Truth be told: When itís OK to tell a white lie
Dr. Robi Ludwig shares four instances when itís OK to fudge the truth
By Robi Ludwig, Psy.D.
Updated: 11:05 a.m. ET Oct 3, 2007
Now, let me make myself perfectly clear, Iím not one for lying or for telling people itís OK to lie. Having said that, telling a little ďwhite lieĒ every once in a while might actually be healthy when it comes to managing our interpersonal relationships. I clearly donít need to go into all of the reasons why telling the truth is important. One of the fundamental foundations for our relationships depends on our ability to rely and trust those who are most dear and close to our hearts. So, now that I got that out of the way, I can talk about some of the reasons or exceptions to why telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, might actually not apply. Here are four instances when itís OK to tell a little white lie:
1. When the whole truth tears someone down and makes them feel horrible about themselves rather than builds them up, like saying ďI like your new, extremely short haircutĒ when in reality itís just awful. Brutal honesty can be used as a toxic weapon. We are not obligated to tell the whole truth if it hurts someoneís feelings.
2. A little white lie like mentioning the tooth fairy or Santa Claus is acceptable when it protects a childís innocence or creative imagination. How can you argue with that one?
3. Offering passing pleasantries, like ďOh Ö itís no trouble at allĒ or ďIím fine, thanks for asking,Ē counts as OK in my book, too.
4. Complimenting someone, but perhaps taking it a little too far, like saying ďYour cookies are the best Iíve ever had," is also acceptable. Mild false truths make it easier for people to get along and are primarily harmless in most cases.
The major difference between a white lie and a hard lie is that a hard lie is said to protect oneself, whereas a little white lie is said to protect someone else. Relationships can be complex and tricky at times. Sometimes a harmless, thoughtful pleasantry is just what the doctor ordered. Truth be told: When it‚Äôs OK to tell a white lie - TODAY: Relationships - MSNBC.com
~~submitted by draconis~~