Life certainly has a few hard riddles as I found out recently again. I was just accused of always telling the truth. Yes, your heard right, I was accused!
I was totally dumbfounded and felt an urge to leave the suddenly not so illustrious company I was in.
I recall how you drilled us children to tell the truth. If we were caught telling a lie there was punishment waiting in the wings: early curfews, going-out privileges revoked, pocket-money cut, and – the worst of it- long dissertations on the merits of truth telling.
From all these lectures I took one principle, which made the most sense to me at the time: If you don’t lie you don’t have to remember what you lied to whom about what.
Being essentially lazy that really indicated to me and I conducted my life accordantly, not always faring too well. Unfortunately you forgot to tell me that it would be occasionally wise to withhold information when not asked for. That lesson I had to learn the hard way, after I had made some scrambled eggs of it for a while.
Nevertheless, one still has to look where withholding becomes lying. Ordinarily the common courtesies, good manners and so on should be enough of a guideline but in real life it does not play out that way. Especially in business there is a huge grey area.
As you know I conduct business in Canada as well as Germany and a few other European countries. It often is a bit of a cakewalk dealing with all these different cultures. There are so many common denominators and then there are these unfamiliar idiosyncrasies.
It is a good thing that you also told me that talking is silver and silence is gold. So I at least learned early on to listen. But it is still not always easy to know when not to tell the truth or anything at all.
In business it appears to be totally accepted to- let’s say- stretch the truth endlessly. Aren’t exaggerations lies too, or understating a problem?
But aside from lying as a normal occurrence what irks me the most is when unrelated bits enter into the equation, like someone having a position with relative importance to a situation, who then plays a personal card like: I have a friend who does not like you, so I don’t like you either because………Feel free to fill in any nonsense: your nose is too long, you do not like red wine, you drink tea, the weather is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry…..
Murky waters as you can see, Mom. Be glad you are no longer in business! You would have a very hard time not being able to tell the truth.
But then, if I know you right, you would anyway, just to show that it still can be done!
And Mom, thanks for a great Thanksgiving dinner. It was grand, as always!
I’ll be back for more of your magic in December.
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