The pitfalls of exaggerations

there are people so addicted to exaggeration they cant tell the truth without lying - quote: Josh Billings

Credit: Josh Billings

Life can sometimes be boring and mundane.  For many people they need to spice it up a little and create some juice in their conversations in what they believe is a more colorful and dramatic way to communicate.

If I went to a concert, let’s just say Billy Joel performing at Madison Square Garden, my friends would obviously like to know how it went.  I have two choice before me, good or bad?  Wrong.

Now, the odds that Billy Joel could sing anywhere like he did 25 years ago is highly unlikely.  Age takes a toll on our bodies, and our vocal chords to not get a free pass.

Here is the way I would describe that concert that was 95% full in the context of his entire performing career:

“I really loved it.  The crowd was so into him, the music is timeless and it brought back such great memories of those bygone days of great melodies.”

Here is an exaggerator describing the same concert:

“Oh my god!  It was the best ever!  The crowd was the loudest I ever heard in my life after each hit song.  He still has the great voice he had 25 years ago, as if time stood still.  You gotta go see it. He is in town for the next week and tickets are impossible to get. I know this friend of a friend who was able to get me two tickets, yes it was high up in the back section, but who cares – I was actually there!”

And maybe on and on it goes, depending on the person’s level of self-aggrandizing.

Why can’t we allow the normal facts speak for themselves without a shot of double espresso? Does every conversation need melodrama, as if absent people won’t listen?

For those who want the real truth, and depend on it from friends, they need to listen carefully what they say before becoming too close.  I always believe that your genuine self should speak for itself.  If another person feels that it’s not enough for them, then they probably will not fit into your ethical and moral ecosystem.

In fact, if I may be so bold, there is a character flaw when you engage with someone who is constantly exaggerating.  Think of some of our political leaders.  Do you really trust them when they present too rosy a picture, or vice versa, too dark a position?  Life is never black and white – there are infinite gradients within those confines which more accurately describe something. Wouldn’t we want to know the true picture, rather than an enhanced and inaccurate one?

We are living in a world where facts do not seem to matter anymore.  Reality TV, sensationalizing the news, and bragging about lifestyles seems to be at the forefront of our discourse.  The insidious nature of exaggerations is that if said enough, it seems to become the norm.

The next time you listen to a constant exaggerator, try to remember you are evaluating them…not the story.

Categories: Ethics

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