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LYING FOR A LIVING

Pride thusly wounded, a question:

My husband travels for work.  He’s gone every week, and it’s hard enough being lonely, but now I’m being tortured by my friends.  I have had 3 different friends in the past week ask me if I trust him while he’s gone.  Don’t they realize how hurtful their question is?  Of course I trust him.  What should I say to just shut them up?

LISTEN:

This is a great game, I mean question.  Two questions – first –

Yes, they realize exactly how hurtful their question is.  That’s why they ask it!  They enjoy inflicting pain on other people, and they enjoy sowing misery and discord.  Since you’re asking about this, I’m making the overall assumption that these are not well meaning friends concerned about a pattern you’ve revealed to them – mysterious business trips, random phone calls, unknown credit card charges, etc., – right?

No, they’re just being assholes.  Stop associating with them immediately.  Oh, or just wait … wait for the next time they ask … then you get to do the Best.  Thing.  Ever…

Answer a question with a question.

Socrates got it right, baby – the key is to ask intentional probing questions, ones that both challenged the assumptions of the question and expose the biases of the original questioner.

“Xenophon sure is gone and awful lot, Philesia – how do you know he doesn’t have a little somethin’ somethin’ over in Ionia?  I would never trust my husband to be gone all the time.”

“Xanthippe, why are you questioning my husband’s honor?”

You say this with an open, authoritative tone of voice – one that suggests that you’re open to the truth, but will countenance no gossip or idle speculation.  Other variations include “Why in the world would you ask such a thing,” or “What exactly do you mean?”  Feel free to narrow your eyes for dramatic effect.  They’re after drama, after all, so go ahead and give them a little taste.  “How did you decide to accuse my husband of adultery?”

“I wasn’t!  I didn’t!!” the lying bitch will lie.  “I was just asking questions!”

“I trust Xenophon completely,” you then add, without a note of hesitation.  “I hope that’s good enough for you.”

Then stop associating with these people.  I mean, seriously?  Seriously?  You’re going to invest your time and precious energy, of which I’m sure you have a boundless supply, to those who cast aspersions on your husband, by proxy your relationship and ultimately you and your judgment?  It’s the cultivation of a rotten heart and soul.

Believe me – you’re better off alone.

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