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Truth be told: When it’s OK to tell a white lie
Dr. Robi Ludwig shares four instances when it’s OK to fudge the truth

By Robi Ludwig, Psy.D.
TODAY
Updated: 11:05 a.m. ET Oct 3, 2007
Now, let me make myself perfectly clear, I’m not one for lying or for telling people it’s OK to lie. Having said that, telling a little “white lie” every once in a while might actually be healthy when it comes to managing our interpersonal relationships. I clearly don’t 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 it’s 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 “I like your new, extremely short haircut” when in reality it’s just awful. Brutal honesty can be used as a toxic weapon. We are not obligated to tell the whole truth if it hurts someone’s feelings.

2. A little white lie like mentioning the tooth fairy or Santa Claus is acceptable when it protects a child’s innocence or creative imagination. How can you argue with that one?

3. Offering passing pleasantries, like “Oh … it’s no trouble at all” or “I’m fine, thanks for asking,” counts as OK in my book, too.

4. Complimenting someone, but perhaps taking it a little too far, like saying “Your cookies are the best I’ve 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’s OK to tell a white lie - TODAY: Relationships - MSNBC.com

~~submitted by draconis~~
 

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I will always try to not lie period. But I don't see the need to be rude either.

(ugly baby) Is she the cutest? [me] I can see she is the precious to you, oh listen to that cute laugh.

(cooking) How is that new meal? [me] Personally I prefer your chicken, that is the bomb baby!

draconis
 

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i actually disagree with this train of thought. i dont like being ambiguous or deceptive in any way. i think there are better ways of saying how one really feels, but one should never lie about it. i'm not saying that i dont, but i dont think its right and i try not to.
 
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i disagree also. its not ok to tell a white lie or such.
that white lie escalates and it starts the bigger picture.
ok im not saying i did not years ago (child, teenager).
but im an adult now. there are ways and other means or avoidance.
i have 2 children and i dont encourage n e disception .
how can we make our children a better generation of values and morals if we encourage wrong doing.
 

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Telling lies is just about the only thing that my three year old gets spanked for. If she tells me that she has lied and then tells the truth then she gets time out, but if she continues to lie then she gets a spanking and time out until she is ready to tell the truth. She learned that telling the truth was much better very quickly. All other offenses, she gets a time out and good talking to.

I have never been a good liar and was raised not to lie about anything. I have been called blunt, but have never lacked for friends because people know that I will not deceive them.
 

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My wife knows what will happen if she asks if a dress suites her. Or even a haircut. I tell her my true feeling. I put it as well as I can of course. In the past with some haircuts, I have said things like - I need a few days to get used to it, or give it a couple of weeks to grow in...

But I swear, If she got a really bad haircut that just ruined her looks, I would send her back to the barber. Because I know it just kills her if she thinks she looks stupid, and she does not find out 'till after the party or social function or whatever.

She still asks my opinion...
 

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I will always try to not lie period. But I don't see the need to be rude either.

(ugly baby) Is she the cutest? [me] I can see she is the precious to you, oh listen to that cute laugh.

(cooking) How is that new meal? [me] Personally I prefer your chicken, that is the bomb baby!

draconis
:iagree:
 

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I agree with the principles. I like the definition that a white lie is to protect (or maybe soften a response) for someone else whereas a hard lie is to protect oneself. For example, I prefer long hair on a girl. My Gf typically gets it cut short. But I tell her I like it on her (I like anything on her :) ). But she knows my preferences. She also asks my opinion because I won't outright lie, either. Communications is key. Kids, OTOH, try to get away with whatever they can; it's part of their learning experience. When they get caught out, then it's punishment time.
 

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Lying is lying...if you believe otherwise, you are in fact lying to yourself. If I find out my husband has lied to me he gets a major *****ing...white, black, red, or pink lie...that *****ing includes not being ready to rock his bones for a while also. Why would you want to share your body with someone who thought it was ok to lie to you. Isn't this supposed to be a marriage/self-help site...if a counselor told me and or my husband to "sometimes" lie to each other...I'd get up from the comfy couch, cancel any further sessions with them and contact the liscense dept. and let them know they are a crock of crap.

Sure...lie to each other...that will make you closer...
Who gives a crap if he likes my hair cut...Id rather him say it sucked but be honest with me...if I like it who else matters...my body baby.
 
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