Little White Lies: to tell or not to tell

We have all done it. And if not, it is bound to happen. There are times when people feel the need to lie. That feeling may come when we want to avoid embarrassment, or maybe when we don’t want to get into any trouble. But what is a white lie, and should they be told to spare someone’s feelings?

“I believe that a white lie is just a small lie that wouldn’t hurt anyone, an example of this could be like when someone embellishes a story to make someone laugh or gain respect,” junior Zachary Riggs said.

A white lie is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to avoid hurting another person.

“I do not believe that any lies are ethical, and I think that it is bad to lie under any circumstance, but they can help at times,” Riggs said. “Some people overuse these, however, and they can no longer be trusted.”

Some think telling any kind of lie, whether it be for your own benefit or for the betterment of others, shouldn’t be done. Others would disagree, and say that if it’s for the well-being of someone else then it’s allowed. Once you find out someone tells a lie so often, they lose credibility and therefore the trust of others around them.

“I personally do not think that I tell white lies too much,” Riggs said. “If I had to guess how often I would tell one I’d say one about every three or so days.”

Most everyone has been guilty of the common instance of lies. It’s unavoidable. Whether being on the giving or receiving end of said lie, it happens to the best of the best.

“Someone once told me that something happened concerning my brother, and it was over a terrible subject that I’d rather not repeat, but I knew that this person was lying because they said that what happened was recent and my brother had been in prison for four years at the time,” Riggs said.

While lying might be excusable in certain situations, people tend to tell lies for the most random, obscure reasons imaginable. There are some times when stretching the truth turns out to be just breaking the truth and lying, even when it’s not for the betterment of others.

There are many kinds of lies. There are those that protect someone’s feelings, those that are for personal gain, those that are to benefit two parties, and those that are spiteful and meant to hurt others. They are often used in a color system. White, gray, pink and red.

“You know that person will be hurt by the truth so you tell a lie almost as an anti-confrontation device,” Riggs said. “They’re still happy, and they’ll never know that they were told a lie unless it later resurfaces.”

Oftentimes people find themselves in situations where if they told the truth they are aware of the anxiety and hurt that would ensue. In order to spare someone’s feelings and sanity, it’s just better to lie about it.

Lies, whether hurtful or not, are ingrained in the society. They’re practically inescapable at this point. When feeling as though lying is the only way out of something or the only way to not hurt someone’s feelings, the least you could do is make sure it isn’t pointless. That way, rather than lies being the thing that tears friendships apart or insults someone, they could build someone up.