People are inclined to lie, and some people do so more than others. However, the vast majority of individuals are largely honest most of the time.
When taken together, studies appear to suggest that while the average person is entirely truthful throughout a typical day, the majority of folks (95 percent) cannot go an entire week without telling at least one fib.
We can perhaps comfort ourselves in knowing that most of the lies people tell are little white lies.
So, what exactly is a white lie?
What is a white lie?
A white lie is a harmless or trivial lie told in order to be polite, keep from hurting someone’s feelings, or avoid an awkward situation.
White lies are not considered to be morally wrong like other types of lies, such as those that are harmful or hurtful. While white lies may seem like a small thing, they can actually have a big impact on relationships.
White lies told in order to avoid conflict or hurt feelings can erode trust over time, and make it difficult to build a strong foundation of honesty and integrity.
In some cases, white lies can also lead to more serious problems, such as when they are used to cover up something more serious.
For these reasons, it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate about when and why you tell white lies.
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What is the difference between lies and white lies?
All lies are technically false statements, but not all false statements are considered to be lies. In order for a statement to be considered a lie, it must be made with the intention of deceiving someone.
This means that if you make a false statement without intending to deceive anyone, it’s not technically a lie. White lies fall into this category.
While white lies are technically false statements, they are not told with the intention of deceiving or harming someone.
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Types of white lies
There are many different types of white lies, and they can be classified in a number of ways. Here are some common examples:
Harmless white lies
These are the most innocuous type of white lies. They are told with the intention of being polite or avoiding an awkward situation, but they don’t cause any real harm.
An example might be telling your boss that you’re feeling better when you’re really not, in order to avoid taking a sick day. Or tell your friend that you love her new haircut, even if you’re not crazy about it.
On the other hand, there are lies that can cause real damage, either to the person who is being lied to or to other people. These are the kind of lies that should be avoided at all costs.
Harmful white lies
These are the kind of white lies that can cause real damage, either to the person who is being lied to or to other people.
An example might be telling your child that Santa Claus is real when you know he’s not. This type of lie can undermine your child’s trust in you, and cause him or her to feel lied to and betrayed when the truth comes out.
Another example might be telling your friend that you’re too busy to help her move when really you just don’t want to do it. This type of lie can damage your friendship and leave your friend feeling hurt and alone.
Lies of omission
Lies of omission are a type of lie that can be just as damaging as an outright lie. An example might be failing to mention to your friend that you saw her ex-boyfriend out with another woman.
You’re not technically lying, but you’re also not being truthful. This type of lie can damage trust and create distance in a relationship.
In some cases, lies of omission can be more harmful than outright lies, because the person who has been lied to may never know the truth.
As a result, they may continue to trust the person who lied to them, even though that trust is misplaced.
These are the kind of white lies that can have serious consequences. An example might be lying on your resume in order to get a job.
This type of lie can lead to you being fired from your job, or it could even result in criminal charges. Another example might be telling your spouse that you’re working late when really you’re out with another person.
This type of lie can destroy trust and ruin relationships. So why do people tell big lies? Sometimes, it’s because they’re afraid of the truth.
They might be afraid of what will happen if they tell the truth.
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Why do people tell white lies?
There are a number of reasons why people tell white lies. In some cases, people may not even be aware that they’re doing it. Here are some common reasons:
To be polite
White lies are told every day in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or causing them discomfort. While it is important, to be honest, there are times when a little fib can actually be the more polite option.
For example, if you are invited to a party that you don’t really want to go to, it is better to say that you have a prior engagement than to tell your host that you’re not interested in attending.
To save face
Sometimes, people tell white lies in order to avoid looking bad. For example, you might tell your boss that you finished a project when you really didn’t, in order to avoid getting into trouble.
Or you might tell your friend that you’re too busy to help her move when really you just don’t want to do it. In these cases, people are more concerned with saving face than they are with being truthful.
To avoid conflict
In some cases, people tell white lies in order to avoid conflict.
For example, you might agree to go to your in-laws’ house for dinner even though you really don’t want to, in order to avoid getting into an argument with your spouse. Or you might tell your friend that you like her new haircut, even though you think it looks terrible, in order to avoid hurting her feelings.
In these cases, people are more concerned with avoiding conflict than they are with being honest.
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What’s the harm in telling white lies?
While white lies may seem harmless, they can actually do a lot of damage. Here are some ways in which white lies can harm your relationships:
They can damage trust
If you frequently tell white lies, it can damage the trust that your friends and family have in you. They may start to wonder if you’re really being honest with them, and they may become less likely to believe what you say.
They can create distance
If you tell white lies in order to avoid conflict or save face, it can create distance in your relationships. Your friends and family may start to feel like they can’t really trust you, and they may start to keep their distance.
They can hurt people’s feelings.
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Many people believe that white lies are harmless, but the truth is that they can actually do a lot of damage to relationships. If you want to have healthy and honest relationships, it’s important to be truthful with the people you care about.
Lies, even white ones, can damage trust and create distance in a relationship.
It’s better, to be honest from the start. Honesty builds trust and creates closer bonds between people. It may be difficult, to tell the truth sometimes, but it’s always worth it in the end.