When is it ok to lie?

Emus don't lie

Emus don’t lie

I value honesty very highly and try to be honest consistently. However, there are times I say things that I don’t truly believe. I don’t like getting into arguments with people as I don’t enjoy conflict, so I just go along with the conversation and keep my opinions to myself.  This could be interpreted as lying by omission.

If the subject of conversation is something I feel strongly about, such as, racism or discrimination, I am likely to speak up. My philosophy is generally, to live and let live. I can have friendships where people vote differently or have a different religion. I respect people’s right to have their own views.

In my post yesterday, “Women and War”, I wasn’t entirely honest. I suggested I didn’t support affirmative action for women, where in fact, I do. I know it is contentious and so I didn’t want to create a wedge or alienate myself. Was it wrong? Did it hurt anyone? I don’t think so, in the context of writing a blog, I think it was ok. If I was running for public office, I think it would be wrong to misrepresent myself in that way.

In our society there is a degree of public respect or good manners. If I went around being blatantly honest with everyone about everything, I suspect I could upset a lot of people. I would be considered rude, naive or ignorant. That is what tolerance is about.

Being deceptive is a different matter. Holding back information to pretend you are living a decent life while you are being unfaithful, stealing or abusing your entitlements, is a different matter. Even so, it is not for me to judge.

Each situation is different and one cannot generalise. Why hurt or alienate people when it is not necessary? How do we judge where to draw the line? That is for each of us to decide and live with our consciences.

Sincerely yours

Lorraine 🙂


9 thoughts on “When is it ok to lie?

  1. In most cases, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping an opinion to yourself to keep the peace. But I hope you’ll feel more free to be yourself on your own blog. Saying that you support affirmative action — or not — is just an opinion. You’re entitled to have opinions. And there’s at least one fellow blogger out there who wants to hear what you think. (After all … the blogosphere would be very boring indeed if we were all afraid to voice our opinions, right?)

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post!

    • Thanks for your encouraging comments!!
      I find blogging a great way to express myself a little more assertively than I do in ‘real’ life 🙂


  2. It’s never really okay to lie… but sometimes the truth is shaded to protect the innocent or guilty… Either ways, we should speak honestly whenever possible. 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth

      Thanks for visiting – I agree that honesty is preferable whenever possible.
      I hope the hurricane didn’t cause any problems for you. I’ve been wondering how you were going 🙂

  3. I think age and experience are great taskmasters!
    I have learned to be clever about who I mix with and when. I learned very quickly here in Ireland to avoid the work canteen. Not long after arriving in Ireland, I was baited at the lunch table… thinking the person was genuine I gave an honest answer, only to learn this person had ulterior motives and all he wanted to do was prove all South Africans were racist!
    Now, I mostly keep my own company at work…

    • Thanks again Vossey for digging up some of my old posts. I had to go and re-read as I couldn’t remember what it was about :).I can very much relate to your comments – a little bit of wisdom goes a long way in communication. Thanks for commenting once again.

      • It is interesting that since I gave up my part-time job as a real estate writer I am starting to find pleasure in writing again. When I left I said to one of the staff that ‘sometimes you have to give something up to make room for something new to come into your life’. It is a great feeling to actually WANT to write 🙂

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