The truth about story telling is that often there is very little “truth” in it! This revelation hit me hard as I realized on two occasions this past week, I had interactions with acquaintances who told me a “story” rather than the “truth” I desired. Here’s why it matters.
Nothing But The Truth
Truth is defined as that which is true in accordance with fact or reality. As my husband likes to say “just give me the facts please”. He doesn’t want details or descriptions, just the bare minimum facts.
When you are “telling the truth”, you are relaying factual information about an event or circumstance. There’s no agenda, no hero, no villain, and the listener can decide for themselves how to respond to the information.
Story telling is a very different thing. You see stories may or may not contain truth. In addition, they will likely have a hero, a villain and are geared to achieve a particular response from the listener.
Story telling is great as long as everyone understands “it’s just a story”. And this is where things can get a little confusing. Our human nature loves to be entertained and it is very tempting to take “just the facts” and make them a little more “tasty”. Embellish a little here and exaggerate a little there and before you know it, the truth has become quite the “tale”.
Why It Matters
It is a very manipulative thing to tell a story to someone who is expecting “the simple truth”. That’s what happened to me this past week. I was told a “story” rather than the “truth”, in order to gain approval and a particular response.
I recognized right away that something didn’t quite “add up” so a little “fact check” brought clarity. Now that I know the “truth”, my response was adjusted and my future interactions will proceed with greater caution.
No one enjoys being manipulated. Story telling makes for great movies, books, table conversation and even blog posts, but it should never be used to distort facts and manipulate people. To speak and deal truthfully with others is the most respectful and kind thing you can do. Hoping to be more mindful with the words I use and more watchful for those who are just “story telling”!