My Friend Asks Me to Lie to his Wife

Dear Robin:

I have a good buddy who I enjoy hanging out with.  We both play golf at the same club and his wife is really cool.  Our families do stuff together pretty regularly and we always seem to have a great time.  My problem is that my friend asks me to lie to his wife (Wendy) for him on a pretty regular basis.  I don’t mean big lies, but it usually goes like this: I see him at the golf club, and he says “don’t tell Wendy I was here.”   It’s gotten awkward lately and I don’t think I should have to lie to Wendy just so he can play golf without her knowing.  It’s not just golf.  Sometimes when we go out for drinks he does the same thing.

Do you have any suggestions on the best way to handle this?  I do NOT want to lie to his wife or anyone else for him, but I don’t want to cause a rift in our friendship.

Stewing in Florida

Dear Stewing:

Let’s call your friend Carl, because he likes to golf and he seems to lack good judgment.

carl

I was working on some very good advice for you but as you know, we had a conversation last week so I could get more information.  During our 3-4 email exchanges about the particulars it became clear I needed to pitch that advice and get down to brass tacks.  You told me that talking to Carl about how it makes you feel when he asks you to lie would result in a five minute laughing jag during which he would call you a “pussy” and a “bitch” and ask you what brand of tampons you prefer.

He sounds like a charming gentleman.  If I weren’t married I’d be on the first plane to Florida to steal him away from his lucky wife.  This is your friend:

jerk

That there is a fine piece of jerk chicken.  He’s a jerk for lying to his wife and for asking you to do the same, and he’s apparently so scared of the woman he married that he can’t enjoy a round of golf or drinks with some friends unless he lies to her about where he is.

I was willing to entertain the possibility that his wife is a possessive shrew who monitors his every move like the NSA does the activities of swarthy men visiting the US.  Or, come to think of it, our European allies, the Mexican president and possibly you and me.  But that’s a whole separate issue for the Sunday Rant…

NSA

You told me that was not the case: that she seems very flexible and encourages him to have his fun.  It may be that she isn’t really that way – that she makes a concerted effort to come off as carefree and cool but behind closed doors she’s the Wife From Hell.  However, I get the sense that you know her pretty well so I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt.  I can’t tell you why he feels the need to lie to his wife about his whereabouts, but if you’d like to send him my way for some advice please do so.  I’ll drop an AskDesCampTruthBomb on his ass.

Truth bomb

You are caught in a classic struggle between your loyalty to your friend and your ethical code which tells you not to lie, especially to this woman who is also your friend.  Since we know this advice blog is really all about me and a way by which I express and process shit in my own life, let me tell you I can empathize with your situation, having recently been through this myself.

I was asked repeatedly to lie for a friend (“Sam”), and I made it clear I wouldn’t do that.  I then found out I was being used as an alibi and an explanation for a very serious and ongoing transgression by Sam against her spouse.  In a direct confrontation, I made it clear that this needed to stop and Sam had an obligation to me to set the record straight.  In response, Sam did the following:

1. Continued to lie;

2. Told a mutual friend that I had asked Sam to lie for me over the years (absolutely false);

3. Ended the friendship (this was a blessing as it had been deeply unsatisfying and filled with her ongoing drama for some time) after insisting I give her several hundreds of dollars worth of household items; and finally

4. Sent me a series of text messages in which Sam gleefully told me how “unpopular” I am with “all the people who matter” in Portland (oh please, I’ve known that for years), that I am ugly (that gave me a sad, I’ll admit it), and that I am a bad mom (this one actually made me laugh, because she’s not getting any Mother of the Year awards, and I will leave it at that although it pains me deeply to do so as I am biting my tongue so hard it is bleeding).

Sam specifically named several women who hate me, *sigh*

unpop

carrie

and opined that I was deeply jealous of her.

Now, I already knew these gals weren’t my biggest fans, so no damage done there.  However, I would need to be a toothless HIV-positive $5 hooker in a gutter on Burnside before I ever envied her, so she got that wrong.

