"Sure," I said, and before I could stop myself, my eyes were looking at the poem. My worst fears were realized: the poem was poorly written, contained grammatical and spelling errors, and had no logical structure. I couldn't tell it was a poem. Was I being too harsh? Was I being a snob who didn't recognize the unorthodox form? It was possible. I just didn't like the poem.

"Do you like it?" the girl asked eagerly. I looked up into her face.

"Yeah."

She walked away, smiling.

My friend sitting next to me looked at me and could tell I had lied. She'd read the poem, too.

"It wasn't that good," she said.

"I know."

And yet, we had both lied. Should we have told her our true feelings and offered some advice? I wish I knew because even though I made her happy, I possibly gave her a sense of confidence as a poet. -- Rachel Oliver, Madison H.S.

As much as I hate admitting it, I have lied. I don't believe anyone has to lie in order to get by in life, but everyone does it. When I was 15 and 16, I dated a guy who amounted to nothing more than bad news. At first, I had permission to go out with him because there existed no reason for me not to. As the relationship continued, I discovered things about him that proved he had skewed morals, and he didn't care about himself or others. At the time, I didn't understand that if someone can't love himself, it is impossible for him to love anybody else. I thought he cared about me, even though he did drugs, cheated, and stole. My mother found out about his actions and finally put her foot down. She told me he was going to change me if I kept seeing him, so I was refused permission to see him any longer.

I still dated him. I deceived my parents by asking to go places with friends, knowing he would be there. It got to the point where I was always scared whenever my mother talked to me. My paranoia proved I was acting in a deceitful manner. I altered my words and actions to make her believe I was innocent. She trusted me (though her trust grew weaker and weaker), and for months I was someone else.

I remember this guy telling me he would go to church with me (to appease my mother) if I would start telling "white lies" in order to see him more. I said no, but I had already begun lying. I justified all that I did and made myself believe that I was not lying, just twisting the truth.

After a period of my mom not trusting me at all and always on the lookout for dishonesty, it was over. I discontinued my relationship and was punished by my own guilt. I finally told my mom the truth. I was grounded for a little while, but it had nowhere near the effect that my conscience had on me. -- Alexis Sebring, Carlsbad H.S.

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