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Boston Man Commits to Never Telling a Lie Again, Ever

Can you imagine never telling another lie – not even an innocent one – for the rest of your life? How about for a whole day? Yeah, me neither, which is why Keith Frankel’s commitment to a no-lie lifestyle is so intriguing.

Up until six months ago, Keith Frankel, a product design executive at Boston education software startup Firecracker, was no different than the rest of us – he would lie on a daily basis, and he was fully aware of it. He admits he had been aware of his ability to lie both persuasively and effectively and that his skills only got better with age. “Sometimes, my career necessitated that I play my little trump card in order to succeed at ‘the game’. Other times, my personal life could be made just a bit more convenient with a little fib here or there. To no surprise, the more I lied, the better I became at lying in the future. Lying, like any other skill, only gets stronger the more you use it,” Frankel says.

He didn’t really see the harm in lying, at first, especially since his little white lies didn’t really have disastrous consequences on the lives of those around him, they were just “little deceptions, teeny, tiny misdirections.” But at one point, Keith realized that having his friends and family seeing him constantly lie to other people had planted seeds of distrust in them – they knew that he could very well lie to them if he so wished (and he admits he did). He felt these ‘tiny erosions of trust’, as he calls them, not only weakened his relationship with his loved ones, but also called into question everything he claimed to be and will eventually become. Worse still, once plated, these seeds of doubt slowly whether relationships and are almost impossible to address effectively.

Photo: Keith Frankel/Twitter

So during last year’s winter holidays, Keith Frankel, decided to stop lying to anyone, about anything, for as long as he can, and also blog about how the experiment affects his relationships with other people. He doesn’t know how long he will be able to keep it up, but he genuinely hopes to make it a longstanding habit. “I feel that the longer I do it, the easier it will become,” he told Beta Boston. “Lying is a skill, and the more you lie, the better you get at it. I’m hoping honesty is the same way — the more truth I say, the fewer times I lie, the better I’ll get at it.”

But don’t go confusing Keith’s pledge to never tell a lie with brutal honesty. He has some clear rules set in place, and one of the most important is that he can decline to answer questions he is not comfortable with instead of using his commitment as an excuse to be rude. “I can just decline to answer anything I want,” he said. “I don’t have to tell you a bunch of things that will hurt your feelings. There’s still a place for tact.”

For example, when Uproxx reporter Mark Shrayber asked him what he though about his beard, during an interview, instead of simply calling it ugly, he simply said “Actually, I’m more worried about your eye. What’s going on there?” The man had had surgery to fix a retinal detachment a few weeks prior, but everyone kept telling him it didn’t look so bad. Shrayber wrote that Frankel noticing his “messed up” eye was actually quite refreshing.

Photo: Keith Frankel/Facebook

The last lie Frankel told was over last year’s holidays, when he told a distant relative that it was good to see them. “What I should have said is, `Hey, how are you?’ Or, `Hey, I didn’t know you were going to make it to New York,'” he said. “I could have said a million other introductions. Instead I said, `Hey, it’s good to see you.’ It’s not. We aren’t really in touch.”

But this sort of white lies , including false encouragement of friends and family, or excuses about why he has to cancel plans, are now gone from his life, and he plans to keep it that way. In his last blog post, Keith says he will probably never go back to lying again. “After having committed fully to this way of life, it is clear that I’ll never return back to the way it was before. Being honest is just too refreshing. Too constructive. Too liberating… The truth is, there is simply no non-selfish value to be gained by lying. To anyone. About anything.”

Photo: Keith Frankel/Twitter

Frankel has however stopped blogging about his no-lie lifestyle (at least for a while), and cited two reasons for it:

  1. Publicly writing about my commitment to honesty has invited what I believe to be misdirected, unwarranted, and unfair criticism that wouldn’t have existed had I privately taken this pledge yet not openly broadcasted it.
  2. The simple act of taking the time to consider, author, publish, and share 1000+ word articles makes readers view honesty as a considerably more difficult endeavor to commit to than it really is, and thus they don’t.

Photo: Keith Frankel/Twitter

He did have a final pearl of wisdom to share with his readers, though: “Committing to honesty has become easy. Natural. Second nature… No, first nature. Being honest is how it’s supposed to be. How we should all be. Not a novel thing to be described as“noble” or “admirable”.” 

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