It’s got to the stage now, in my late forties, where I try to minimize contact with unreliable, unpunctual people. For different reasons—for my parents it was a moral judgment, for me it’s just impatience—we have ended up sharing an aversion to particular forms of behavior. Especially lying. I am told that if you have brothers and sisters you learn to lie—about each other, or in collusion with each other to your parents. I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that I have grown up with almost no capacity for lying […]. My parents made me believe that as long as I was honest everything would be okay. I am still almost incapable of lying in real life. And it took me a long time to learn how to do so on the page.

– Geoff Dyer, “On Being an Only Child”, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews (2011)

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