Last weekend I was at a housewarming party with friends I know pretty well, but don't see very often. This type of friend actually turns out to be quite a challenge, because when they what's new, my answer is always the same:
"Nothing new. Working."
I brainstormed cooler things I could say to these friends to paint my life as something different than a flat line:
- I'm going to navigate the African plains
- I'm going to bushwhack the Amazon rainforest
- At least I have plans to travel somewhere exotic that would require immunization
Meeting people can feel like an advertising campaign. You accentuate the good and minimize the bad. So, stretching the truth is a tough balance. You want to have a good enough story to engage someone, but if you make it too good, they will be disappointed when it turns out to not be true. Setting the bar low might work-when you start dating you turn out better than advertised. But if you set the bar too low in the beginning, then that love interest may not want to follow up and get to know more about you.
I've stretched the truth and even planned lies in my past dating adventures. Here are some examples:
Lie: I'm in a band
The Truth: I've been playing guitar for quite a while, and I know I can back it up if a girl wants to see me play. But I can't back it up if she asks to hear a CD that my "band" put together. The fact of the matter is that I've had plans to record music, but it's never come into fruition. All of the bands I've been in pretty much practiced, talked about the future, and fizzled out.
Lie: I'm Jewish (planned lie)
The Plan: When I was in college I had a crush on a Jewish girl. But her friends told me she was only into dating Jewish guys. There had to be some way around this. I was a young, positive-minded hot shot. Maybe I could pretend I was Jewish. Because of my appearance, perhaps I could pass for part Israeli.
I enlisted some Jewish friends as "coaches", learning all of the holidays and traditions. The only time I hit a snag was when I considered whether I'd actually have to eat the Kafilta fish-salty dried fish (I don't do fish) some day if I ever dated this girl. Eventually, I thought better of faking my religion-seems like there could be some bad karma, and plenty that could go terribly wrong, with that one.
Lie: I Played Division I College Soccer
The Truth: I was recruited to University of Delaware (hardly a soccer powerhouse) to play soccer. For the two-week tryout, I was basically on the team. However, I ignored the workout regimen the coaching staff had sent me, unless getting wasted at the beach all Summer was on there somewhere (it wasn't). On top of this, I called the coach during tryouts to ask for a day off because I misunderstood something he said-I thought he said we could do that if we needed to. Oops. I always feel like I need a day off. So, when I say I "played soccer at Delaware," I kind of did. But I never made the team for real.
Lie: I work with dolphins
My friends and I developed a theory that anything associated with dolphins makes women happy. We would go out with the line all set: "I am in the sciences-I do a lot of work with dolphins." If we really wanted to lay it on thick, we would talk about saving a baby dolphin that had strayed into the bay (seems like when anything cute and whale-like strays into a bay it gets sick). Problem is: the closest I've ever been to a dolphin is attending a show at Sea World, and I didn't even sit in the "splash section".
The grandiose lies do impress, but when it comes time to back that lie up, I haven't recorded the album, attained the advanced degree, or known that famous relative I claimed to have. So, my thinking is that lying can only lead to disaster, but slightly stretching the truth might be doable. If first impressions are indeed everything, it might be prudent to refrain from including a lie as part of that first impression.
Have you ever told a lie to, or been lied to by a love interest while getting to know each other? Do you think relationships can recover if someone lies in the beginning to appear more attractive? How about if someone just stretches the truth?