From the time we’re kids, we’re told that we’re better off telling the truth. The only thing about that? It’s not always the case. Although being pegged as a liar certainly won’t help you win the trust of others, there are plenty of times when telling lies may actually serve you better. While you probably don’t want to tell your significant other that you’ve got a great job and a six-figure salary when you’re barely making ends meet, telling someone you’re stuck in traffic when you actually overslept isn’t going to change anyone’s life for the worse.
We’ve rounded up 20 things you don’t have to feel the least bit guilty lying about, helping you keep your conscience clear and your relationships intact in the process. And when you want to know if you’re on the receiving end of some half-truths, discover the 15 Secret Tricks for Spotting a Lie Every Time!
While it’s probably in your best interest to let your doctor get you on the scale when you’re in for a check-up, that doesn’t mean you need to let everybody know exactly how much you weigh. Your weight, like any other health-related matter, is inherently personal, and doesn’t need to be disclosed to everyone who asks you about it. Feel like exaggerating by a few pounds? Go right ahead. And when you do want to shed those unwanted pounds, start with the 40 Surefire Ways to Get Your Best Body in Your 40s!
Most people know that it’s not exactly polite to conduct an investigation into a friend’s finances. However, that doesn’t mean everyone is above asking how much cash their friends are bringing home.
The good news? If you don’t feel like going through the details of your finances, it’s totally fine to fib. Making yourself seem less flush than you actually are can help fend off those friends who might be looking to borrow a few bucks, while inflating your salary can keep those concerned looks and, “Aw, you poor thing”s at bay. And when you’re ready to boost your earnings, This Is Exactly How to Ask for a Raise.
Your Past Relationships
Conveniently neglecting to tell your partner that you’ve been married before probably doesn’t bode well for you in the long run. That said, omitting some of the more intimate details of your previous relationships may actually be a good thing.
Comparing your past relationships to your current one can be a major blow to your partner’s self-esteem, and once you’ve revealed all those personal details, they can’t be so easily unheard. Ready to boost the spark in your relationship? Start with the 50 Best Marriage Tips of All Time.
Your Career Ambitions
Unless you’re expecting a windfall from a dead relative, odds are you need a job to help foot your bills. However, whether you’re looking for a new job or are hoping to score a promotion, a little fibbing can be a major boon. For many of us, the position we hold currently, or the job we’re applying to, aren’t exactly where we want to be in the long run, but telling a boss or potential employer that definitely won’t do us any good.
A well-placed, “I want to be with this company for the next 10 years” or “Data entry has always been my passion” will be a lot more well-received than, “I need a paycheck so I don’t get evicted.” And for more on lying like a pro, here are 15 Genius Ways to Lie Like a Spy.
Your Phone Number
This situation is all-too-familiar for many of us: someone starts chatting you up, you’re not interested, but their persistence or aggression makes it feel like a “no” will fall on deaf ears. If you find yourself in such a situation, giving out a fake number can help keep things under control until you can make your exit. And for more poor dating etiquette, be sure to bone up on the 20 Words Men Use That Always Make Women Cringe.
Why You Don’t Like Someone
We all have those relationships where, for one reason or another, we just can’t seem to find common ground with someone. While there’s no need to forge a friendship with someone you can’t see eye-to-eye with, keeping your feelings about why you’re not friends to yourself is likely in your best interest.
Just because you think someone is stupid, lazy, or mean-spirited doesn’t mean everyone needs to know that. In many cases, a little white lie about not knowing that person particularly well instead of a tirade about their character flaws is a better bet. And for more great dating advice, here are the 15 Signs She’s Playing Hard to Get.
Someone Else’s Appearance
There are few things that can lose you friends faster than being known as someone who snarks on other people’s appearance. When a friend asks, “Do I look like I’ve gained weight?” or a relative asks of their spouse, “Doesn’t he look handsome?” they’re looking for validation, not honesty. Your honest opinion of someone’s looks is not only inconsequential, but will likely prove hurtful, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel like lying is a better bet.
“Sometimes, unkind thoughts cross your mind with respect to other people: you may judge someone’s appearance, or their job, or their parenting style. If you are asked about your thoughts on the matter, sharing them honestly would only hurt the other person’s feelings and will not achieve any useful purpose. When deciding whether to share such thoughts, it is helpful to ask yourself the questions, ‘What purpose would sharing the truth serve?’ or ‘What is my intention in sharing this information?’ and base your answer on your intention rather than just the principle of telling the truth,” suggests licensed clinical psychologist Inna Khazan, Ph.D.
And when you’re ready to feel better about yourself, begin with the 70 Genius Tricks to Boost Your Confidence!
