Friday, February 06, 2009

When he says, 'I won't lie'

Alicia: So, D, which red flags start waving when a guy begins a conversation like this: "I won't lie to you"? A reader writes that she has an ex who always responds like that -- as if he's doing her a favor. Or trying to sell her something. And as if him saying it wasn't annoying enough, her kids have started saying it, too. It's like she spends her days surrounded by sleazy used car salesmen.

Deirdre: I know she wants to punch her ex in the mouth every time he says it, too. To me, "I won't lie to you" falls under the same category as "no offense, but ...": no matter what comes next, you're not gonna like it.

Alicia: Absolutely. And my thought is that you shouldn't have to announce that you're not going to lie. It means that you are going to lie, and you can't be trusted in general.

Deirdre: Or that maybe you're not lying this time, which isn't much better.

Alicia: So is there anything to be done with this guy (except for having the reader anonymously send him this link)? I bet he can't be reasoned with, given his ex status.

Deirdre: And if he's evil, he might use it just because he knows it bugs her. But she can do something about her kids. She can talk to them about it and tell them that the phrase is useless. Just as they've learned to use it, they can unlearn it.

Alicia: Hope she can convince them. And while she's at it, maybe she can warn them off some other conversation-ending phrases, "I don't know about you, but ..." "Like I always say ..." What else?

Deirdre: "I don't mean to be rude, but ..." and then they proceed to be rude! Or, "I know it's none of my business ..." and then they get all in your business!

Alicia: "Don't take my word for it, but ..." means I have no clue, but I'm going act like it, nonetheless.

Deirdre: If I shouldn't take your word for it, why are you saying it, then? I think these phrases have become so ingrained in conversation that people either A) don't even realize they're using them, or B) think they can say anything by using such a phrase first, as if that'll make it OK. Except it doesn't.

Alicia: Right. If you're going to say something that might make someone uncomfortable, take ownership of it or don't say it at all.

Deirdre: Words to live by, sister!


Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the ever ingrained "bless his (her or their) heart" that often gets added to otherwise derogatory remarks, as if this simple addition alleviates any offensiveness represented in the remark itself. My ex's family was notorious for this...bless their hearts. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am not going to lie but you are interesting.

barkomomma said...

"If you're going to say something that might make someone uncomfortable...."

Like that "screaming" post here a few days back?

Ms. Pot, meet Ms. Kettle.

whuddapileocrap said...

He? HE? C'mon - cut out the sexist c-rap! Like chicks don't blow smoke?

Anonymous said...

But "Bless Her Heart" is such a useful phrase! It's actual meaning is "You're So Stupid".

Anonymous said...

I also hear this in the corporate world from a lot of women: "She's a lovely woman, but..." Or "Don't get me wrong..." Uh, right. We all can see you for what you are.