Yes, ideally we would always tell the truth, wouldn’t we? Or should we?
Yes, if you are in a courtroom being questioned under oath you should tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
But in some cases the white lie, being or “economical with the truth” might be the kindest way to deal with a situation. For example: a friend asks if you like her new outfit – secretly you think it looks hideous – but if you want to keep your friend you don’t say so. You try tactfully to find something about her dress that you can praise – the unusual colour or how well it matches her shoes and handbag.
I always remember an incident with an elderly friend at a WI talk. The speaker wasn’t very good. My friend – I’ll call her Maureen because that’s not her name – muttered under her breath that she had heard this speaker before and he was dead boring. She was quite right, he was. Then at the end of the talk Maureen was called upon to propose a vote of thanks.
I was interested to see how she would deal with this: Maureen prided herself on being truthful. She never stinted when criticising cakes or buns entered for competitions. On this occasion she excelled herself:
“I have heard this gentleman speak before, and I can truthfully say that his talk today gave me just as much pleasure as when I heard it previously!” A heartfelt round of applause followed! “