People tell them every day and they can be as innocuous as, "Yes, I took my vitamins today" to "Sure, I'd love to go out with your mother tonight" to "No, dear, those jeans don't make your butt look big."
In a relationship, white lies fall into one of two categories: those told to protect your partner and those told to protect yourself.
One category is okay. The other is not. Guess which one?
Let's figure it out by deconstructing the following white lies:
White Lie #1
Your husband went out to lunch and had the garlic bologna special. Then he went to see his biggest client. After the fact, he has some doubts about the freshness of his breath.
When he gets home, he asks you, "Does my breath smell bad?"
You say, "No honey, your breath smells like a bed of roses."
This protects him. It's after the fact so there's nothing he can do about it. Though you could slip some mints in his briefcase for next time.
White Lie #2
You bought a new pair of shoes even though you and your husband had agreed to temporarily stop spending money on things the two of you don't really need. Your husband compliments you on them.
And says, "I don't think that I've seen them before. Are they new?"
Your response? "No, I've had them for a while. Just never wore them before."
This white lie protects you and is deceitful. No, buying the shoes isn't going to force your family into bankruptcy, but it goes against the agreement that you and your husband made.
White Lies #3 and #4
You and your husband run into your ex-boyfriend. You had seen Bob a few months prior and had exchanged email addresses and friended each other on Facebook. But you never mentioned it to your husband, who doesn't use Facebook, so he doesn't know that you and the ex are yucking it up online.
Your husband says, "You never told me he was so tall or so good looking." And then he asks, "Was that the first time you ran into him?"
To the first statement you easily say, "Sure he's tall but he's not as sexy as you are." And give him a big kiss. There, you protected him.
To the question of whether you've seen him before, you say, "No, I hadn't seen him before today." There, you've just been deceitful and protected yourself. And don't forget about the Facebooking.
So the "bad" white lies are bad because they're being told to protect you. And to avoid conflict. So much for a relationship being built on mutual trust and respect.
In addition, these types of lies can lead to bigger deceit. And take you to a place where, if your husband does find out, especially about the ex-boyfriend, he's going to feel really bad. And angry. Besides, what are you really trying to hide?
Do you tell your husband any white lies? Do you consider them "good" ones or "bad" ones?
Image via Tobyotter/Flickr