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Little White Lies

I can’t make my mind up about little white lies.  So I thought I’d open it up for public debate!  You see, I think that deceit has a strong tendency to come back to haunt you at a later date.  Sometime those little white lies, turn into goddam scary ghosts!  Yet there are times when to tell the truth would ensure an unnecessary argument, disappointment or depression.

So is it right to tell a little white lie to protect the feelings of someone else?  And is it right to tell a little white lie to make yourself feel better about letting someone down in the gentle hope that they will accept that?

images-11I have a friend with whom I talk to a lot on the phone.  We instinctively know when something is up with the other but both, being great networkers, have a wonderful ability to avoid any subject, deflect a response with a glib often self deprecating remark and aptly change the subject to one where we feel more comfortable responding.  So how does that work?

Simples!  You ask a question.  Now, it is useful to have a few of these up your sleeve.  I am impressed with some of the options indicated in this forum:

We know instinctively when we are being fed a line or a story – don’t we?  The trouble is, if we question the validity of the tale we are suggesting the teller is being other than sincere.  Dare we question that? What if we are wrong?  How does that look then?

Well since I have no spatial awareness I’ll have to dodge those questions lest I trip myself up!!  Have a listen to this track by Jenniffer Kae.  It’s great!

Alternatively, we can blame Ricky Gervais as the Inventor of Lying – that kind of works doesn’t it?  Does anyone want to go see it with me?



  1. I think it is possible to frame anything positively without lying. If people simply describe what they genuinely believe will make things even better than they already are then it is possible to be both honest and positive. And if you do so for the benefit of everyone concerned I think that is ok.

    I also think that whilst it makes sense to be reasonably sensitive, taking responsibility for other people’s feelings is unhealthy. The key is authenticity. My biggest concern for my kids is the lack of positive role models in society who show a genuine understanding of what it means to be authentic, especially politicians. Personally I have never understood why politicians are not allowed to accuse each other of lying in parliament. Provided they can back it up with facts then I think it would be a great improvement.


  2. Hmm good subject Laura.
    I believe there are two types of white lies; the first being little twists of truths or fairy tales for children to make life more magical, although I forget how I must have felt when finding out the tooth fairy wasn’t real!!!!

    The second type of white lie is one told to protect people. Are they protecting us or our friends? I’m unsure. I personally try not to tell white lies as I find it hard to not tell the truth…sometimes I do feel the need to tell one, but then I feel awful.

    Surely a true long term friend deserves to be toldthe truth even if it could hurt feelings,…does that mean the friendship is not as true and connected? If I was choosing an outfit for a posh party with a friend I would expect to have an honest opinion to save my embarrassment of turning out in something not suited.

    When it comes to avoiding answering a question with a change of subject from a friend and I have a feeling something is bothering that person, out of friendship and love I would persevere with the questioning very subtly. I’ll perhaps change my tact each time; this may take weeks or even months, unless of course I am severely rebuked!!!! Again it depends on the people and the type of relationship I have with them.

    It’s certainly a tough one to answer!!!


  3. A french friend of mine had a great phrase, “your best friend stabs you in the front”, I always took this to mean that you should always be up front and honest with your friends and those you love. In business, Jack Welch puts much of his success down to his candour, it cuts through the politics and b***s***.

    But how the truth is delivered has all to do with EQ and your ability to empathise with others, ask questions and listen.

    Would love to say that I’ve never told a little white lie but that would be…you get the picture.

    Or is another song track’s lyrics right, “those little white lies we tell our friends they make no difference in the end…”

    PS Anyone tell me what song this is from?


  4. My personal take on it is that we only ever say things to other people that aren’t wholly true to protect ourselves, rather than to protect them. Whether that is, as you say Laura, that it is to help us feel better about letting them down, or helping ourselves to feel better about avoiding the inevitable discussions and/or arguments that may ensue is really neither here nor there. I tend to try and avoid things rather than lie outright if I can help it at all, but if someone asks me a direct question then I will always give them an honest answer, because I know that they will feel it close to their hearts (without being able to put their finger on it) that the truth has been avoided somewhere.

    And, apparently, according to the Daily Mail (!) a poll in September found that men told an average of six fibs a day, while women told three. The most common was usually the phrase ‘I’m fine’ when inside they were fizzing. Others related to income, accomplishments, sex life and age.


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