Do you lie?

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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Do you lie?

Post by fiby41 »

We know that, for the most part, for the most of us, our lifestyles and choices are sometimes different than people around us, especially those separated by Wheaton levels, and it can be difficult to explain why to others. There is also the risk of being judged or written off as losers or something similar.

Lying seems an easy way out instead of making other people uncomfortable about their choices. It is atleast better than shutting people out completely.

But then you will have to maintain a persona that is half a facade which is tedious. Do you lie? Under what circumstances is it okay to lie?

OTOH there are also the sayings 'the straight tree gets chopped first' or 'ghee can not be extracted with a straight finger.'

How does this relate to FI? Would you consciously tell a lie which you wouldn't have to justify later if it'd help you get closer to FI, for eg, get a job, make a friend, etc?

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by saving-10-years »

Isn't lying shutting other people out?

I assume you are not broadcasting about your lifestyle so anyone having a conversation with you about it, or enquiring about it would (I assume) have genuine interest in you or your life. Why lie to them? Unless you feel that their interest is a lie?

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by Bankai »

fiby41 wrote:Lying seems an easy way out instead of making other people uncomfortable about their choices. It is atleast better than shutting people out completely.
I think NOT making people uncomfortable about their choices is the key. It's often better not to answer or give a genuine but not judgmental answer. Some examples:

- What did you watch on telly last night?
- I don't really watch telly much as I'm too busy.
NOT: I don't really watch telly much because I don't have a TV set and I have gazillion better things to do with my life and I consider everyone who watches telly habitually a looser. Btw do you realize average person in this country spends 3h a day watching telly? That's over 1000 hours per year that could be spent learning a productive skill, like cooking, woodworking or cutting hair. You should consider quitting telly altogether and follow my example.

- What did you buy your wife for her birthday?
- Well, we stopped exchanging gifts some time ago as we decided we pretty much already have everything we want. So this year I just made her feel special by cooking her dinner / singing songs / whatever.
NOT: You have to realize that habit of exchanging even £50 gift once a year requires £3300 capital to support indefinitely. Which means working another 3 months with my current withdrawal rate. I believe getting even more stuff under our roof is not worth spending additional 520 hours in here (work). Besides, we love each other and we show this to each other every day, so we don't need to splash money once a year just to remind the other person we love them.

I realize those are kinda exaggerated, however I can imagine neophyte ERE person with negative emotional intelligence actually replying in this manner. Now, both alternative answers are correct / true, but what do you gain by telling the whole story? As per 48 Laws of Power, most of the times it's better to say less than to say more. Not alienating colleagues at work doesn't require lying. It just requires some common sense and realizing that you are not obliged (and it's not in your best interest) to tell them absolutely everything.

Some people are so irrational that they treat every difference in lifestyle as attack on their ego. Those are best avoided.
fiby41 wrote:But then you will have to maintain a persona that is half a facade which is tedious.
This is one of the most problematic things about lying. Whenever you decide to tell a lie, you have to (or at least should) keep a mental note of this. It gets more problematic the more you lie, as you you need to keep a note of whom you told what. Eventually you'll be caught and get in trouble. It's very mentally taxing and not worth it. Not lying is a form of minimalism - less things to worry about.
fiby41 wrote:Do you lie?
I almost never lie, however sometimes (like twice a year) I tell a small lie. This happens when I'm asked something unexpectedly and I give an answer automatically, without taking my time to think first. I regret it as soon as I hear myself saying it. Those are the inconsequential things, like: "I'm quite tired as I did 100 push ups" (when in fact I only did 80). Is this my system 1 response aimed at making me feel better about myself and at the same time make my interlocutor think better of me? It fails both - I actually feel worse about myself while the other person forgets what I said within few minutes anyway. I think most lies people tell are of this sort - i.e. people exaggerating to satisfy their ego. Not being too attached to your ego in the first place might help here, as might reading stoics.
fiby41 wrote:Under what circumstances is it okay to lie?
I agree with Harry Browne on this one - when you higher value is on stake, i.e. life of a family member.
fiby41 wrote:How does this relate to FI? Would you consciously tell a lie which you wouldn't have to justify later if it'd help you get closer to FI, for eg, get a job, make a friend, etc?
Building a friendship on a lie doesn't sound like a solid plan to me.

Job situation is a bit more tricky - You'd have to consider consequences, i.e. what if they find out? would you be willing to maintain the lie (possibly for years)? etc. I personally wouldn't, but you could probably try to justify it by saying that due to higher wage it will save you this many hours of work hence your life (or at least a chunk of it) is at stake. But then again, you could probably try to justify anything this way.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by jennypenny »

fiby41 wrote: 'ghee can not be extracted with a straight finger'
What does that expression mean?

