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Gabriel's Groans: Why We Tell Little White Lies!

Updated on September 15, 2016

Phew! Think I Got Away With It!

Why We Tell Little White Lies!
Why We Tell Little White Lies! | Source

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Little white lies are perceived by many of us as a necessity to get through the day. If we answered every question truthfully we'd be exhausted, unpopular and most likely unemployed by lunch time; not to mention the possibility of physical harm being inflicted upon our person. Our valium prescription would cost a fortune in the hope of saving our sanity. Our best friends would be our enemies and the world as we know it would seize to exist. There would be no such thing as divorce because people wouldn't marry in the first place. The blatant truth between lovers is not always a good thing. Seriously, can you imagine it? We'd all have to wear our beer goggles forever. No woman wants to know her bum is big in everything especially that dress. No man wants to know he looks ridiculous in speedos. In fact no man wants to know he looks ridiculous in any pants that are above his ankles.

The little white lie is what we tell when the truth hurts. Who the truth hurts is the backbone of the little white lie. If the truth hurts someone for whom we have an intolerance to (I never say the hate word) then frankly the truth is gonna hurt; a lot. However if the truth hurts someone we care for then a little white lie rally's to the rescue. We smile sweetly and reassure our loved one that of course they'll get that job (like hell, with your credentials), will meet that perfect someone (perfect for you, maybe) and no, you can't see a bald spot (when you wear a hat, that is) and beauty is in the eye of the beholder (just gotta find the beholder, is all).

We tell little white lies because we want to save face; sometimes even someone else's face but mostly our own face, or ass whichever is in the firing line. Saving our butts, our jobs, keeping our friends and staying out of trouble are just some of the reasons why we tell little white lies. Of course divorce and murder are two more reasons. When does anyone involved in either of those tell the truth. Touché. Who in their right mind is gonna tell a police officer they were speeding when they get pulled over for speeding? No one, that's who. Imagine telling your boss to take a hike when he or she asks you to do extra work without extra pay. Yeah right, not a sinner among us. How many of you lie about your weight, height and age? Deducting inches to add somewhere else. And telling people your forty. Ha! whatever. Liar liar your pants are on fire.

We tell little white lies because it's easier than being honest. Very often when we are honest we get absolutely no thanks for our frankness or for telling the truth. In fact honesty can alienate you from those you love and care for. Honesty is not always the best policy. There are times when dodging honesty with a little white lie is crucial to survival. Only someone with a death wish will admit their partner or spouse irritate the crap out of them. Who's ever gonna confess that murder seems too good for some people they know. And what about the in laws? Just think about it. What would your life be like if you didn't tell the odd porky to your mother in law? There's only one answer. Hell. Then there's those embarrassing moments when honesty just wouldn't work at all. Those moments when bodily functions are blamed on some poor oblivious sod. The one that usually smiles back when everyone stares at them. Or the real reason you've got a doctors appointment (chronic diarrhea) is camouflaged by the words 'routine' and 'check up'. And the hair dye in your supermarket trolley is for your mother! Yeah right! Of course it is. I guess the powder puff and the big knickers are too.

Then there's the story telling little white lies that we tell our little ones. Santa Claus coming down the chimney. As if he'd fit. The tiny Tooth Fairy being able to lift a whole pillow on her own; I don't think so. And the Easter Bunny; yeah right. Everyone knows bunnies eat carrots not chocolate. The mean ole parents that tell their kids they're gonna see a man about a dog. I have scars from being told that. I'm still waiting for the damn dog. And eating crusts won't make your hair curly. Although they might be responsible for your hair falling out. Just saying I've ate a lot of crusts. As for making faces when the wind changes; I think that might be true if you calculate the wind changing over a period of time. Like years...


We all have different reasons why we tell little white lies. Every day we have numerous opportunities to lie to someone about something.

  • To hold onto our sanity.
  • Prevent the truth from causing hurt to those we love.
  • To save ourselves and others from embarrassment.
  • Honesty is not always the best policy.
  • And who the hell is gonna squeal on Santa Claus.

So folks. Here's the big question. Do you do the Pinocchio? Nah! thought not, neither do I. Let's all stick with the funky chicken.

How often do you tell little white lies?

See results

© 2011 Gabriel Wilson


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    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      9 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi sasanka7. Your story sounds very interesting; I have never heard it before. Tanx for stopping by :)

    • sasanka7 profile image


      9 years ago from Calcutta, India

      You have very nicely and explicitly narrated why we tell little white lies. It reminds a rhyme “Johnny Johnny—yes Papa, Eating sugar… no Papa , Telling a lie- no Papa… open your mouth—Ha ha ha.

