Social Question

zebter's avatar

What is a white lie?

Asked by zebter (571points) February 12th, 2010

Is it ever OK to make up a story and lie about something to make yourself look better or to impress someone? If the story make the other person very happy and then later they found out months later it was just made up how would you feel?

I was told I was getting a new saddle for my horse and when the person who bought it got mad at me they told me they took it back and I was not going to get it for my birthday after all. I did some research and found out that this person never got it. Would you consider this a white lie?
Give me some idea of what you would call a white lie and please do share lies you have told in order to compare.

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26 Answers

neverawake's avatar

I’m not sure but I’m told a tell a lot of “white” lies. And maybe I do. Hey, don’t we all??

zebter's avatar

we all tell lies to a point but.. what if the other person has a history of making up lies and then using them to hurt the other person. When is enough enough when it comes to such things and where do you draw the line?

I have tried to explain to this person how it hurts me to be lied to and its like they do not even care or want to change this sort of behavior.

Poser's avatar

That isn’t a white lie. That’s manipulation in an attempt to make you feel bad.

zebter's avatar

that is what I thought too.

tomokawaii's avatar

a white lie is a lie that is just made up to cover yourself up.
without doing any damage to anybody else.

zebter's avatar

the other person told me I was making a big deal out of nothing when they knew it was something that I really wanted.

zebter's avatar

plus they kept telling me they did not understand why I would not let it go. And when they told me they took the saddle back I told them I did not think they had bought the saddle to begin with. They questioned me and said that I did not think much of them and to tell them what kind of person do you think I am? That made me feel horrible.

zebter's avatar

Do you think I am making a big deal out of nothing?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

To me, a white lie is a lie in which no one gets hurt.

frdelrosario's avatar

“Hey, great question”.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve always thought that a white lie was one told to prevent another person from being hurt: “Wow, what a great haircut!”

laureth's avatar

The OP’s example would not be a “white lie.” A “little white lie” would be something like this:

Cashier: Hi, how are you today? :)
Suzy, who just learned that her dad was in an accident, the dog died, and whose husband had just filed for divorce: “Fine, thanks.”

Clearly Suzy is not fine, but she need not unload her troubles on the poor cashier. So she tells a white lie and says she’s fine.

They smooth social interactions and help people play nice with others.

zebter's avatar

Ok… It really was not a saddle but it was a nice red leather sofa for the whole family.. so I lied in asking my question but I just wanted to tell the truth as it was really bothering me to lie about it. And the item was said to have been put on layaway but after calling the furniture place I found out there was no way in hell he could have put it on layaway and thus caught him in yet another lie.

Some how he seems to think its ok to lie all the time. I do not get it.

Disc2021's avatar

Perhaps the person was planning on getting it – although in which case, they could have easily just said “I was planning on getting you this but not anymore” and it probably would’ve gotten the same effect.

I think generally people dont want to lie; most people aren’t out to destroy each other. Lying happens when the truth gets too unbearable for a given situation. It’s not okay or justified – but I think people can work on not being prone to tell lies. No one is perfect and the biggest saint has probably told a million lies.

I would confront the person simply just by saying it kind of hurts you when they tell fibs like that in order to manipulate a situation, for better or worse.

To answer the original question – A white lie is supposed to be a lie with good intentions. Telling a friend’s mother that dinner was wonderful (even though it was lousy). Telling your parents that you’re fine when really, you’ve just been in a car accident and broke your foot. Telling a little girl she looks beautiful when really her make-up is smeared all over her face and she looks like a clown. All of these lies are well intended – but still lies. It happens daily by the second.

zebter's avatar

We talked more about it last night because it really hurt me a lot. What I think it boils down to is self esteem and him not thinking he was good enough or ever gets me what he thinks I want. In turn since he had made up a lie he kept having to support it until he could not lie anymore with out being caught which in turn he took the first chance he could to get out of the lie when we were having a fight over marriage issues.

All I know is I am at my breaking point and I will not stand for any more such lies as there was never a need for it to begin with. All he needs to do is be him self which is enough for me and just him getting a cake and blowing up candles would have been good enough for me. :)

zebter's avatar

@Disc2021 yes those kind of lies are ones I can handle and that does not bother me.

I do feel better now that I feel like I have closure after talking to him last night. He knows where I stand and how wrong it was to tell me that lie.

All I know is with our problems we already have which we are dealing with this was not something good to add to the mix.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Another therapeutic avenue in ruins. I should have taken a left at Albuquerque.

chyna's avatar

You two need therapy.

zebter's avatar

We are trying that too.. I set up the appointments.. Stink’n counselor’s phone number does not work all of a sudden going to e-mail her and make sure the session is still on for this week. I will go alone if I have to.

chyna's avatar

@zebter That’s a good start. Good luck.

zebter's avatar

I am trying the best I can. thank you.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s an effort to spare the feelings of another but it’s still a lie.
Small lies all too often give way to larger ones and if you can’t trust a person, then it’s impossible to have any sort of relationship with them be it romantic or friendly.

Silhouette's avatar

A white lie is an evasive answer. What you are describing is an outright lie.

zebter's avatar

That is how I feel too but he kept telling me it was a white lie and that I was making a big deal out of basically nothing and could not see why I would not just drop it. Well this sort of thing has been happening to me for years with the small lies that upset me and he just does not get it. This shows me that with all of our other problems I may never be able to trust him with little or big things ever again. I just have no clue any more.

laureth's avatar

@zebter – You say you have no clue anymore, but (if I may be frank), it sounds like you do. You know he’s a liar, and that’s a big clue. You know you can’t trust him if he keeps doing that. You may even realize what you should do – it’s just difficult. But I wouldn’t call you clueless.

zebter's avatar

@laureth you are right!

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