I spot my friend as she enters the restaurant, and my jaw drops to the floor. Her formerly long, beautiful hair now looks like the unfortunate victim of a lawn mower attack. “Do you like it?” she asks hopefully as she arrives at our table. Without hesitation, I smile and respond with confidence. “Love it.”
I believe in white lies. But before you begin to judge, allow me to explain.
Like most semi-decent human beings, I am ardently opposed to big, extensive, inexcusable falsehoods. In no way am I in support of lying in the court of law or in an inspirational autobiography. Rather, I advocate little lies, like lies that excuse us from inconvenient obligations and spare hurt feelings.
Say there’s a party I don’t want to go to, for example. And conveniently it falls on the same day as my “grandparent’s anniversary dinner.” Through this minor fabrication of a conflict, I’m sparing the party thrower the misery of having an unenthusiastic attendee, while I myself am spared a night of complete boredom. And all of this without any hurt feelings. Everybody wins. A similar case can be made with the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” dump line. Well hate to break it to you, but nine times out of ten, it really is you. But it’s not like stating this fact is going to make anyone feel better. It’s under small instances like these that I find lying to be the better option. We can’t always choose honesty without compromising another, more important value, like the preservation of a positive relationship.
The most honest people I know, not so coincidentally, are also the ones with the least amount of friends. It’s not that they don’t mean well. It’s just that they have this skewed idea that it’s their inherent duty to single-handedly inform every person of his faults. And I know I for one don’t want to know that my shirt looks unflattering, or that I’m unusually bad at math, or that nobody actually wants to go to my birthday party.
I’m more content without these tokens of knowledge. So why tell me?
In society today, finding a person with self-confidence is sadly already a very rare occurrence. There is no reason to push the insecurity level even higher. Sometimes, honesty just isn’t necessary. If we all took the time to formulate white lies instead of carelessly blurting out the truth, I firmly believe that the world would be a bit more pleasant of a place.
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