The Naked Truth: Half Truths and Polite Lies

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It’s time again for the Naked Truth where I wax un-poetic about truthful things that are clogging up my brain.  Do you have your own truth to tell?  Feel free to let me hear it.

truth

“We’ll exchange addresses and the kids can be pen pals.”

How many times have any of us said words to that effect?  How many times did we actually mean it?  Are we all just saying the words other people want to hear because it’s proper or polite?

I’ve been thinking back to last June as we let a few people from school know the next day, the last day of school, was also our last day in Bonn.  There were lots of questions about where we were going and why and plenty of “it seems so sudden.”  In ways it was sudden and in others it was not.  But at the end of every conversation was the promise of keeping in touch, letting the kids write and remembering the people we once were aquainted with.

None of those things came true. 

It’s not that I fault people for it, after all I didn’t write either, I didn’t even have the addresses to write.  But how many times do we say things like this without another thought?  Everyone does it.  I’ll say these words once again at the end of the month, and I wonder if I will make them true.  It’s more for the kids sake than mine.  Knowing we wouldn’t be staying here from the day we moved, I didn’t go out of my way to make more than casual aquiantances.  The only person who I consistently have talked through over the years is M, my best friend from middle/high school.  We chat via Facebook, an occasional email or card, and we used to have lunch when I’d go home to visit my parents. (She has since moved out of state)

So throwing out the “we’ll write” phrase of politeness won’t faze me.  But I do wonder if it’s right to say it.  My kids hear that.  Am I sending the wrong message to them by telling a half truth or a polite lie?  What have you done or said in this situation?  Is being polite more important than being honest?  How do we let kids know the difference between polite lies and bad ones?

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9 thoughts on “The Naked Truth: Half Truths and Polite Lies

  1. My kids claim I'm the meanest person on earth because I am apparently unable to politely dispense with the social norms. I typically tell people “Don't call, because I really won't answer the phone, but you're welcome to email.”Such is the life of a curmudgeon.

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  2. Captain: So long as it's a man cave though right?Jessica: I hate the phone. With passion. I never list our phone number in a school directory only my email. I am a writer, yes I am anti-social 🙂

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  3. I only say that stuff when I mean it, but I am now aware that lots of o[people (including family, who I know love us) are really lazy beyond belief. I think FB is lazy enough interms of keeping up, but other people: it's all they can do to answer a phone. Remembering all the digits on a foreign number is beyond them. And I never expect children to stay in touch: if the moms don't like each other enough, no matter how much the children do, it won't happen.So if you like folks, make the effort. If you don't want to expend effort, don't bother and absolutely don't take it personally.

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  4. Just in my local circle I often hear people over use “lets do lunch” or “I'll keep you in my prayers” when usually everyone knows it's just lip service. My youngest son (7 yr old) holds me to things I've said and calls me on it everytime, it's hard to justify to a kid fibbing just to be polite, even when you're just sparring someones feelings.

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  5. I moved, as a child, every year, sometimes more than once. You can't help but say — because parts of you wish it to be true — that you'll keep in touch. And sometimes you do.But if you don't really intend to keep in touch, then I think saying “It's been lovely knowing you. You've been part of my experience here and I'll remember you fondly” is plenty. I do think there might be something to say about NOT saying you'll “keep in touch”, in front of the kids, with people you have no intention of keeping in touch with. My parents did that sometimes, and I do remember thinking that they wouldn't really…Pearl

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