8 Situations In Relationships When Telling The Truth May Not Be The Best Option

Date November 23, 2018

White and grey lies — and whatever lies in between — there are probably more shades of lies than shades of grey, and many people consider these to be only slightly different interpretations of the truth. Some of the white lies are simply common polite phrases, or just what the other person needs or expects to hear. Some are ways of saying 'no' without sounding like a horrible person or hurting someone’s feelings.

For a variety of reasons, we may choose to twist or stretch the truth, as well as not tell the whole truth. In most cases, this is what we choose to do in order to save ourselves or someone else from unnecessary pain, discomfort, stress, awkward explanations or negative reactions.

Honest communication and mutual trust are fundamental parts of a relationship, but sometimes telling the truth would be plain rude or hurtful and could get you into trouble. Here are 8 instances where you should consider avoiding the truth or formulating a different version of it.

1. When your significant other wants to know if you have ever loved someone more than him/her.

Even if you have agreed to be completely honest with each other, and some general information about your exes is what you both would like to know, tread lightly here. The volcanic passion and fireworks of strong feelings don't need to be mentioned — because nothing makes your significant other feel worse than hearing or assuming they aren't as good as somebody else. This can not only negatively impact their mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence, but it can also undermine your relationship and is potentially very destructive.

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2. If you are determined to put an end to a toxic relationship.

Accepting the fact that it would never work out and making the decision to end a toxic relationship is hard, but actually finding the courage and strength to get yourself out of it and move on is even harder. Any way you choose to end it won't be an easy one, but why create an obstacle course for yourself or add more drama where you absolutely don't need it?

The best option may be to walk away from a miserable, draining relationship quietly, without any discussions or warnings, even if it means you have to lie and prepare a prison escape route secretly. Toxic people tend to be highly manipulative and emotionally abusive, with a variety of tricks up their sleeve for making you stay or pulling you back. That, plus lots of empty promises you are probably fed up with already, is the last thing you need if you really want to break this perilous cycle.

3. When you need an encouraging compliment.

Sometimes, the effort and the time put into something should be valued over the direct result, particularly in relationships. While criticizing won't do anything for you or your relationship, a compliment can go a long way. For instance, when your partner makes breakfast or a romantic dinner, you should say it's delicious even if it is not exactly true.

When your girlfriend asks you if you like her outfit or her new haircut, saying that it looks great makes sense, especially if she can't change her hairstyle or clothes. These are white lies of the harmless kind, more like ways of saying something nice to boost someone's mood and self-confidence, because you love that person anyway, regardless of their hairstyle — which is the big truth that small white lies are meant to cushion.

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4. When you are planning a surprise.

Funny or not — but here I come — it is hard to explain why people tend to be nosy or catch you mid-action exactly when you are preparing a surprise for them. This is why something as simple and innocent as that may cause you to lie or twist the truth so that you don't spoil all the fun. Luckily, this can bring out an actor's talent in you, and confessing everything later may be something you will both have a good laugh about.

5. When the truth may kill one's self-esteem.

Your partner may have tried hard but failed, or continue to keep trying even though things don't look their best. It's not like he or she needs this to be pointed out, even jokingly, while your support, motivation, and encouragement are very important, whatever interpretations of the truth this may take to make things seem less harsh and disappointing.

Helping someone to believe in themselves and build their confidence often starts with something as simple as recognizing the attempt they have been making, and praising them instead of focusing on their mistakes.

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6. When you find someone else really hot or attractive.

Showing or admitting this is enough to fuel jealousy, but if your partner starts asking questions about it, you are most likely in trouble, so throwing oil on the flames doesn't make any sense. Answering with some variation of 'no' or laughing it off is probably a better option. Someone may certainly look like a fitness model or beauty queen, but staring at their body or flirting with them at a party is a brief, fleeting moment, while making your partner jealous is likely to have a long-term negative effect.

7. When you are breaking up with a good person.

A good person might not be right for you if the love just isn’t there. If it looks like your relationship isn't going to work out, it makes sense to end it sooner rather than later. The typical way of breaking up is to blame your partner for something, but if you don't want to leave him/her wondering how to fix it and get back together, it is better to say splitting is just something you have to do for both of you — because it is nicer than lying about how much you love him or her.

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8. When it is not your secret.

When someone entrusts you to be the keeper of their secret, this is a mission that should be taken seriously. The details of someone's private life you have accidentally found out when socializing with your friend or co-worker are also not worth repeating to someone else — this is just inappropriate. Saying "I don't know" or "I don't remember" when asked about something you do know or remember is one of the most common types of white lies out there. So is the one when your friends lie or make up a story and ask you to back it up.

Most little white lies do more good than harm, saving the situation or smoothing an awkward moment — unless they can have a long-term effect, making you continue lying to cover up your original lie. Can you think of any other examples when the truth is not the best answer? Please tell us in the comments!