As kids, we’re told, time and again, that lying is wrong. Do you believe that’s always true? In your book, are there any exceptions?
Is lying wrong? I think that most of us will agree that, at least for the most part, it is. Nobody likes to be lied to. Not even about small things. Though, I think that in some some instances (as in many things) there can be an exception. I think this is what we call the “little white lies”. If you don’t like how something tastes or sounds, but you don’t want to offend, this may be the way to go.
Say a friend or significant other invites you over for dinner. This sounds great, right? Just the two of you, hanging out and enjoying a nice little meal. They spend a good bit of time on the meal. Everything looks delicious. It smells amazing. You take a bite and… What’s that? This doesn’t taste anything like it looks or smells. You could have sworn there was some seasoning in there. It smelled soooo good. But it tastes bland. Your friend asks, “How does it taste?” Do you say “This is the worst shit I’ve ever tasted…but…it smells good.” Or do you make an exception that pesky little rule up there? “How does it taste?” “Oh it is great. I really enjoy the texture of this dish. Everything seems to fit together rather nicely, flavor-wise.” While you’re secretly thinking “Everything fits together so well it, you can’t taste anything.” It’s a hard thing. They slaved over that hot stove for you. What are you to do?
Perhaps you know someone who plays music. They work really hard to learn and perfect what they do. You commend them on this. They invite you to a performance. Everything sounds good when the group is warming up. The crowd is pumped. The band jumps right into their first number. You listen attentively, because you just know they’re going to ask you all about it in the very near future. You think, “Hey it’s ok, it’s not really to my liking, but I’ll go along with it”. They play a few numbers and you find yourself bored. Maybe the dissonant notes rubbing against each other like crickets chirping in a thunderstorm isn’t really your thing. Maybe you just downright hate what the band is doing. Your friend comes up to you after the performance: “Hey, so what did you think?” Do you say “I hated it?” I’ve got a friend who always responds to the effect of: “You know? It’s not really my thing, but I caught myself tapping my foot to it”. It beats, “You’re terrible” any day, right?
I’m sure everyone has an example of when they make an exception. It could be a bad meal or odd performance. It could be a weird random kiss at the end of the date (I’m not alone here, right?). If you didn’t at least bend this rule a little, I think many feelings would be hurt quite a bit more often. I do think that lying is wrong, usually. I do think those tiny little things don’t hurt nearly as bad as the brutal honesty would in most cases, though.