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by fiby41 »

jennypenny wrote:
fiby41 wrote: 'ghee can not be extracted with a straight finger'
What does that expression mean?
By being too straightforward, it is difficult to get things done. By opening up all your cards, you risk being taken advantage of.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by GandK »

Lying is about fear. Fear of upsetting someone, fear of losing dominance, fear of bad consequences, fear of creating a situation that's uncomfortable for either yourself or someone else, etc. It is an avoidance tactic that some people employ when they don't want to deal with something that they see as negative.

Consider the following lies, and you'll see fear as the root in each case:

"Who spilled this milk?"
My brother did it.

"Why are you late for work?"
There was a wreck on the highway.

"How are you feeling today?"
I feel fine.

"Do I look fat in this dress?"
No, you look great.

I strongly suspect that if you took a poll here, you would find that those of us with a Feeling preference struggle with this much more, because how people feel about a situation can be more real and more important to us than the actual situation (either how we feel or how others feel). That creates a powerful motivation to present a false image if the truth would somehow create waves.

I lied to keep the peace a lot when I was younger. I've since realized that all that effort was wasted, because lies I tell to "make people happy" have almost no effect on their happiness. People are happy or not because of their own choices, not because of what I say. Also, people don't think about you even a tenth as much as you think/worry they do. Everyone is preoccupied with his own life. If you're lying a lot to impress people (because your fear is insecurity), that's wasted effort too. No one cares how cool you are. They care almost exclusively about how cool they are.

So... if lying is how you reflexively deal with fear, and you want to stop, then you will either have to choose another coping mechanism for fear besides lying, or you will have to identify and remove the fear. I recommend the latter.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »


I think this might be even more of a female vs. male thing, rather than F vs. T, because it has to do with cultural training to be "nice." It can be difficult to determine or achieve the difference between being "nice" and being honest, yet kind. Another thing I have to watch out for in myself is the tendency to want to be provocative by stating unpopular truths because I am feeling bored. Kind of the social equivalent of bungee jumping or poking the tiger with a stick or yelling out "The Emperor has No Clothes" and then running, running, running...There are very few psychopathic liars out there, but legions of the severely repressed.

If you describe your lifestyle in a way that makes you seem like you are a human making different choices, rather than a higher being, than you will find much more acceptance. For instance:

Other: "What did you do today"

Me: "I reduced my carbon footprint and sought to absolve myself from the culture of money. You?"

Other: (made to feel guilty and defensive)


Me: "I slacked about quite a bit drinking coffee cut with some chicory I roasted, then I took a walk and picked a pail of mulberries, then I went to the pawn shop and traded one gold ring and one gold earring for two gold earrings and $5, and then I watched a movie on DVD which I found in a dumpster. You?"

Other: (made to feel amused and curious)

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by Scott 2 »

I think everyone commits lies of omission. Doing otherwise creates too much conflict. This is my preference - deflect a question I don't want to answer, share the part of the truth everyone can agree upon. Example - I like how the dress highlights your legs. In the US, I believe it is culturally expected.

Direct lies are too much work, too rigid. I'll probably give off non verbal clues that immediately make the other person uncomfortable or suspicious. I'll definitely forget or get sick of upholding the story over time.

It's always bothered me how comfortable some people seem to be with flexing the truth. I think those in some professions find it necessary, because everyone else is doing it, and the targets are bad at identifying it. Sales and marketing stand out to me. I've opted out of such professions and try to minimize my interactions with those individuals as a result, but I think the behavior might be required.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by ether »

no ;)

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by EdithKeeler »

Sure. I lie all the time. "What a cute baby!!" "I love my job!" "Everything's wonderful!" I think everyone lies. I try not to lie about anything important--most of my lies are to 1) spare the feelings of others. "Damn, that baby's ugly!" 2) to conform to certain expectations, especially when I can't change the issues "Well, my job could be a lot better if management would....." 3) to spare long explanations, or to avoid divulging personal issues "Well, I have this rash on my genitals, and I haven't slept in three days, and I've never been so stressed in my entire life...." I lied to my mother recently about not having a day off, because I knew if she knew I had a day off, she'd expect me to be over there doing stuff. And I needed A DAY OFF, and didn't feel like having yet another difficult conversation. I don't do it often, and I'll probably go to hell, but occasionally I need some "ME" time without having to justify it.

As to lying about stuff related to FI--yeah, I probably lie or omit some stuff. No one needs to know my money bidness. If someone is genuinely curious about something, I'll share, kind of akin to if anyone has questions about my religious faith, I'll share, but I don't foist it on anyone. I'm not quite ready to retire yet, so if someone in management asked me how long I intended to work, I might fib about that, because that could potentially have an effect on my plans (ie, if layoffs were imminent and I'd like a couple more years under my belt). It would NOT be acceptable to lie, say, on an expense report to pad your money to enhance your nut, something like that.

