People will tell you that you should not lie.
I am here to tell you that you should.
For there are many situations in which people would prefer that you did and even situations in which it is more appropriate than telling the truth.
People want you to be polite even when you are feeling poorly, and this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Sometimes it is. Mostly, I think people do not really understand how to process other people’s emotions, let alone their own.
So there are people like me. People who will tell you it is okay to lie in certain situations and people who will give you a rough script to use when your masking meter is dangerously low.
Now, none of these have to be true when you use them, but it will undoubtedly help if they are true. Remember, people like their bullshit to smell and look nice.
To begin, we will start with the easiest and likely, the most accessible option (as you can find—spoiler alert—bathrooms in most places)…
1. Nobody likes to think about fluids
“If you will excuse me, I need to take a quick restroom break.”
If you bring up anything about expelling bodily fluids, no one will question you. They will let you be and you can either actually go to the restroom, or at least somewhere in that general direction.
Veering off that path may lead to more questions, which upon your return, will potentially lead to conflict or worse, expressing your true feelings.
2. Imaginary (or real) emails
“If you will excuse me, I must answer an important email from work. I will be back shortly.”
It is essential to let people know you will be returning. Emails may feel less urgent, but adding in the professional aspect gives them more validity.
3. Pretend to be a socialite
“If you will excuse me for one moment, I must say hello to [insert name], I have not seen them in ages!”
Ages, eons, years. Any of these will work. Centuries? Even if true, less believable.
Pick a spot across the room that is out of sight. Go there, breathe, and return when you are ready.
4. Saved by the “ring” and mere existence of a cell phone.
“If you will excuse me, I must take an important phone call.”
You are starting to see a theme, yes? Add in the word “important” and people may appear concerned or even impressed.
5. Good table manners make for a good exit strategy
“May I be excused from the table for one moment please?”
This switches things up. Asking for permission to get up from the table makes you seem courteous instead of demanding.
Kind manipulation, friends, is what we are after. We want people to believe it was their idea to graciously give us a break and therefore not mind at all when we do.
6. Get by with a little help from…somebody else
If you are a terrible liar or unsavvy at social interactions, find a friend or a family member who is also a good conversationalist to let others know why you left.
If they fuck it up, at least you will not be around to feel awkward about it.
7. Eat, sleep, travel, retreat
“If you will excuse me, I have had a long flight/drive, and I need my rest.”
Most people understand that travelling takes a toll on the body. But if you do not add the word “long,” they may think you have less of a reason to leave them.
Despite your actual length of travel, make sure they know your journey was arduous or risk hurting their feelings.
8. When in doubt, blame the kids
Most people you know have a child or a beloved “pet.” Quite often either one of these may require your assistance or care and make a strong case for leaving a situation as quickly as possible.
“My child/dog is vomiting. Please excuse me.”
“My child/dog ran away. Please excuse me.”
“My child/cat started peeing on the furniture. Please excuse me.”
As shown by the last example, do not be afraid to get creative with it.
And that’s it. That’s my very generic, dull advice on how to mask in order to be able to stop masking. Which, to some people, may seem really unfair.
Covering up your feelings or ways of expressing yourself can be life-sucking but at times, it is necessary. Unfortunately, a lot of times it is a requirement of the moment, but I like to believe there is a reason it is such a common coping strategy.
Even if that reason is that the world, or at least the people in it, often punishes others for being different. For expressing their emotions or breaking a mold.
It’s a terrible reason, I’ll admit. And I would like to believe there may be a day where lying like this becomes unnecessary and irrelevant but that day is not today.