How not to lie
He wasn’t angry. He was annoyed and disappointed.
“I just wish they’d quit lying to me.”
He’d ventured over to the brand new basketball courts on campus to check them out and maybe shoot around a bit. One guy told him to go for it. Another came running out, yelling for him to stop.
They took him to the head engineer, and the head engineer said no one could play for six months, a lie because no one knows.
It’s standard practice – from our experience anyway – for people in Saudi to just tell you what they want to tell you or sometimes what you want to hear, regardless of how it matches with the truth of the situation.
- “The driver will be there in five minutes.”
- “We will get the Internet fixed by next week.”
- “The program has free Arabic classes.”
In The Prince, Machiavelli wrote about some of this. If you’re going to lie, you have to get away with it. You can’t lie to someone, tip them off to what you’re actually doing, and expect it to go over well. Even so-called white lies ruin relationships.
Saudi feels full of both, white and black lies. It’s annoying, grating on already stressed nerves, and disappointing.