What to do when a lie you’ve told makes you look bad

Suzen asks: I have a boyfriend. I lied him that I am addicted to drugs. Then he told this to his sister. Now I’ve fallen in love with him, but his sister doesn’t want me in his life. He’s upset. How do I get out of this situation?

Hi Suzen –


Your question reminds me of an old trick that lawyers like to play in courtrooms.  They’ll get a person onto the stand, where they’ve sworn to tell the truth, and ask them a question like “Have you stopped beating your wife?”  The person starts to argue against the question, and they’ll demand, “Yes or No!  Have you stopped beating your wife?!”  Of course, if the person says “No,” then it sounds like they beat their wife.  If they say “Yes,” then it sounds like they used to beat their wife.  The question doesn’t allow for the fact that they never touched her!


But Suzen you don’t need a lawyer to do this to you; you did it to yourself!  Your boyfriend’s sister (and maybe your boyfriend as well) will want to know if you’re still addicted to drugs.  If you say yes, obviously that means you’re an addict and she has reasons to worry about her brother being involved with you.  If you say no, then they have to wonder if you’re really over the drugs, if you might go back onto them, and all that.


The only solution to this is based in something I don’t know:  WHY did you say this to him?


Whatever the reason was, whether it was to push him away, to make yourself sound more interesting, to sound like an expert… I don’t know.  But if you want to keep him as a boyfriend, you’re going to need to explain it to him.  And, probably, to her.


Will it make you look good?  Almost certainly not.  It’ll make you look like a liar, someone who makes up things about themselves.


But are you the only one?  Absolutely not.


In fact, I’m guessing that both he and she have also done something this silly in their lives.  And if you can open up and be honest about it, fully  honest, there’s a good chance it could make them feel more love for you.


Admitting you did something ridiculous is an extremely vulnerable act.  And nothing makes anyone love you more than showing vulnerability.


I’ve always loved barking at our neighbors whenever I get the chance.  One day I was in the little office in our house, and heard them walking by, and leapt at the window to scare them, not realizing that I’d knock over a plant sitting there.  It fell and the pot broke, spilling dirt all over the floor.  My human friend Handsome heard the crash and walked in, and exclaimed “oh NO!” at the mess.  And I was crushed.  I fell to the floor, squeezing my eyes shut.  I hated  that I’d done this, and upset him.  And he saw my reaction, and just melted.  “Oh, Knucklehead, I’m not mad at you,” he exclaimed as he came over and kissed me on the head.  “I just wish you wouldn’t get so excited you lose control like that.”


He still had to clean up the mess, and buy a new pot for his plant.  But he actually fell in love just a bit more with me (he already was pretty nuts about me) from this happening.


So that’s my suggestion to you.  Open up all the way, let them know how silly you feel and how sorry you are.  And there’s a really good chance they’ll not only forgive you, but appreciate you more.


(And if they don’t, maybe he wasn’t worthy of you in the first place.  After all, again, I promise  you, he’s done some goofy things himself!)


All my best,


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