I think it’s okay to lie in situations where you could hurt someone’s feelings. For example, if a wife asks her husband if she looks fat in a dress, the husband would be better off saying something like: “It’s not bad but I’m sure you have something in your closet that would be more flattering.” If you’re a man please memorize this quote; it will make your life much easier and safer.
I learned early on that it’s not a good idea to answer the above question with a yes and then walk away. I also learned Maggie could throw a shoe with the accuracy of a Carnival’s knife thrower. I would like to throw out this caveat: don’t let your wife embarrass herself. It would be much better to hear the truth from you about what she’s thinking of wearing (even if it might upset her at first) than to embarrass herself without her even knowing it. Husbands are a bit of a gatekeeper to the world so we should do our jobs even though it might be uncomfortable at times.
The example above is a case of not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings so it isn’t a selfish lie. This is where I draw the line; if someone is lying for selfish reasons like trying to stay out of trouble, then I believe it’s wrong. Whether by accident or not if we did something wrong we should tell the person we wronged what happened and then apologize for our actions. It might not go well in some cases but that’s the price we should pay.
Although it doesn’t seem like it at the time, admitting what we did is the best thing we can do for ourselves and the person or people we hurt. As you know, when we don’t confess it eats away at us and a lot of times we end up having to spin more and more lies to keep the original one afloat. This is extremely stressful. Then when the truth finally comes out (and it often does) we’re humiliated as the situation ends up way worse than if we were to have told the truth in the first place.
Compare this to how people would think of you if you owned up to your mistake. I guarantee you that even though I might be mad at someone who did me wrong I’d have a great deal more respect for the person if he or she confessed. Let’s face it, the scenario of telling the truth is much better than the alternative.