I was at a party with a friend and she asked me this very question. She really didn’t look so great in that particular dress. And so, do I tell her the truth? We are already at the party and there is nothing she can do about it. Or do I tell a lie so she can have a fun night? I choose to tell her she looked great.
While thinking about the subject of not telling the truth, it occurred to me that there are so many different kinds of lies, levels of lies.
There is the white lie. That is the lie I told. Where by telling the truth we will make someone feel bad. Or maybe shaving a few years off our age?
A lie by omission: We ask our partner what they did last night and they tell us they went out for drinks with their friends. But omit the part where they went to a strip club and got a lap dance.
Then there is Fabrication. Where we might say something that we are not sure is true and hence we start a rumor about someone.
How about plagiarism? This can be as big as putting our name on a work that someone else created, to having someone think we made that wonderful cake and us not correcting them.
Making a promise we have no intention of keeping?
Even exaggerating a story we are telling, is a lie.
And the big one: Deception – a bold face lie, with intent. Included here is stealing, cheating, scamming, etc.
I am sure the list goes on.
I know people who don’t think some of these are lies at all; Omission and white lies top that list. In fact, I have met a few people throughout my life, who only consider deception a lie. The other things they seem to be able to reconcile in their heads.
If something is not the absolute truth it is then a lie. It is that simple.
If we take into account all of the above, then it would seem that most, if not all, people lie, often times without even realizing it. It is part of human nature.
But we all have such a problem with that word. We are taught that if we lie, we are bad.
Absolutely, there are certain types of lies that will always be unacceptable to each of us.
But am I a bad person because of the lie I told my friend? Can I not be trusted at all? I think not.
I made a conscious decision and I take ownership for that choice. I will not play games with myself and pretend that it was anything else.
Maybe, rather then being in denial about what is true about the human condition – we can figure out what our thresholds for lying are; for ourselves and those for the people in our lives.
What can we live with and what are our deal-breakers?
© 2016 Alice Badler