I don’t want to be known as a person who doesn’t keep their promises.

Now, where have I heard that before?  I know.  The person who said it knows.  It was a rash comment made to me in a private meeting sometime in the early days of 2010.  The sentence rings around my head most often at night when I go to bed and in the early hours of the morning if I can’t sleep, like now.  A person who doesn’t fulfil their promises.  A distrustful person.

Lies and untruths, promises made but not kept – trustworthiness, that’s what it boils down to doesn’t it.  If you promise someone faithfully that you’ll do X, or you won’t do Y and then you fail to perform this promise, are you not untrustworthy?  And what happens to the person you have made those promises to?  Well, of course they are hurt, so they tell others what you promised and like the proverbial pebble in the pond, the knowledge of your deceit expands to cover the surface….

I’d like you to think before you tell your little white lie.  Is it a little white lie, or is it in fact a big, fat whopping untruth.  Are you trying to protect someone in telling an untruth, or is it yourself you are trying to shield.

Knowing my circumstances, which readers and spammers of this blog will do, you are probably asking yourself “what about her husband, did he not tell the biggest lie going?”  This question has troubled me since it was first put to me in that interview I gave.  Did my husband lie to me?  Am I one of those gullible prisoner’s wife who gamely continues visiting, time after time, sure in the knowledge that “oh no, he loves me, he won’t do it again”.  I will admit to being gullible (example: if you say the word ‘oranges’ quickly it sounds like gullible…. yes, I tried and tried and it didn’t).  But as I lay awake at night and mentally play pin the blame on another, I cannot think of a single example where my husband lied to me.  And I’m not being artful here, not twisting my own words so he comes out smelling of roses, I never asked or even alluded to the question of how much money he earned as opposed to what we spent/he invested.  Mike did tell me we were worth over £1million – but that jackpot figure only came to life when we were dead, so I took no interest.  We had an estate worth just over a million, but we did not have a million quid in our back pockets.  Why would I be interested in our worth once we were dust?  I wouldn’t benefit from it.  And I don’t have children so I do not have that mindset that plans for future generations.   There’s a topic for another day, does being childless remove the urge to financially plan?

Is this what led to our downfall?  Did someone who spoke those words above need all their money to finance their future generations?  Could they not bear to dilute their pot in case their offspring would go wanting?

But it’s not just money that people are dishonest about.  Some of people tell lies on a daily basis; it’s a habit like smoking.  You just can’t give it up.  You don’t want to give it up, it helps you cope.  You tell a person one thing in the full knowledge that it is a lie, but you get away with it.  They believe you, phew, the addiction is fed.  I wonder if you get the same adrenalin rush that other addictions supply.

Being insincere troubles me because I am just no good at it.  I value my reputation and don’t want to be discovered as a purveyor of untruths.  I struggle to be a liar.  Like the unasked question that hangs over me at my workplace “where is your husband?”  Not a day goes by without me worrying that someone will ask me a direct question and having lost my job as an indirect consequence of revealing this truth, I am unwilling to fall into the same trap.  But I cannot tell a falsehood.  Every time I answer a question that concerns my husband I ask myself what, will the questioner think once the truth is revealed?  I evade questions or meet them head on without supplying details.  I have told a colleague bluntly “my husband is not living at home at the moment” – the answer seemed to suffice.

So you don’t need to lie.  You certainly do not need to promise something that you are never going to produce.  You will be tarnished as a liar once the truth is revealed, and once a liar, always a liar, your reputation will take many years to repair.  The alternative words for a liar are not nice – to be deceitful, to be dishonest, a two-faced person, to be insincere and double-dealing, they are all nasty descriptions that I never want to be used in a sentence together with my name – do you?