Is Lying Ever OK? White Lies Justified
Does my butt look fat in this dress?
Honest Abe struggles with being honest, and at the same time, kind.
Was a white lie justified?
Do you consider yourself an honest person? Are you also kind, considerate and compassionate? Like Honest Abe, it’s hard to be both all the time. Many of us think we never lie. Or, that fibbing and withholding information is not really lying. According to researcher, Bella DePaulo, PHD there is a difference between big lies (the pathological liar) and little white lies (the liar who fibs in a kind way). Dr. DePaulo conducted an experiment and asked her research participants to tell the truth to everyone for a certain period of time. In the end, many of the research participants went back to their friends and apologized for being rude and insensitive. Sometimes the truth (how you really feel about something) is hurtful, and not necessary information to share with another person. For example, you are invited to a dinner party at John Doe’s. You’ve been to other events he’s hosted and frankly, you find him down right boring. Here’s my brutally honest answer: “thank you for the invite John, but I find you down right boring, and can’t fathom sitting through another dinner with you.” Here’s my little white lie answer: ” thank you for the invite John, but I’m booked. Let’s get together soon.” Was the white lie justified?
I recently listened to a podcast called In Defense of Ignorance. Check out This American Life to hear the entire program. The first story is hysterical. It’s about an entire family lying to their Grandma about her recent cancer diagnosis. Basically, it’s customary in China to “not tell” their elders they are dying. Listen to it for a unique perspective on withholding the truth to save a loved one from pain.
Save me from pain? Many of us want to decide what we can, or cannot handle. Don’t do my journey for me. It’s a fine line isn’t it?
Here’s an idea, spice up the next boring dinner party you’re attending with this conversation starter: ” Is lying ever OK?”
Let me know how it goes. Thanks.
Happy trails to you and yours, Allison