      There is a proverb in Sanskrit “Always speak the truth… always speak sweet… but never speak the unpleasant truth. “It is a fact that sometimes for courtesy’s sake, sometimes to avoid unnecessary awkward position; we have to tell white lies. Occasionally in everybody’s life it happens such an unpleasant incidents and memories which have to keep only in his / her mind and never should be disclosed to others. In Hindu mythology and epic, “Mahabharata” the king Yudhisthir was renowned for his truthfulness. But once in his life he told a white lie to his most respected teacher and relative ‘Dronacharya’ who is fighting against him. ‘Dronacharya’s son, ‘Ashwatthama,’ by the grace of God, was immortal and never be killed but a rumor was spread to dishearten and make him weak that his son was killed. ‘Dronacharya’ did not believe it except the ‘Yudhisthir’ tells the truth. Yudhisthir was strict in his principle not to tell a lie. That day an elephant whose name also the same ‘Ashwatthama’ died in the war. Lastly being pressurized by others he told audibly ‘Ashwatthama died’ but inaudibly uttered ‘it is the elephant.’

      Definitely there should be a limit to what extent the white lie should be spoken. It may be dangerous if it cross the undamaging limit. It is a common question asked by friends and relatives: How are you? We generally used to reply ‘fine’ without any hesitation to avoid further details which neither he nor we are eager to discuss the truth.

      Nice hub I enjoyed it. Voted up and beautiful.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      10 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Earth Angel; that was some comment and a truly delightful read. Thank you for expressing your thoughts. Perhaps you're right about being honest. Though I fail most of the time, I think I'll start trying a little harder.

      Thank you.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      10 years ago

      Dearest Gabriel,

      What a delightful Hub! And yes, of course, I have been as guilty as any in telling my share of little white lies over the course of my long life!

      I totally agree with many of your points, especially "We tell little white lies because it's easier than being honest."

      I'm afraid it's become a little too socially acceptable to take the easy route! Most all little white lies can be avoided with a bit of compassion, thought, and creative diplomacy!

      Little white lies are sometimes the solution; but in whose eyes are they "little" and "white?" I would much rather hear the truth delivered with love and a bit of forethought, even if it hurts, than a little white lie any day!

      Little white lies usually require some kind of follow up as well! The next time a person wears those short pants, Speedos or dress that is way too tight, the same folly is repeated!

      When asked, "how do I look?" there is nothing wrong with stopping for a moment, looking carefully and responding with, "Well, you always look good to me, but that choice is not as flattering as some of your others."

      I also agree with your comment, "There would be no such thing as divorce because people wouldn't marry in the first place." I too have come to think of marriage as "the collection of lies we agree to tell each other." That's one of the reasons I have not participated in many years!

      And yes, I do admit to the police officer I was speeding! The officer has a radar-gun; it seems foolish to lie against concrete evidence to the contrary? I think 9 times out of 10 an officer will let a speeding driver off with just a warning if they feel the person is fully aware, taking self-responsibly, sorry for the offense and sincerely intends to do better!

      Telling little white lies erodes trust! It also erodes self-esteem, both in the person telling the little white lie and the person hearing the little white lie!

      Little white lies seem to take little white chips out of our souls; too many chips and we have a hard time even finding/feeling our souls!

      I think we are all smart enough and evolved enough to eliminate at least 90% of the little white lies we tell with a bit more effort!

      Blessings always for sharing this wonderful Hub and ensuing dialog! EarthAngel!

      P.S. Regarding Santa and the Easter Bunny, my parents went out of their way to keep the Santa Claus story alive for my brother and I long after our peers knew the truth! Big dirt clogs left behind from reindeer hooves along with half eaten carrots could be found on our driveway along with remnants of Santa's red suit covered with soot stuck up inside the fireplace!

      My parents had good intentions, but as we grew and began asking more probing questions, the little white Santa lie became bigger and bigger and took huge amounts of energy and calculated manipulation to keep going!

      I have seven God-children and we talk about "the Spirit of Santa" just like "the Spirit of the Easter Bunny" and the wonderful lessons of generosity and love and playfulness, as well as sacredness, of these traditions! We also talk about how these holidays are celebrated and interpreted around the world!

      Just a thought!

    • ShyeAnne profile image


      10 years ago from Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada

      Good read!

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      10 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      That is, I hope why most of us do tell lies.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      When I first told my son about Santa Claus I lied; and he will undoubtedly pass this on to his children. Lies vary; as long as they do not hurt others, sometimes a lie is the best solution...especially, when we are trying to help or protect those we love.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      10 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      It's true; a lie is sometimes the only way out.

    • optimus grimlock profile image

      optimus grimlock 

      10 years ago

      great article "no baby that shirt doesn't make you look fat, it makes you look good" a white lie everyone can be happy with lol

    • Sarah Masson profile image


      10 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Everyone has lied at some point or another and if they say they haven't then well...they're lying lol!!


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