Your Reasons for Bailing
Sometimes, having a fully-booked weekend seems like a lot of fun. Other times, it’s a nightmare. And unfortunately, many people hear, “I’m just not up for it” as “I just don’t want to spend time with you,” when you have to back out of plans.
If you’re feeling stressed out by the idea of canceling, but don’t feel like you have any other option, a little white lie about feeling under the weather can help protect your friend’s feelings without causing you undue stress about an impending argument. And when you want to spend more time with your inner circle, check out the 8 Exclusive Trips to Take With Friends!
Your Personal Ranking System
We all have some friends we’re closer with than others. Some of us have exes who were more romantic than our current partners. And some of us don’t really think our boss is the best one we’ve ever had, despite that mug we got them that suggests otherwise.
But does that mean we need to tell them? No! Letting someone, whether it’s a friend, partner, or colleague know where they fall on your personal ranking system will only cause them pain if they don’t occupy the top spot.
Whether you’re petrified by balloons or cower in fear around clowns, we all have something we’re afraid of. However, sometimes, showing off that vulnerable side can do more harm than good, particularly in professional settings. And, in fact, lying to yourself may benefit you when it comes to facing your fears in the long run.
According to research conducted at the University of Exeter, people who deceive themselves into self-confidence are more capable of tricking others into thinking they’re capable than their more realistic counterparts, too.
You may need to call your boss when you want to take a sick day, but otherwise, your health should be your business and yours alone. Disclosing illnesses, whether mental or physical, can unfortunately set you up for discrimination and other repercussions both personally and professionally. If it’s not going to affect your work or relationship, it’s totally okay to act like everything’s fine.
Like it or not, ageism is still a big issue for both men and women. If you feel like keeping your age a closely-guarded secret or shaving a few years off when a co-worker or acquaintance asks you how old you are, go right ahead. Unless you’re trying to pay a kid’s ticket price for the movies or apply for social security, there’s little reason for most people to know your actual age.
Your Eating Habits
We all have bad days when it comes to our eating habits. However, that doesn’t always mean full disclosure is always the best policy. If you don’t feel like eating, but it’s easier to say that you had a big lunch, go right ahead. Similarly, if your Whole 30 plan has been derailed by a pack of Oreos and you don’t feel like fessing up, a little white lie won’t hurt.
“We reduce stress by allowing ourselves to do things fairly or even poorly. When we pre-determine the quality of our actions, life is less stressful,” says psychotherapist Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. “Not having to be great at everything is a major stress reducer.”
The Opinions of Your Inner Circle
Sometimes, your friends and your significant other just aren’t going to get along, and for the most part, that’s okay. That said, nobody likes to hear when other people don’t like them, hate their clothes, or think they cheat at Scrabble. If there’s an issue you can help mend between the members of your inner circle, by all means, do so. However, if telling the truth just means you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings and offer no resolution, spare them the pain.
Your Social Media Habits
If you’re like most people, odds are, you’ve checked in on an ex online. In fact, one study reveals that 61 percent of married American study subjects checked out their ex at least once a month. And while that practice might not be ideal, coming clean about the occasional glance at a former partner’s social media presence certainly won’t do you much good, either.
Being happy may be a goal for most people, but that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong if you aren’t always feeling cheery. However, just because you’re feeling blue doesn’t mean you need to unload on everyone who asks. If you’re having an off day, but don’t feel like sharing, replying with a simple “fine” when your co-worker asks you how you’re doing is not going to cause any harm to either of you.
Your Financial Splurges
Whether you’re putting a down payment on a house or buying a designer bag, we all have those financial splurges that make our heart race a little when we make them.
If you don’t feel like disclosing just how much cash you shelled out for a big-ticket item, that’s your prerogative. A lowball fib when you actually shelled out half your paycheck on something isn’t going to do any irreparable damage.
Whom You’re Attracted To
It’s nice to imagine that your significant other is the only person you’ll ever be attracted to again. It’s also unlikely. However, if they ask if you think their friend is attractive, keeping the peace is more important than telling the truth.
“No, I’ve never thought of them that way” is always the better answer in these situations. “You need to weigh out how much the lie would benefit a person or a relationship versus how fessing up to the truth might be irrevocably harmful,” says Koenig.
Even punctual people run late from time to time. And while it’s not exactly polite to leave your friends or co-workers waiting for you because you couldn’t get your contacts in, occasionally saying, “I’m on my way” when you’re barely out the door is both understandable and forgivable.
Major Family Problems
Every family has its issues, some more shocking than others. However, if laying all your cards on the table when asked about them doesn’t feel right, don’t feel bad if you choose to keep them to yourself. Whether you’re estranged from your parents, have family members with legal issues, or grew up in a dysfunctional household, painting a slightly rosier picture when you first meet people is perfectly acceptable. And when you want to make your whole family happier, discover The Secret to Raising Healthy Kids!
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