Instead of lying, establish your boundaries
Carolyn Hax is away. The following are past columns.
Q: Is it ever OK to lie to someone? What if this person is a very persistent ex-boyfriend who is asking invasive personal questions? I just got busted for lying to him and know I shouldnít have lied, but, frankly, the only way to get him out of the way was to lie.
A: No, thatís a lie you told yourself.
Lying is OK in two general situations, to protect yourself or someone else from immediate danger ó e.g., your friendís abusive spouse asks if you know where your friend is ó and to protect someoneís feelings. But even then, a strategic half-truth always beats a lie. (Person who spent all day cooking you a terrible dinner: "How did you like dinner?" You: "You outdid yourself, thanks!") Situations in which itís OK to make excuses for oneís own mistakes? None.
Lying was the only easy way for you to dodge your ex. You also could have said, "I will not answer invasive personal questions, no matter how many times you ask me."
And if he didnít relent, you could have screened his calls/ignored his emails/walked away. And if he still didnít relent, you could have asked the police about anti-harassment laws.
If you want easy, just know your bounds and enforce them. Getting caught in your lie was a hint.
Friends handle coupleís drama with humor
Q: Is it cruel to take bets on when mutual friends in an on-again, off-again relationship will recover from their latest major breakup and swear undying love again? In front of them?
A: It is cruel to do it behind their backs. In front of them, itís encouraged.