The white lie is an age old embellishment that has different reasons for being told. When it is all said and done a white lie is still a lie. A lie told with perfectly good intentions. A lie told to spare someone’s feelings. A lie about something trivial, which will have few consequences if you’re caught. A minor, polite, or harmless lie, a white lie is considered harmless as opposed to a black lie which is evil. Anything that is not accurate is a lie.
There are a million reasons to tell a social white lie. Being nice leads to lying to prevent hurting someone’s feelings and it is commonly used by all. The baby in a stroller and the mother looks up, it is natural to say “What a cute baby” It could be the ugliest baby; yet the need to make a charitable response leads to a lie. Or Men say “I love you too” a white lie commonly told by men. The boss has on a dress that looks horrible, “What a beautiful dress” would someone tell the boss her dress is ugly. These are just examples of how we get caught up and we feel the need to say something positive instead of telling the truth.
Lying begins early, if you observe children most know how to fib at the age of 4. By 6 they stop fibbing and begin lying. Watching and observing their parents, they gain insight in imitating their parents in the art of deception, they are told how to lie to relatives about gifts they may not like, and thus starts the white lies.
The proverbial lie is used in our society to make small talk, to have someone show favor, when we greet someone, and we often lie to ourselves, “I am going to get up each day and walk.” I’ve said it, and I know I want to but I don’t. Salesman says anything you want to hear to sell a product. The doorman says “Have a good day”, no tip, doesn’t care if you even live another day almost every white lie is because of what a person wants to achieve with that white lie. It is almost second nature to living how we deceive, the Landlord I mailed that check yesterday. I lost my debt card can’t make the payment today will call as soon as I get my replacement! *I can’t come in today I have diarrhea; you’re going to the movie matinee.
Researchers have been studying deception for decades, trying to figure out why we tell lies. It seems that our capacity for deceit appears nearly endless. That doesn’t mean we just tell a lie to hear it there is a purpose for the madness. Still lying is generally regarded as immoral and distasteful, “No one likes being lied to,” says former FBI agent and lying expert Joe Navarro. “We use lies to grease the wheels of social discourse.” Says University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman.