‘Be honest, don’t be f****ing stupid’. This lovely tag line accompanies a picture of a wife in her new dress, asking her terrified looking husband the age old question of, ‘does my ass look big in this?’. Sometimes honesty just isn’t the best policy. There are times when a little lie may be more appropriate than the cold truth. So lets look at some of the more popular, white lies that we tell, usually in an act of self-preservation.
1. It wasn’t me: Ah yes, ‘the take the focus away from me’ lie. If it wasn’t you, then it must’ve been someone else. This lie tends to be followed by hinting that, ‘it must have been one of the kids that did that’. The set back here is watching one of your kids getting an earful for something that you know that they didn’t do. It’s easy to pawn off your guilt though, as you tell yourself that it won’t do them any harm. They have probably gotten away with something in the past and this is your very own version of karma.
2. Thanks very much, it’s just what I wanted: This lie is more awkwardness avoidance. Your face gives away the fact that this is probably the worst present that you have ever received, but your words convey your overwhelming gratitude. ‘Would you believe, that I was going to buy this for myself only last week?’ You dig deep for words and wriggle room, your face though, will always betray the fact that you’re thinking, ‘what the hell is this?’.
3. ‘Yes, Mick was out with me last night’: As a man it’s your sworn duty to answer in this way. His wife wouldn’t be asking the question unless he had said he was with you. You can ask him about it later, but for now, you answer only what you have to answer and deflect, deflect, deflect. When the questions become specific then resort to another lie, fake a heart attack, anything, just get out of there.
4. ‘I’ll call you back’: this is maybe a harmless little lie but you know that well before you have hit that red button to end the call, you have no intention of calling back. This lie can be teamed up with, ‘I was just about to call you back’ and on answering the phone, ‘the very man, I was just about to ring you’.
5. ‘Im on the way’: Inevitably this line is from a pub somewhere that you are having great craic in. It’s probably the second or third time that you have said already and you even answer the phone now with this statement instead if ‘hello’. As the night progresses this lie is usually accompanied by, ‘Mick just bought me a fresh pint’, and in fairness he does owe you one from lie number 3.
6. ‘I wasn’t looking at her’: it doesn’t really matter how obvious that your staring was. There’s always something in the background that you can pick out to justify nearly crashing the car over a short skirt or a low cut top. ‘I was looking at the bus stop behind her, what a queue’. If all fails, turn the tables and agree, ‘yes I was looking at her, the state of her, did you see what she was wearing, scandalous?’
7. ‘Im 6′ 3″ with an athletic build’: Online chatting has its advantages and why would you describe the real you, when you don’t have to. You know that you’re competing against every other make on the site that’s lying, so this is really only levelling the playing field. Very hard to get an actual date this way though, hard to explain how you shrunk and piled on three stone in a week.
8. ‘There’s nothing wrong’: Oh yes, a favourite from the women in our lives. To be honest, if you are hearing this answer, well then it’s your own fault, you obviously made the schoolboy error of asking, ‘what’s wrong?’. If she has a face on her that would stop traffic, don’t ask the question. If she tells you what’s wrong, refer back to lie number 1.
So there’s a time and place for the truth, honesty is the best policy in most scenarios but remember that self preservation is a priority. If the truth hurts don’t tell it, that means if the truth will get you hurt, don’t tell it. We all tell and are told white lies, each and every day. It’s a fact of life and aren’t we better off for it.