I have a 30 minute lunch break every day at work. And during that lunch break, all I want to do is eat, check email and Facebook on my iPhone, and enjoy the silence. When you work with 5-year-olds, silence is a rare commodity. After a morning filled with whining and tattling and your name repeated over and over and over again, 30 minutes of silence is as rejuvinating as a cold Gatorade after an 8 mile run.
So you can imagine my frustration at having to share those precious 30 minutes with a co-worker who is almost as whiny as those 5-year-olds. She complains, she whines, she lacks the filter that connects her brain with her mouth, and as I learned the other day, she is incapable of the little white lie.
I’m not a big fan of liars. But I do believe in the importance of the appropriate use of the little white lie. When a minor untruth or an omission of the truth can spare one’s feelings, I don’t see the harm in applying that little white lie when necessary. Case in point, my conversation with Filter-less Co-Worker.
She was going on and on about scheduling an appointment with her doctor for bloodwork, and when she paused to see if I was listening, I regrettably chose to fill the awkward silence by confiding that I had just put in a call to my own doctor to request bloodwork.
“Why? What’s wrong?” Hmm, I thought maybe she was expressing genuine concern. So I continued.
I told her about some of my random body issues, including weight gain.
“Yeah, I wasn’t gonna say anything, but I’ve noticed you’ve really gained weight.” I looked up from my sandwich, my jaw practically on the floor. Did she just say that?! Did she just violate the female code of common courtesy by telling me that I have indeed gained weight?!
Here I am, telling this woman that I’m concerned enough about my weight that I’m booking an appointment to see a doctor. I’m clearly aware that I’ve put on weight. I’m clearly already bothered by it. I don’t need her confirming my fears that my weight gain is substantial enough that it’s noticeable to other people. This would have been the perfect opportunity to open mouth and insert little white lie.
But she didn’t stop there.
“Yeah, you talk about all this running that you’re doing. I keep wondering why you’re not trimmer.” My blood pressure spiked. But I continued to bite my tongue.
But she still didn’t stop.
“Isn’t that bad for your heart? Carrying all that extra weight while you’re running all those miles?”
Seriously?! I need to shed about 10 pounds, not 100. At this point, I found a way to change the subject before I either burst into tears or punched her in the face.
I’ve been thinking about that exchange for days now, and I still can’t come up with a reason why this woman chose to say those things. Her comments didn’t help me in any way, they didn’t bring any insight to my health concerns, and they certainly didn’t make me feel better. Why couldn’t she have told a little white lie? Or simply executed a white lie of omission by keeping her mouth shut?
Yes, I’m a believer in the little white lie. I believe in sparing people’s feelings, especially when there’s no good reason not to. And I believe I might start eating my lunch in my car.