Oh for crying out loud, this blog has really gotten off track.  Sorry.  I’ve got to go exercise so I will wrap this up quickly:

My advice to you is to just tell him this:

“Carl, I’m not going to lie for you.  I like you and I like Wendy, and you can’t put me in this position anymore.  It’s a pretty shitty thing to do to me, don’t you think?  I don’t want this to affect our friendship but I’m not going to lie to your wife if she asks me about seeing you.  Maybe you guys need to talk about why you are in this situation, but please leave me out of it.”

If he cuts you loose, you won’t be any worse for it.  A “friend” who uses you as an alibi or asks you to violate your ethics by lying is no friend, especially when they do it on a regular basis. You’d be better off without people like that in your life.

I know I am.

-Robin

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. denise

    Hah! Great one. As always, swarthy sound advice with a colorful dash of delicious smack down! I couldn’t agree with you more. What particularly rings true, is the fact that anytime a “friend” repeatedly abuses the relationship by injecting you into the trenches either by choice or default … Red flags should be blowing. I too, experienced this type of not so friendly behavior, and am finally rid of the unhealthy cast it had over me. Didn’t realize to what extent the negative impact of being put in such a position on a regular basis, had on me. Until… I had some clean air and distance from the friendship. I’ve never looked back, nor had any regrets. People who use othets for the exploits of their own personal agendas are not capable of healthy relationships. They are better left, to their own demise by their own doing.

  2. Ali Whiting

    Excellent advice! Right on target..now back to you-your ex friend wanted household goods?! I’m totally stuck on that. Are you talking a lamp? Silverware? Drapes? Toilet paper? You need to let me know. The not knowing will keep me up nights.

    1. Your Ancient Auntie

      I’m with Ali there. That whole part of the post had my mouth hanging open. Sam is truly stuck in 7th grade.

      1. askdescamp

        Several items including large area rugs and assorted household goods. Not surprisingly, her extramarital activities necessitated the establishment of a new home. I’d ask for those things back, but I’m sure they are stained with regret and reek of poor decision-making.

  3. CL

    Great advice.  At this stage in our lives, we can’t be dealing with high school drama bullshit… life is hard enough.  And speaking of high school drama bullshit… I recently had to part ways with “Sam” as well (although there was no exchange of household goods involved…. what’s that all about??!!)  Anyhow, I had not talked to “Sam” (fifty bucks says it’s the same one) in a very long time- well, since high school.  But thanks to FB, where everyone is now friends or at least comes across anyone they’ve known since kindergarden, I had the pleasure of seeing her again.  She invited me out for lunch- not because she wanted to see me- but because she wanted to pitch a business idea to me.  Despite not having seen her in about 25 years, she quickly had me up to speed on what the popular/ pretty crowd from high school was doing.  The intimate details she told me about her best friend and the status of her (best friend’s) relationship with her significant other made me extremely uncomfortable, and sad. I walked away feeling thankful I don’t live in that shallow world anymore, and more thankful than ever for the friends I have in my life now. 

    About 2 weeks later, “Sam” sent me a message n FB saying she had heard something (very personal) about one of our mutual “friends” and wanted the inside scoop.  Since I’m not in high school anymore, and the friend she asked me about was one of my closest and dearest (I’ll call her “LB”), I immediately called “LB” to tell her about it, and asked if she could contact “Sam” directly.  I’m not entirely sure what “LB” told “Sam”, but I’m pretty sure it consisted of something along the lines of “this is not high school, there is no need to create drama, and if you wanted to know something about me- especially something so personal, you should have asked me directly”…  Needless to say, that’s the last we’ve ever heard from “Sam”, and we couldn’t be happier.

    Sorry for the 10 page comment… but not sorry if “Sam” sees this.

    1. echinachea

      Wow! Whoever “Sam” is, she sounds like a piece of work!

    2. askdescamp

      Well damn, chickalic, now you have me all curious who your “Sam” is…do tell!

      Sent from my iPad

      >

      1. CL

        Wilson H.S.

  4. echinachea

    The entire high school?

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