Is it better to lie than to hurt someone's feelings for being honest?

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  1. jaydawg808 profile image82
    jaydawg808posted 10 years ago

    Is it better to lie than to hurt someone's feelings for being honest?

  2. icykarma2122 profile image60
    icykarma2122posted 10 years ago

    It depends entirely on the situation. I've been known to lie outright, or at least not tell the whole truth, if the outcome isn't worth it. Why tell someone you've lost your job when you're getting another one next week?

  3. profile image0
    Ghost32posted 10 years ago

    That's a bit of a loaded question...but  I'll answer it as best I can.

    In my experience, when someone says, "I'm just being honest," the translation reads, "I'm about to be absolutely brutal."  Except, of course, when it's a used car salesman, in which case all bets are off.

    In one of the books explaining the tenets of the spiritual path I follow, there is a principle mentioned which pretty much tracks the old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  In our case, it's formed as a triple question:

    1. Ist it TRUE?
    2.  Is it NECESSARY?
    3.  Is it KIND?

    And if it's not ALL THREE...silence is golden.

    Now, that's a bit of a head-scratcher when you run up against something that's both true and necessary but definitely not kind.  But there it is.  So far (these past 38 years and some months), the principle has worked for me.  On my better days, I even break it down in my thoughts to an acronym:  TNK.  Short for THINK, and also TRUE?  NECESSARY?  KIND? 

    However--not to duck your question or give it a politician's dance-around--you asked about lying, not simply being silent.  Obviously, a lie flies in the face of the "Is it TRUE" portion of TNK...but there ARE times I will lie like a rug in less than a heartbeat, take whatever karma comes with that, and never flinch. 

    As en example, let's say I had the misfortune to be present when the Connecticutt shooting went down, could do nothing about it, but saw how a number of the victims died.  The images are (in this thankfully not-true example) in my head forever.  A parent of one of the deceased little ones comes up to me and asks if I saw how her child went?  She needs to KNOW, she says, I MUST tell her.

    No.  I must not.  I am neither a cop nor a reporter nor the medical examiner who had to do all the autopsies and report the findings.  I am, instead, the only survivor from the room where her child died, racked with survivor's guilt and burdened with nightmares for the rest of my life...AND I WILL LIE. 

    I will tell her, "I didn't see.  All I know was, it was fast."  If I have to, I'll make up a story about getting knocked out, SOMETHING, but I will not add to her burden in that way.


    Okay.  That's an extreme example.  But one thing of which I'm certain:  There is such a thing as too much honesty.

  4. Missing Link profile image69
    Missing Linkposted 10 years ago

    In fact sometimes it is.  I am an incredibly honest person but have learned sometimes in life it is in fact better to lie.  It depends on the situation and scenario.  Sometimes a person can be stupid as can be for being honest. 

    This being said, in most situations, honesty is the best policy.

  5. ramkimeena profile image55
    ramkimeenaposted 10 years ago

    Certainly it  is better provided  our action  does  not cause any harm  to anybody. If lying is going to cause  harm  to anybody, it  is better to  speak  the truth notwithstanding whether it hurts anybody's feelings or not. Truth is powerful. Ultimately we will  be respected by others if we are true. Even if it hurts others, we will be understood  and respected  by our truthful statements.

  6. Goody5 profile image61
    Goody5posted 10 years ago

    It may not be better, but some times a little white lie is necessary to spare someone's feelings.

  7. DDE profile image42
    DDEposted 10 years ago

    If you don't want to hurt the other person's feelings then keep quiet about it, telling a lie sometimes works in these cases.

  8. sparkster profile image87
    sparksterposted 10 years ago

    Absolutely not!  If that someone later found out that you had lied to them then they may be hurt even more than if you had originally told them the truth.  I have been lied to by people who didn't want to hurt my feelings but in the long-run the fact that they lied to me ended up hurting more than if they had just told me the truth in the first place.

    If you're talking about little white lies that are trivial and don't cause damage then I guess that's okay but I would much prefer that someone be honest with me right from the start.

  9. James-wolve profile image75
    James-wolveposted 10 years ago

    A lie is a lie is a lie ....
    I hate to put it so bluntly, but its true.
    A small lie can turn into an even bigger lie because if someone calls you out on it, you're gonna lie on top of that lie to cover it up.
    If you just be honest, even if you hurt someone, at least they know the truth.
    If you pretend you like someone and you don't tell them you don't like them, then they end up looking stupid in the end for you not telling them you didn't want to be their friend in the first place.
    If someone asks you "do you like my dress" and you lie and say yes, thinking you are sparing them, they will be hurt later on when they see a picture of themselves. It's far kinder to gently phrase the truth and say it doesn't seem to fit well through here and I think something else might flatter your figure better. To tell the truth you do not have to say you are too fat for that dress. There are gentle and kind ways to tell every truth and no lie is harmless.

  10. SunilKalsi profile image61
    SunilKalsiposted 10 years ago

    Depends what the lie is.

    Sometimes it's better to be honest if it means the person being hurt can learn from the truth and grow stronger.

    Having said that, some things are better left unsaid. If there is no good to the person hearing the truth then it's probably better left unsaid.

  11. ienjoythis profile image69
    ienjoythisposted 10 years ago

    Depends on the situation, of course. If the truth is pertinent, tell the truth. But if your girlfriend asks if you like her new haircut but you're really not a fan, tell her that she looks good no matter what. Basically, determine the seriousness of the situation and whether the person NEEDS to know the truth or not.

