Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Little White Lies: When Dishonesty Might Be the Best Policy

Earlier this week, my husband called to tell me he'd be working late and not to rush home. When I talked to him again later that evening, he admitted he'd fibbed earlier. He wasn't working late; he'd taken our cat to an animal adoption center to see whether she was ready for us to bring home another little feline companion. (For the record, she wasn't.)

My husband had lied to me, but I wasn't upset. In fact, I was excited and flattered that he'd done this behind my back! But knowing that honesty is the cornerstone of a good relationship, this led me to wonder... when exactly is it OK for couples to lie to each other? I would propose these four instances would be an exception to the rule that honesty is the best policy.

To cover up a surprise

As in the case of the surprise kitten expedition, it can be OK to lie to cover up a surprise. I mean, my own sweet grandmother lied to keep me from knowing about the surprise party my parents threw for my 10th birthday. When it comes to gifts, trips, parties, and other surprises, I would say a little lie to throw your partner off base is fine. As long as the lie doesn't result in harm to anyone, the resulting joy will likely outweigh the supposed immorality of the lie.

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Do you agree? Are there times when dishonesty might be the best policy?

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