It’s rant time. Today’s topic: pretending to be invested in someone’s life without actually following through.

When you have conversations with people, talking to them about their lives and sharing your own experiences, finding common ground and encouraging them, you give the impression that you care. Everybody gets that, right? It’s like saying, “I can totally get behind the work you’re doing. Bravo.”

So when that person invites you to actually experience that you’ve been praising, to step into life with them and see first-hand what’s going on, and you play dumb passively refuse with phrases like “that’s nice” or “good for you,” it’s basically as though after promising loyalty you’re deserted them to get shot in the back.

Why do people want to pretend that they care until it comes time to actually care even just a little? It boggles, irritates, and ultimately frustrates me.

Don’t be a coward about your loyalties. Don’t be one of those people who just says stuff to make people (or yourself) feel like you mean it. That lie will always fall down more painfully than being honest about your lack of interest. As best, you’ve just insulted someone’s intelligence and killed their respect by pretending that they can’t see right through you false assurance. At worst, they really can’t see through, and you’ll have to keep up the charade because they won’t leave you alone.

Trust me — this is not a game you can win. Even when you think you have, you’ve still lost.