Social Question

longgone's avatar

Would you be willing to lie in order to surprise a loved one?

Asked by longgone (18298points) June 3rd, 2018

For a surprise date, maybe, or a present? Is the lie justified by the happiness your surprise will (hopefully) bring?

Bonus question: Can you think of any ways to successfully pull off a surprise date without lying? Let’s say you want to take your spouse to the movies, but want that to remain a surprise until you’re almost there.

I have a friend who will believe anything he’s told. It’s easy to surprise him, but I worry about taking advantage of that. Also, I like his personality. What if I turn him into a cynic?

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11 Answers

chyna's avatar

Of course I would lie in order to surprise someone. It’s done all the time.
You can pull off a surprise date just by saying “I’m taking you on a date, but the place is a surprise, so don’t ask.”

janbb's avatar

i was thinking along @chyna ‘s line. It’s not a lie if you put it like that and also the person doesn’t feel like a fool. I’ve told me Ex that we were celebrating his 40th birthday but not that it was a hot air balloon ride followed by a night at an inn. I also planned a surprise pool party at a friend’s for his 60th. He knew we were going there but not that it was a party and he was the guest of honor. He loved it!

Often surprise parties can be more for the guests and givers fun than the recipient who can feel dumb for not guessing so that is a factor. You don’t want your recipient to feel a fool so don’t tell him you are going to plant potatoes and then give him dinner at the Ritz.

So for me, it’s not the lying per se that’s the ethical factor but the desire not to humiliate the other person. For a spouse, you probably know what will be right. Trust yourself.

ragingloli's avatar

You mean like “Yes, I put lube on that strap-on.”?
Of course.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Loli, go back to your dungeon.

seawulf575's avatar

I have surprised my wife for her birthday twice. She tells me she hates surprise parties, but she loved both the surprises I came up with. And yes, I had to lie a little and refrain from actually saying things a lot more. Example…she was feeling sorry for herself on one birthday and said “Am I even going to get a cake?” The answer was “yes, I will be getting you a cake”. But I didn’t tell her that a friend was delivering it to the winery (location of the surprise party) and that her entire list of family and friends was going to be there.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yeah I would hva no problem with it.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Yes, depending on the extent of the lie and of course if I know the person can take the joke/surprise.

Soubresaut's avatar

I actually did just recently put together a semi-elaborate lie to surprise a family member with a gift. The lying part wasn’t so much fun—I had to keep up the ruse over several days, and kept having to double-check that what I was saying wasn’t going to rouse any suspicion. I was also convinced the family member was on to me (turns out they weren’t). But it wasn’t just me in on the surprise, and so it was fun, admittedly, to see how the others added to the fictional story we finally told the family member. Part of the story’s setup did require us giving them some fake bad news, so they had to sit with that for a while, thinking it was true… but ultimately I think that was okay. It enabled us to have a moment of reveal and make the way they received the gift more special than it would have been.

I’ve also taken part in a surprise party, and we took great care to come up with an alternative story that would make sure the person was dressed for the occasion and mentally prepared to be doing something celebratory. We were able to get a bunch of people there, including many the person hadn’t seen in a while (due to busy schedules). The person was touched by how many people were there to celebrate with them.

Jeruba's avatar

My first question would be: is it someone who likes being surprised? Surprise does not bring me happiness. It brings me great discomfort. I do not like being the center of attention, and I like it even less when I’m unprepared for it.

My husband, for instance, would never pull a surprise party on me. And I wouldn’t do it to him.

At my last workplace, a colleague and I had a solemn pact never to let each other be sandbagged by a surprise birthday party or other event supposedly planned in our honor. So we were the ones who were lying, if you want to look at it that way: we feigned surprise when our turn came but were not actually caught at a disadvantage and had time to prepare for the unwelcome spotlight.

If you’re sure a surprise would be well received, then I’d just say it’s the sort of case where the distinction between lies of omission and lies of commission is important. As my mother used to say, “You don’t have to tell all you know.”

A surprise present might be a different matter, but the giver is taking a risk if it’s a really totally unexpected gift. I, for one, have a hard time concealing my reaction to things—no poker face here—and would be unable to fake delight if I were really dismayed or disappointed. That makes it awkward for everyone.

kritiper's avatar

Yes, I could tell a white lie, one that does no harm.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, I’d be willing to lie to surprise someone.

I don’t really like surprises. So, I’d want to be sure the person I’m surprising likes them.

I’ve planned two “big” surprises for two different people. One had surprised me in the past, and one had said several times they wanted to be surprised. I regret both. Nothing disasterous happened, but it didn’t work out exactly how I had hoped. In fact, nothing negative happened, but it just wasn’t the over-the-top I had hoped for. Especially, the person who always said they wanted to be surprised. I feel like he liked the idea of it, but wasn’t in touch with his reality of how the experience would be. He’s still like that about several things, not just surprises.

Little things like a surprise gift or date I don’t think are a big deal at all if it’s just between two people, and not exposing the surprised person to having some sort of obligation to multiple people where they are put on the spot. Although, I have to say I don’t even like people to bring me flowers if they visit my house. Now, I have to deal with the flowers. I have a enough to deal with. I do appreciate the thought, I just don’t want them.

I guess my personal theme is don’t surprise me with adding work to my day. I’m going to include having to fake being happy as work. Since I feel this way personally, I’m loathe to inflict an uncomfortable position onto someone else.

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