Today I went to Starbucks and ran into a woman I went to massage school with back in 2008. We hugged and exchanged the usual pleasantries and quickly updated each other on where we were in the past five years. She knows of my conditions, at least basically, because I had to leave school because of them.
When I was in school, everyone emailed each other and texted, and when I left school, everyone took my contact info and said they we all keep in touch. I sent a few emails to some people and I got a couple of emails from some people and eventually we all went silent.
I am accustomed to this, since I moved frequently in life, I always realize that there are very few people that are meant to stay in your life. Many people come into your life for a brief time and that’s it. Some come in and stay. It’s the way of life, and if you learn to accept this, it makes making friends and knowing that you have to one day say goodbye that much easier.
With this particular person, she did keep up with emails for about a year, and I did also reach out, but eventually we stopped communication. She asked how I was doing health wise etc., and then said to me
“We must get together some day! Give me your email and we can arrange to have lunch or something.”
“My email hasn’t changed, it’s the same” I replied
“I think I misplaced your email” she said as she pulled out her iPhone to confirm her contacts. She looked through and then found my name and read the email address to me.
“Yep, that’s it” I said.
“Great, then email me and we can arrange a date and time” she said, still looking into her iPhone
Then I thought to myself Why should I email you, when you invited me? And why do people do this? Pretend we want to get together and we both know it will never happen. I never went out to lunch with you before, never socialized with you, so why are we pretending that we are buddies when we are not. We are just acquaintances
“Tell you what..”, I said. “… I have your email, and you have mine. Why don’t you drop me a line when ever I cross your mind, and vice versa? Vow to keep in touch a little more.”
She stared at me for a minute then nodded.
“No lunch then?” she asked
“No, I don’t think so. But thanks for the invite anyway” I said. “Do you hear from anyone else in school since we left?” I asked to change the conversation
She was silent a moment and then looked at me quizzically
“Can I ask why not?” she asked
“Lunch you mean?”
“Yeah, why did you just turn it down like that.”
“First off, I don’t think it will be appropriate for us to meet for lunch unless you don’t mind my wife coming along, and then you don’t know my wife, she doesn’t know you, she will be bored, and all we two really have in common is a span of six months that happened five years ago. Let’s be honest, you don’t really want to meet for lunch, do you? That is just something everybody says when they meet an old acquaintance. Why? I don’t know. Then we both say yes, pretend we will meet and that will be the last we hear from each other. It’s really just a silly social game that is dishonest” I said
She looked at me with a micro-expression of shock, and then a smile came across her face.
“You know what, you are so right! That is so true. I do that all the time. Thank you. Thank you for being so honest. That was awesome. You are awesome. That was so “clean”. I won’t leave here feeling “dirty” if that makes sense, because I was BSing. I have to do that from now on.” and then she gave me a big hug,
We both laughed and agreed to email if we came across each other’s mind, and I left because as usual, Starbucks was full.
I think every time you tell an unnecessary lie, you shave a little bit of time off your life. We all lie, and if you say you don’t, you are not being truthful or you have Asperger’s syndrome. We lie to ourselves, to people, all for what? To look good, to save face? Think of all the little lies we tell for no reason. While I was at Starbucks, a man behind me took a phone call, and told the other person that he would call them back later, he was about to go into a meeting. He then sat at a table and read the paper. Was he covering his ass? Was he trying to sound more important than he was? Even so, was it necessary to tell that particular lie? All he had to say was, “I can’t talk right now, can I call you back later?”
I know you can’t be brutally honest all the time, and if you were, then you would go mad, or probably get killed. We lie to ourselves when we feel like crap to help us make it through the day, and we lie to our spouses and family so they don’t worry. We lie to protect ourselves, but there are really unnecessary lies that we tell that are eating away at us, because we know deep within our psyche it’s not right. We don’t want to offend people. We don’t want to look bad. We don’t want people talking about us behind our back. And at what expense to ourselves. To the cells in our body?
In a recent article in US News Health, Linda Stroh, a professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Loyola University in Chicago and author of Trust Rules: How to Tell the Good Guys From the Bad Guys. said “It takes a lot of negative physical and mental energy to maintain a lie. We have to think before we answer and we have to plan what we say and do, rather than saying and doing what comes more naturally. We waste a lot of precious time covering our tracks rather than spending that time in positive ways, doing good things.” And all of that stress erodes at our health. And for people with chronic conditions, don’t we have enough to worry about, to stress us out, to shorten our lives?