A half truth is described as a statement that may be partly true, or though entirely accurate may not depict the whole story. My stance on half-truths is ever wavering. Mostly, because I don’t feel anyone should be responsible for another persons perceptions or their unwitting incapability to seek out the truth.
In an ideal world, we would all practice an unrelenting amount of candor, but for now this is just not the way. When untruths are revealed, we immediately shift complete blame to the liar, without taking even a diminutive bit of accountability. Now, lying is not an ‘acceptable’ behavior, but that does not discount the fact that it is just as much your responsibility to ask clear and direct questions, as it is the other party’s to tell the truth. I often wonder, has it been fair of us to declare that half-truths are just as bad as a lies?
If you ask someone, “Where have you been,” when what you really want to know is who they’ve been with; is it fair to say you were told a half truth? After all, you received the appropriate answer to your question. Sure, chances are you both knew what you were getting at, but whose fault is it, that out of fear of being wrongfully suspicious, you chose to drop the argument.
Another true-lie comes in the form of deflection. This crafty look-everywhere-but-here argument often leads to someone being guilted out of an answer or explanation. For example, you finally build the courage, and instinctively ask, “Is something going on with you and that girl?” The response you get is nothing short of vile disdain. Seemingly hurt, and frustrated with your ongoing suspicion, your partner responds “I am so sick and tired of this. Every turn I turn, you think I’m doing something. It’s like I can’t speak to anyone with a vagina.” To then amplify your confusion, while solidifying his/her stance they would add, “You know what. I’m not even gonna justify this foolishness with an answer.” Guilted by their compelling display of theatrics, you would have justifiably walked away without an answer to your question.
Now, when the ish hits the fan and you’ve found out there was something going on with said girl, is it unreasonable to say, that though he may be a deceitful a-hole……he didn’t really tell any lies, now did he? I know it sounds bad (and for the most part shouldn’t really matter). I know it doesn’t altogether make sense, but it is true. In Have you been sold a dream, I touch on the topic of gullibility and being accountable for ones actions/inaction. Nothing can discount the knavery that’s taken place in the aforementioned scenario. However, as I have written before, no one can sell us a dream that at one point or another we were not willing to buy.
An argument can easily be made that half-truths are in fact not lies. It is, however, the deliberate intent to deceive that nullifies that fact. In the healthcare profession, half truths are often told to render hope and uphold the integrity of the patients and/or family members will to go on. When a mother asks, “how many times have you seen people make it back from something like this,” and I instinctively respond, “every case is different,” that can be considered a half truth. Every case is different, but per my expertise, had another professional asked I would have responded with clear-cut statistics instead. Am I then a liar? Is my half truth okay since the intention was to deflect pain and devastation? If so, how is this different from the initial scenario?
When Jamicans say an individual “talks out of the corner of his/her’ mouth” it more or less means that nothing that person says can be trusted. When it comes half-truths I’m not quite sure that’s a fair assumption . Doesn’t it seem a bit hypocritical to assume a half-true is okay based on our perception of the “liars” intent.
The discussion of half-truths is often a reflection of one’s personal bias. The formula is simple for this one, demand the unadulterated truth, as often as you offer it. Saying what you mean, and meaning what you say goes the same for asking. Don’t talk in circles, when what you want you need to know requires a limited number of words. More so, don’t allow someone to meander through their response when a succinct reply will do.
Stay away, from what I like to call, building block questions. These are the three to four questions a person asks before they get down to what they really want to know. It becomes exhausting (to you both) and at best, yields ambiguous answers. What’s worse, is when these questions are prefixed with a “Say/Suppose you were me….” or “What would you do if…..?”
It’s simple. If you hope to receive transparent answers then ask clear questions.
What are your thoughts on half-truths?
And, because I love this movie!-which also inspired the title of this post- I figured I’d plug it here.