Are Little White Lies Really Little?

white-lie-2White lies. They’re the lubricant of human interactions. “What an adorable baby!” “No, of course I don’t mind.” “I must have missed your email.” We tell them to make others feel better or to make us look better.

They’re seen as beneficial in close relationships, too, for the same reasons, but there’s a price to be paid for that. Trust. Every white lie damages the credibility of all other statements. Even if it’s done to make you feel good: “Do I look fat in these jeans?” Every shading of the truth protects your poor fragile ego from the realities of the world. How often is that a necessary or useful approach? Very seldom.

But do not use the truth as a weapon. Do not hoard it as ammunition for a fight. You can tell the truth and still be gentle and respectful. Remember it is only your truth, it is not the truth.

We can use a mirror to see our physical self, but we can only see our social self when it is reflected back to us by others, and when this image is distorted by white lies, it removes valuable information about our role in society.

A friend or partner who offers the truth is giving you a very rare and precious commodity. Hard though it may be to hear on occasion, do not act defensively and reject it, but honor the gift. It is useful. It is a privilege to hear someone tell their truth.

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