  12. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 10 years ago

    Honesty is always the best policy in the end.

  13. Wayne Brown profile image81
    Wayne Brownposted 10 years ago

    I agree with many others who have already spoke really depends on the situation and the subject matter.  We should all attempt to be as honest as possibly can but if the total value of that honesty is to measured in hurting another, then maybe that is information that is best left unstated.  Our words have meaning, intent, and impact and it is very hard to to take them back once they have been stated or read by another party.  Our honesty should never do more damage than good. ~WB

  14. Paradise7 profile image70
    Paradise7posted 10 years ago

    I don't think you have to lie in order not to hurt someone's feelings.  There are ways to avoid a direct answer that will be hurtful, without lying.

    For example:  Your dearly beloved sister asks you, "Do you think I'm FAT?"
    You can say:  " A little extra weight on a person is often healthier than being too underweight."

    In a work situation, tell the truth.  If your boss asks you about some irregularities, and you know the whole story and who is responsible, tell the truth.  Include any mitigating circumstances that you're aware of, but tell the truth.  Your boss needs to know the truth, in order to fix the situation and not let it get out of hand.  You might feel like the world's worst rat, especially if the person
    responsible is an office friend, but tell the truth.  It's better in the long run.

  15. jaredbangerter profile image77
    jaredbangerterposted 10 years ago

    There's ways to tell an unpleasant truth that won't hurt the person you are telling it to.

  16. ReneeDC1979 profile image59
    ReneeDC1979posted 10 years ago

    Honesty is the best policy.  Either tell the truth, or don't say anything.  If you are that concerned about the person's feelings, then keep silent.  But, don't lie.  What happens when they find out your real feelings?  They'll be more hurt you didn't tell the truth in the first place, and less willing to open up to you in the future.

  17. Gabriel Wilson profile image92
    Gabriel Wilsonposted 10 years ago

    It's always difficult to know if it's better to tell a little white lie or be honest; I guess it's probably better to tell the truth, but not everyone will thank you for it.
    I suppose you could go neutral and be indecisive or pretend not to have an opinion on the subject being discussed, however if it's 'does my bum look big in this dress?' I'd opt for the little white lie smile

  18. violetheaven profile image60
    violetheavenposted 10 years ago

    I think that there is a way to be honest with tact that doesn't nessacary cause a whole lot of pain... yet sometimes hurt feelings are unavoidable.  It is always better to be honest than to lie... because lies hurt feelings no matter what when the truth comes out.    At least the truth stands solid and shows that your are a respectable person.

  19. profile image53
    rameschgfposted 10 years ago


  20. Cyjh profile image61
    Cyjhposted 10 years ago

    It's not for me. smile

    Well, she/he will still know the truth so why would you lie?
    You will just double the pain...

    Being honest is the best way to show that you really care about someone's feelings.
    Yeah, that someone will be hurt if you said things honestly, but it's better than letting him/her live in a lie that would definitely break his/her heart later..

  21. Lor's Stories profile image60
    Lor's Storiesposted 10 years ago

    Sometimes lying is worse than telling the truth.
    No one lies to me about their feelings about me.
    I often TRY to keep quiet knowing they don't want to her the truth.
    And if you tell the truth then you look like the bad person.
    I have to get really mad before I tell the truth.
    It ends up in an argument.
    And even though I have been honest with people I usually apologize because most people think they never do anything wrong.
    There's a lesson here. I just have to find it.

  22. Nicole Danielle profile image55
    Nicole Danielleposted 10 years ago

    Personally I'd rather be hurt by the truth then to believe a lie. I have been lied to a lot in life and finding out something later along the way hurts 10x more then finding it out in a straight forward manner. I don't believe you should be brutally honest
    (in some situations) as you can tell someone the truth without sounding like you don't care or breaking a person down completely. Lies can spiral out until it becomes even worse then it initially was to start with. That just causes more pain in the end. So in my opinion why lie at all?

  23. profile image48
    Juno Smithposted 8 years ago

    Sometimes it is better to hurt a little first and have the person be able to make decisions and move on based on the truth and get better and stronger, than lie and the truth always finds its way… I know we often tell ourselves we don't know, maybe, but I have seen lies of 5, 10 15, 20 being caught in incredible ways… I, personally, understand that sometimes people wanted to protect me but really protected themselves from being responsible for their choices and actions, and/or from my wrath! I am a pretty nice good person (yes, I know… lol), but I would just leave you alone and move on. Which I did right after I discovered the truth most cases… GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE, THEIR RIGHT TO CHOOSE KNOWINGLY,don't rob them of their time, love, life, choices.
    Of course, there are cases where I learned to mind my business, keep quiet, avoid…but truth calls me…though relativity plays its part sometimes.

  24. profile image52
    frumpletonposted 7 years ago

    It depends.  Some people can't handle the truth.  For instance, a girl buys a dress for a social outing and you hate it and think it looks horrible on her.  You would like to tell her but you know she doesn't have anymore money to buy a different dress and the party is that evening.  You don't have anything that will fit her.  In that case, are you going to tell her?  She won't enjoy the party (if she even goes) because she will feel unattractive.  But there is help.  Maybe some accessories added to the dress would help, or fixing her hair differently.  Maybe color her shoes.  It is usually best not to lie but sometimes telling a bald faced truth is worse.


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