I know that we all misrepresent the truth at times. I know that there are time when I have not told "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God". I also know that a lie is a lie, no matter how small (to borrow from Dr. Suess).
I know it is human nature to divert and blame. Adam and Eve started that process in the Garden. I understand the impulse to embellish rather than face the consequences. I understand the instinct to protect yourself from ramifications of a previous bad decision. I also realize that people often distort the truth to make themselves look better (been to any dating sites recently?)
But blatant, bold faced lies--about unimportant things--just doesn't make sense to me. This week, I was in the company of women who had worked together for more than a half a decade. *
One woman (Jill) traded staplers with the other (Mary) without checking in first. Several people knew about the exchange, and it made sense. Jill is in the office more often than Mary. Jill's stapler wasn't working. It would have been easy to explain--or return the stapler. Instead, when Mary realized her stapler wasn't working, she asked the office (nobody in particular) if someone had traded out her stapler. Jill immediately denied trading staplers. After Mary tried a few more times, Jill offered to let her borrow her stapler. When Mary looked at the stapler, she recognized it as hers.
Instead of 'fessing up, Jill decided to divert. "Oh...that is my stapler! I wonder what happened. I was having trouble with my stapler. I told the secretary I was having trouble with my stapler. Maybe she switched it out to see if it was the stapler or the staples that was causing the problem. I guess she forgot to switch them back."
I sat their flabbergasted! Jill could have just confessed and said that she borrowed it because hers wasn't working. What did it benefit her to lie? How did it help to continue the lie? Can I believe anything Jill says?
*Names and details have been changed for anonymity.