Most people, on a surface level, have a firm stance on lying. Ask anyone you know, “do you think it’s okay to lie?” and their answer will give you a relatively insightful idea of their character. Some people will say “no, never!”…and those are people I do not trust. Everyone lies from time to time, and if you’re not willing to admit it, then you’re a liar. It’s about time we dig deeper, look further into the realm of lies.
So today’s post is going to explore and rank the different kinds of lies, depending on their perceived severity. Why do we lie? What are the pros and cons? Are all lies created equal? And when is it okay to lie?
It could be argued that an unintentional untruth doesn’t count as a lie. I disagree. As this list can attest to, a lie is defined as something you’ve said that is untruthful. That definition does not negotiate according to your intent. Often when I make an innocent mistake, I say, ‘oh, I lied…’ and then I correct myself. There is honour in self-correction and self-awareness, so don’t be afraid, to be honest about lying.
White lies are harmless. They’re just for funsies. They can be helpful when protecting someone’s feelings. ‘Yes, I like your new top, it’s cute…’, you might say to a friend who is clearly questioning the cuteness of their top. They’re lies that make you a good person. This, of course, raises the question – is lying always wrong?
You’re not really fabricating an untruthful statement; you’re just denying a truth. So, it’s less annoying than blatant lies. You’re probably just trying to protect your reputation. But reputation is stupid. Did you not hear the blondie song? have you not seen 10 things i hate about you? Honestly, the Don’t try to tell me you’ve NEVER peed in the shower. That is a lie. and if it’s really not, what’s wrong with you? Do you not care about time management?
If you are under the age of 12, stop reading here unless you want to kiss your childhood goodbye.
Tradition based lies are those involved with the upkeep of long-established social customs. Examples of this include a certain white-bearded figure often depicted to be wearing a red hat, who is thought to annually crawl down the chimneys of Christian (and atheist) households worldwide.
These lies are okay only because they’ve been okay for centuries. It’s okay to lie about something if it’s a generational lie. Then, it’s just family bonding.
When I got my first car, my Dad sent me to AutoBarn to get some kind of cleaning supplies…and before I left, he exclaimed (rather urgently) that I was also in need of ‘blinker fluid’. Obviously, I caught on before I made the fatal mistake of asking someone at Autobarn where they keep the blinker fluid, but I’m told many, many unassuming teens have fallen prey to this wicked trick. Pranks are lies for a joke. Are they funny? Only to the person doing the pranking.
Some might argue that this is not lying… but that it is “elaborating”. And to that I say, don’t be annoying. There’s nothing more annoying than a poorly told story. If you can’t make the truth sound interesting enough, lying won’t give you a leg up on the storytelling skills. It might not always be malicious, but it is ALWAYS annoying.
Consider the following scenario: You make a mistake at work. Quite a large one. Maybe you’re in charge of handing out some flyers to promote the business, and you drop them out on the street. The wind blows most of them away, and you’re only able to gather a few up to hand out. In this scenario, for some reason, you have to tell your boss about the incident, and you tell them that you were able to find most of the fliers and hand them out. You play the mistake down to make yourself look better. These lies are annoying because most of the time, there’s a simple and effective solution if you’re honest about the extent of your whoopsie.
This is… telling the truth but positioning it in an incorrect context. For example, saying something mean and claiming ‘it was a joke’ …was it, though? Or are you just trying to avoid responsibility? These ones annoy me because it’s like if you’re going to lie, commit to it, and if you’re going, telling the truth, then commit to it. The half-half approach is clumsy, ineffective and indicative of poor character.
Lying by omission
This is the kind of lying that I see debated the most. Is neglecting to tell someone something counted as a lie? Well, I think it depends on the context. Obviously, sometimes you only need to tell someone the parts of information which are essential to them. We don’t have time to listen to every detail of everybody else’s life. So, of course, it’s necessary to leave out information daily. However, if the information you’re intentionally neglecting to tell someone leads them to an incorrect assumption that will affect their personal life and benefit you, it is immoral.
Lying to yourself
This is the worst genre of lying. It’s inconsiderate because everything in your life, your relationships, your career, the energy you put out into the world starts with you. You are the centre point of your own world. If you’re not honest with yourself, then you can’t live in truth in any other facet of your life. I genuinely believe that a disconnect with oneself is responsible for 99% of the problems anyone faces in their life.
In conclusion, lying isn’t the most important commandment to abide by; otherwise, it’d be as uncommon as murder. Always lie for the right reasons. Go forth, tattletale.
“Pigs CAN fly, Jeff Bezos went to space!”