I don't consider it a lie, or even a "sin of omission" to just say "No, I didn't see that on TV' rather than tell the "truth" with a big long explanation "No, i don't have a TV because I think cable is a waste of money and a drug for the stupid masses." The latter is really the truth (ok, my truth), but the former is also the truth.

Really, if you think about it, "What a beautiful baby" isn't necessarily a lie. He's beautiful to his parents. He has a beautiful soul. Easier to say "beautiful baby" than "That Kid's ugly exterior sure doesn't match what I'm sure is a lovely interior, and even though it appears he got hit with the ugly stick and probably won't grow out of it, he'll probably have a nice personality if you guys, as his parents, don't screw him up too badly."

So.... not saying everything in your head is NOT the same thing as lying.

Edited to add: I never tell this lie, relative to FI: "I can't afford it." If I can afford it, anyway. If I CAN afford and just don't want to pay for it, I'll say that. Saying "I can't afford it," when I can seems unnecessarily parsimonious, and to me that's not what FI/ERE is about.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by BRUTE »

ether wrote:no ;)
ether beat brute to it

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by enigmaT120 »

Yeah. But I don't bear false witness against my neighbor.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by Did »

I don't think it's so much about lying as not making a big deal out of your lifestyle, and not trying to convert everyone. Truth is you (ie nobody) has all the answers. There have been threads about this. So for me, I could say, I'm an author, I'm a landlord, I'm a consultant. All true. And less attention seeking than "I'm retired!" which implies a wealth I don't have. It depends on your personality I guess. I was more excitable about it all in the beginning. But most of the time you make an unwelcome fool of yourself so it's best to play things down. Doesn't mean you have to lie.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by BeyondtheWrap »

I am almost always telling the truth if I am talking about the facts of my life.

Where I might lie is if I have to give an opinion on something, because I'm not a person who cares enough to have an opinion about a lot of things (this is the main reason I hated writing papers when I was in school). Opinions are extremely malleable and can change based on how I'm feeling that day or what words I choose to describe something. So if I do give an opinion, it's probably made up, just so that I have something to say in the conversation. I figure, when socializing, people aren't really trying to communicate facts to one another but having a bonding experience based on the sharing of emotions (or something like that).
GandK wrote:"How are you feeling today?"
I feel fine.
This is a lie I tell often, but mostly because I don't have the time or the desire to launch into a monologue about everything wrong with my life to everyone I cross paths with that day. Generally this question is more of a polite greeting anyway.

I also fit much of GandK's description in that I might lie to keep the peace. There's not much that upsets me, but other people being upset makes me uncomfortable. I find it almost unbearable if I am the cause of other people being upset.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by Sclass »

fiby41 wrote:
jennypenny wrote:
fiby41 wrote: 'ghee can not be extracted with a straight finger'
What does that expression mean?
By being too straightforward, it is difficult to get things done. By opening up all your cards, you risk being taken advantage of.
I love it. Thanks for that one.

Yes I lie. People get jealous IRL. It never leads to anything good.

Earlier in the weekend I'd hit a garage sale. Before leaving I slipped my Swiss watch off and put on a Casio. I've got to bend the finger to get that ghee!

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by BRUTE »

mmmm ghee

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by shade-tree »

Truth is pretty subjective. Do I lie? I try not to, but sometimes I really have no idea what a true answer to an ambiguously asked question even is. And I also think that it's fine to leave non essential details out, or frame the answer to meet the needs of the audience as you, @7wannebe5, described so well.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by BRUTE »

question: everything alright?
truthful answer: every living organism will die and there will be nobody left to remember any of it. this rock will continue to float through space for some period of time before even that will come to a stop. eventually, the universe will die a slow heat death. so yea, everything is alright.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by leeholsen »

In relations to FI and using ERE as much as possible to achieve that, i have told no one of my intentions as i have an upwardly mobile family and i would be viewed as a failure if i choose to retire early and just live on what i needed to exist, which i could do today if i lived like jacob.
my dad calls me cheap all the time, and he is pretty thirfty himself; but he doesn't have any idea what i'm saving each month(over 50%) and that i've got one rental house and looking to add two more to provide income to cover expenses after i go FI.

my goal is now to go FI within 5 years on savings accumulated alone or earlier if my investments appreciate enough. when that happens, i'm going to really have to start lying as i'll have the rental houses paying income and a nice emergency stash invested and will be moving to someplace affordable and where i want to spend the rest of my days.
i will flat out be lying to my parents about that because it would be frowned upon in our family to put your life ahead of the almighty dollar. i have thought it out far enough to be even willing to spend 4 days a week dressing up and heading to some starbucks or library 4 days a week if there's a woman in the future expecting me to bring home paychecks routinely. probably when my parents pass, i'll come clean to my siblings; but being in IT since college; i have given up enough nights, weekends and holdiays for work that when the day comes that those are over; i'm out.

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Re: Do you lie?

Post by George the original one »

You have to lie if you play poker.

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