Honesty will set you free

Lack of honesty in social encounters is considered good manners in America.
author   by DAZZLES IN GREEN   2019

A lot of foreigners, myself included, consider American people fake and dishonest.

On the surface, Americans come across as nice people. They smile a lot and ask you, “how are you”? But when they ask “how are you” they don’t want to know anything about you or how you feel. So don’t try telling them. They will immediately dislike you for exposing their cultural lie. All they want to hear from you is, “fine, and you?” You are always expected to say “fine” or “ok” even if you are dying from cancer. This kind of behavior is really Anglo-Saxon, but other immigrant groups were socialized into it and behave the same way.

Lie # 1. Lack of honesty in social encounters is considered good manners in America.

Take this frustrating social situation for example. When Americans meet someone and they are about to part, instead of just saying “goodbye” they lie and say “come and see me” or “we must get together”. But they don’t mean it. They don’t want to meet with you again. They just want to come across as nice people who care when they don’t. Many foreigners are fooled by this lie and when the person they met doesn’t follow up they call and try to arrange a meeting, which leads to a lie # 2.

Lie # 2. What happens when you call an American acquaintance to make plans with?

The wonderful, smiling and friendly couple you’ve met told you, “We must meet again.” So few days later you call them to make plans with them for the following weekend. And although they don’t want to meet with you they say “ok.” Then they will spend all week trying to figure out a way to cancel. Very often, they will simply not show up. In American Anglo-Saxon culture, this is considered good manners when in fact it is bad manners. Don’t try to call them and ask what happened. It will lead to more lies. Don’t be like lying Americans. It is all right to refuse any invitation.

Lie # 3. You look nice.

Americans will often tell you that you look nice, or that they like your outfit when they don’t. Do not take it seriously. This behavior is in sharp contrast to Slavic cultures, when people hardly ever complement others, for the simple reason that they don’t like what they see and very often they will be honest about your looks. So in Slavic culture, you will often hear criticism.

Lie # 4. Destroying your trustworthiness.

Do not lie to your children. You will lose their trust and they will remember your lies for the rest of their lives. A little boy had to go to a hospital for a small procedure. The boy was anxious so the parents assured him there would be no blood. There was, of course, and the little boy was outragesd that his own parents would lie to him. Now, an old man, he said to me, “I remember it to this day.” If you lie to your children, even if you think it’s for their own good, you may ruin your relationship with your children permanently.

Being honest doesn’t mean we should be rude. Rude, intrusive comments are made by people who get satisfaction from putting others down. Such comments are not examples of honesty.

Step back and take a look at your daily life. Are you wasting time and energy carrying out deceptions, both polite and impolite? Being honest is not a talent, not an art, not even a skill. It is a habit. And like the forming of most habits, this one requires concentration and practice. But once formed, it is rewarding as a both sides of a luck coin – for truth lies on one side, well-being on the other.

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Dazzles in Green is an educator, journalist, environmentalist, vegetarian and avid cyclist. She holds a master's degree in anthropology.
Read other notes on stress-free life by Dazzles in Green
The Law of Attraction - Does it Work? Should We Use it?  ||   Living in the moment  ||   Create a Wonderful World without Stress  ||   The Power of Affirmation  ||   Freedom to trust  ||   Foster your capacity for wonder  ||   Time is Life  ||   How to Write a To Do List that actually gets done  ||  


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