How would you react if you have been told a white lie?

…and know about it?

For the sake of discussion, a white lie is any outright deceit over a trival matter with the intention of not causing further trouble or causing distress. I guess I am not sure if delibrate emblishments do count as white lies (hidding details and so on) too; you can include your reactions to those too.

A friend and me were waiting for a third friend for lunch at a resturant, and he was late, We went ahead and ordered first for everyone, and when the food came my friend said we shout just go ahead and it. So we did.

The late-comer called after a while saying he was stuck in a jam. My friend causally replied, “It’s all right, we’ll wait for you”. I stare at him with raised eyebrows and he just said, “Sometimes a white lie is convenient and why not if it makes people feel better?”

I shrugged. It’s lunch, not an ethics debate (I will ask the late-comer to hurry his ass up, if I was the one talking). When the final friend came, we have finished his food while his was left cold.

“Did you guys waited a long time?” he asked.

My friend said, “No, not really”

To me it was pretty obivous he was lying. We had both finished our food, his food was cold and so on.

So, let say you are that late-comer, and you found out that you have been lied to. Just white lies though. How would you feel?

I probably will shrug and say, “It’s a white lie. He mean no harm”, though I probably will not tell a white lie to another. It’s just messy at times.

So what about you?

I wouldn’t feel bad at all per the situation you described. It would have been unfair (I think) to ask you and your friend to wait around. Your friend was just being nice and trying to make the latecomer not feel so bad. Even if it was obvious you two had been waiting long…it wouldn’t have upset me to hear what your friend said.

I’d be the one apologizing all over the place for being late.

That’s true, Idle Thoughts.

Ah yes, just to clarify, I mean to ask about your reaction to white lies when it is directed to you, in case my poor story-telling skills muddled up my intent.

If it’s about something that is none of my business, it doesn’t bother me at all–I’ve had people change details in stories that they clearly don’t remember that they’ve told me before, and I have no idea which version, if either, is true, but it’s usually stuff that doesn’t matter. So if someone is simplifying a story to make it easier to tell, or leaving out someone’s presence because they don’t want to talk about why that person was there, or something like that, I figure it’s well within the social contract. If someone doesn’t want to join me for dinner and tells me they have “plans”, I don’t feel ill-used if later it turns out that they just went home but didn’t want to say they couldn’t afford to eat out, or were on a diet. Their reasons are none of my business.

I don’t mind people lying about opinions/feelings, because I think those are personal and you have a right to conceal them if you wish: if I am having a rough day but do not want to talk about it, I have every right to tell you I’m fine, just a little tired, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone else that same right. In the same way, if I liked a movie no one else liked but I don’t feel like defending that choice to a particular group, I’ve got the right to sort of blandly agree with the group opinion and move on. I wouldn’t feel at all betrayed or ill-used if I was lied to in these sorts of circumstances.

I do mind if someone lies to emotionally manipulate me, even if it’s over something that isn’t a big deal.

The guy asked if you’d wait for him. Your friend said “Sure, we’ll wait” when it was clear not only that you wouldn’t but that this lie would be caught the moment the guy walked through the door and saw that you hadn’t waited. Not only is it not what I’d consider a “white lie” but it’s also pretty poor planning logically.
To turn it around, if the guy called up and said “I’m going to be late, i’m stuck in traffic,” when really he’d been fighting with his wife or masturbating on the couch or just got pulled over by the cops for speeding…THAT’s a white lie. The point isn’t so much WHY he’s late and he can use any excuse he wants to to get to the real point which is just that he’s going to be late.

I try not to put people in the position where they would have to give me a white lie. And if people are lying to me, I’m usually too gullible to notice it anyway.

In this situation, the lie was no more convenient than the truth (“we already ordered for you”) and it didn’t make the victim feel better that his food was cold. It seems like your late friend waited too long to call, though, and if he has a habit of being late all the time, that’s at least as bad as the lie.

I actually think the worst thing here is that you would presume to order a meal for someone who wasn’t present. All in all, I don’t think I’d get along with your circle of friends.