Admit it, you’ve told a white lie or three (or maybe even over a dozen!) sometime in your life. And if put in the same situation, you probably would do it again.
But is it really okay to tell a white lie? How often has it been drummed into our heads that lying is wrong? But when there’s no other choice but to lie through your teeth, it doesn’t seem like such a bad option.
So why tell white lies?
1. To keep someone from getting hurt
Clarissa tells white lies to protect her friends’ feelings. “I hold back and instead of saying what I really mean, I say it in a nicer way,” she explains. “Like when I’m dying to tell my friend how dumb she is for going back to her cheating ex, I say that it’s good they're back together but if it doesn't work out this time, maybe it’s a sign it’s not meant to be.”
Jessica agrees. “I’d tell a white lie to avoid complicating things or to save someone from heartache.”
Although Luigi would rather not lie, he says, “It’s the lesser of two evils.”
Sometimes, you feel forced to tell a white lie. Pam explains, “When your friend asks you if you think she gained weight, I think it's safe to just say no, even if it's a lie!”
2. To get out of something
Anne doesn’t think it’s right to tell white lies, but she says she is very guilty of telling them. “Like when I don’t want to go to work and I feign illness,” she chuckles. “Or when people invite me to go out and I don’t really feel like seeing them at that time.”
3. To make the grade
In school, Clarissa admits to telling white lies to impress her teachers. “For essays or during recitation, you write down or say exactly what your professor wants to hear to get a higher grade - even if it isn’t exactly what you believe.”
4. To keep out of trouble
Trisha tells her parents white lies to keep them from grounding her—especially when she knows that she can manage the situation anyway. “For example, I tell my mom that I'm going to be at this one party but then I’m really going to two other parties. I know she won’t let me go otherwise,” she shares. “Or I tell my mom I passed my test but I almost failed by .5! I tell white lies so my parents don't get as mad as they would if they knew the whole truth.”
The problem with white lies
Despite these situations, everyone admits that it’s not exactly the ideal situation. “I try to avoid telling them because a lie is a lie no matter how white,” Jessica says.
Pam adds, “I usually tell white lies to keep from hurting people, but if you want to get your point across and be brutally honest, it's better to tell the truth.”
If you get caught telling a white lie, the repercussions may be as drastic as if you were telling an actual lie. “I know a girl who never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, so she’s always gushing about how nice something is even if you know it sucks,” Lucy says. “So we never really trust what she says anymore.”
When you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to tell a white lie, weigh the consequences first. If it’s really harmless, then go for it, but if it may not be a good idea in the long run, it might be better to choose the truth.
*names have been changed to protect their identities
Yahoo! Philippines SHE asks: What do you think about telling white lies?
Olivia Yao has been writing ever since she can remember. She has written for health, teen, parenting, and children's magazines. Her latest endeavor is being a mom to her three-year-old daughter—her toughest assignment yet.
Yahoo! Philippines SHE encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.