.