Not so fast my friends. I believe that sometimes lying is the lesser of two evils. Of course I'm not advocating or promoting a life filled with deceit and deception. I am, however, stating that, in certain circumstances, lying has a proper time and place. Below is a list of the most common "white lies" we tell and the reasons we sometimes resort to them. How many times have you used these little fibs in the past? Don't lie to me.
“It wasn’t me,” because some things just aren’t worth taking credit for. “Your table will be ready in five minutes,” because it sounds a lot better than 15 minutes. “Oh, yeah, that makes sense,” because option B involves admitting that I am clueless. “Thank you so much! I just love it,” because telling someone that their gift sucked would make me look like an insensitive jerk. “Yeah, you look great in that dress,” because it’s better than being slapped or punched by her. “No, officer, I have no idea how fast I was going,” because claiming ignorance is sometimes better than admitting to noncompliance. “I’m 39,” because 39 is like 20 years younger than 40. “Yes, John was with me last night,” because that’s what friends do. “Yeah, I was a bad-a*s on my high school football team,” because we want to be seen by others in an even stronger light than we see ourselves. “I’m 21, 6’5, with a muscular build,” because you can’t see me in this online chat room. Sound familiar boys and girls?
One of the many problems with lying is that it becomes easier and easier to do. Also, what you consider a little white lie might not be so little to the person you are lying to. Of course, to soften this harsh word, we've created a lengthy list of euphemisms for lying over the years including, slight exaggeration, overstatement, tall tale, fish story, misstatement, stretching the truth, fib and the overused white lie.
There's an interesting 2009 movie that tackles the subject of lying in a unique way called “The Invention of Lying.” The plot: The film features a narrative set in an alternative reality in which there is no such thing as lying and everything said is the absolute truth. In this world people make blunt often unintentionally cruel statements. Not being able to lie has resulted in this alternative reality having no religions. The absence of fiction results in a movie industry limited to lecture-style historical readings and advertisements as bluntly truthful as the people are.
Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is an unsuccessful lecture-film writer who is assigned to write about the 1300s, a very boring era. One night he goes out on a date with the beautiful, charming and wealthy Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner). She tells Mark she is not attracted to him because of his looks and unsuccessful financial situation, but is going out with him to satisfy her extremely prejudiced mother and as a favor to Mark's friend, Greg Kleinschmidt (Louis C.K.). As Mark realizes he's the only person on the planet that can lie, he uses his "superpower" to achieve everything he ever wanted in life. It's provocative and well worth the watch.
The three biggest problems with lying are remembering just who you lied to, when did you tell the lie, and what was the lie. The truth is much easier to remember because it's the truth! Speaking about lying, I think we all know the answer to the question--How can you tell when a lawyer is lying to you? When his lips are moving."
I'll leave you with a favorite saying of mine by Winston Churchill--A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. Ain't that the truth!