5 Cliches that aren’t true

5things A couple of weeks ago, I posted pictures of my daughter’s closet.  Tacked up on her wall, she has a list of clichés that are true.  She found the list on Pinterest and for whatever reason she related with it and (quite literally) pinned it for inspiration.  There is a flip-side to that coin: clichés that aren’t true.  Those, I believe, are harder to come by but indeed they do exist.  Here are five that come to mind.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder – I could see that this one would be true of, say, macarons from the Laduree counter in Paris.  When applied to people–to relationships–I have to say that it is anything but true.  My husband spent time in Iraq.  He was deployed less than two months after we were married.  While it would certainly be romantic to tell you that our bonds were only strengthened by the time apart, it would be a bold-faced lie.  We fought something fierce while he was gone.  We exchanged heated words by phone and email.  There were resentments and burdens on both sides, the cure for which came only with our reunion.  We’ve done quite a lot of maturing in the time that has passed since, but still when he has a busy travel schedule for business, the us I’m used to feels distant.  Absence makes our hearts grow lonely.

You can’t judge a book by its cover – Does anybody actually believe that?  I’m not talking about books here.  I’m talking about people.  About character.  Let’s say you’re looking for a babysitter, for example.  Would you hire a tatted up teen with a shaved head and enough nuts and bolts protruding through his ear lobes to assemble the inner workings of a grandfather clock?  Most likely not.  If you have so much as an ounce of sense, you can use clues from one’s appearance to make a reasonable assessment of character.  There are obviously exceptions, but generally speaking you indeed can determine some very important things from appearance alone.  It is not my place to judge anybody’s heart, but it is my responsibility to make decisions for my family’s welfare much like it is an employer’s responsibility to make decisions for his or her business.  The hard truth is that appearances do matter.  Proceed accordingly.

Flattery will get you nowhere – Ha!  Tell that to my sweet-talking husband who, more often than not, can sweet talk his way onto an overbooked plane or into a restaurant without reservations.  His fine art of flattery is so tightly woven with charm and wit that only the most discerning of individuals would think to even question him.  When our fate rests in the hands of a stranger who can choose whether or not to accommodate us, my husband does the talking.  More often than not, his silver tongue brings one home for the team.

Good things come to those who wait – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: good things do not come to those who just wait.  Good things come to those who persevere.  Enough said.

Love hurts – Love is a lot of things, but hurtful is not one of them.  One need look no further than 1 Corinthians 13 for confirmation.  I got pregnant as a junior in high school and spent the following three years learning a thing or two about what love is and what it is not.  Those three years overflowed with hurt and anger and violence, but love was suspiciously absent.  As a woman who is wholly happy in love and in marriage, I can assure you that love does not hurt.  I would even go so far as to dispel another cliché about love.  That is: love is hard work.  Not in my experience.  There most assuredly is sacrifice and compromise and nurturing, but none of the above feel like work when they are freely given to someone you love.

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  Are there any untrue clichés you would add?

10 Replies to “5 Cliches that aren’t true”

  1. I agree with most of the cliches on your list except this one “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. I do understand what you are saying and kind of agree.
    A couple of years ago, my husband and I were hanging around “Thunder Alley” waiting for the doors to open up to watch the Thunder play in the NBA Finals. While we were outside i was people watching and all of a sudden noticed this strange looking man. At first i thought he was homeless, but something just told me he wasn’t. After he disappeared from my view i just brushed it off. After a while we got to our seats and during the game i was looking down and across the court. There was that “homeless” guy sitting front row next to the Thunder players. Now i was really curious, once we got home i searched the internet and finally figured out the person i thought was homeless was actually James Goldstein, the “NBA Superfan”, multi millionair. Yep taught me a lesson : )

  2. I love your take on these! Especially #2. I think you are spot on with that assessment–just ask my husband who is in the business of hiring and firing. Walk into his office looking less-than-businesslike and you’ll most likely walk out of there without a job. Sorry, but that’s real life.

  3. I would “challenge” this overall assessment by saying that cliches are a part of generalization, and therefore often untrue or non-applicable. But they got to the lexicon and stay there because, for some, they are “true”, “truisms”, more likely.

    In this sense, love can hurt, similar “covers” don’t mean similar characters, missing a person can, in fact strengthen a bond…these are personal, individual applications of generalizations that can’t be universally applied – or denied.

    1. You’re totally right, Kevin. There are very few absolutes in this life. My intention here is to point out the flip side of some frequently used cliches. I bet you have a different perspective on one or two. Share?

      1. Being a big fan of Mark Twain, his quote comes to mind:
        “People say, ‘Don’t put your eggs in one basket.’ I say, Put your eggs in one basket. And watch that basket!”

    1. I imagine it does. I’m sorry :( Here’s a good thing to remember, though: our job as parents is to give roots and wings with Godly instruction in between. Based on what I know of your boy and conversations we’ve shared, I have no doubt you’ve done just that. Hang in there, mama!

  4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Not true of dogs or people, in my opinion. It’s not about age, it’s about attitude!

  5. Tim & I talk about these cliches quite often – especially “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s simply not true. Not true for couples. Not true for friends. Not true for parents and children. Being present is what actually increases love, understanding, and affection.

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