Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Are “white lies” a good thing or bad?


According to Dr. Robi Ludwig, a well known psychotherapist, there are actually times that telling a little white lie to someone else just might be the right thing to do.

We all know that lying is never good but sometimes the truth can do a lot of damage and it just might be better for everyone involved if we aren’t 100% honest all the time when dealing with other people. What good does it do to tell someone that their Christmas cookies are the worst we’ve ever tasted or that their new haircut looks completely ridiculous? Sometimes it might be best to “sugar coat” what we say to others.

Dr. Ludwig gives us four examples of times when it is OK to tell a little white lie:

1. When honesty is brutal and will only hurt the person that you are speaking to, a white lie is probably your best choice. What’s the point of making someone feel horrible about themselves when it can easily be avoided? It’s better to say “Yes, I love the color of your new car” than it is to say that it looks like an over ripe banana! We are not obligated to tell the truth when it will hurt someone or make them angry at us.

2. Being pleasant and polite is always a good idea even when it may not be true. Saying things such as “No problem” or “Happy to help” are a good way to show your willingness to help someone even if you don’t really want to.

3. Not telling your children the truth is very often the best choice to protect them from painful reality. What’s the point of saying that great grandma is very, very sick and may not be around much longer or that there really is no Santa? Obviously in these types of situations telling the truth is the worst thing you could do.

4. Another form of white lie is exaggeration. Telling your dinner host that “This is the best spaghetti I’ve ever had!” may be stretching the truth a bit but it makes them feel good and more importantly shows that you appreciate all of their effort, and why not?

As you can see telling a white lie under the right circumstances can actually be a good thing and it is not the same as what is referred to as a “hard” lie. A hard lie is when we try to deceive others to protect ourselves. It is a purely selfish act for our benefit only and more often than not leads to bigger problems in the future. So tell me please, isn’t this the best blog you’ve ever read!

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