12 White Lies Many People Say To Avoid Hurt Feelings

You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, so a white lie slips out. Sometimes, the little harmless lies are so common that they’ve become a habit.

Perhaps the cliché “Honesty is the best policy” doesn’t always hold true.

Let’s explore some of the white lies that I’ve heard or said myself.

Saying The Food is Great at a Restaurant

White Lies - Lying to Restaurant Server
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When at a restaurant, there have been times when I’ve been complaining to my husband about the food not meeting my expectations. However, when the server comes around and asks, “How is your food?” I respond with “Great or Okay.” It feels like an automatic response, I’ve been conditioned to say.

Sharing my disappointment with the server doesn’t feel worth the hassle or upsetting their day. Serving is hard enough, and they didn’t make the food.

Sometimes, I don’t say anything to avoid lying and let my husband respond. Many times, he thinks the food is excellent when I disagree!

Your Baby is Cute

White Lies - Cute Baby
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Complimenting the baby is very common when a woman has a new baby. “He’s so cute.” or “She’s so pretty.”

In my experience, not all newborns look cute. However, I don’t want to hurt the feelings of new parents, and eventually, the baby will probably look cuter as it grows.

The same applies to newborn kittens and puppies, especially in their first week!

Your New Haircut Looks Nice

White Lies - Nice Hair Cut
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Sometimes, your friend gets a new hairstyle that doesn’t look flattering. Then, you hear yourself saying, “Your hair looks amazing,” or a similar compliment.

You want to acknowledge that you noticed the change, and the easiest way is by saying something nice.

Next time, you could try something like “I noticed your hair is different.” and then hope they don’t ask you if you like it.

Sorry, My Phone Died

White Lies - Sorry, My Phone Died
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When you avoid responding to a text, you might lie later and say your phone died.

You could get into trouble if your phone settings show to others when you’ve seen the message.

And then this could spiral into more lies if you asked why you didn’t charge your phone promptly.

Pretending To Be Sick

White Lies - Pretending to be Sick
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This white lie is used at work and personal situations and is the most common white lie told at work, according to Simply Hired.

People claim to be sick when they want to avoid work or have a day off. Or to avoid plans with friends that they don’t want to do.

However, it’s important to remember at work that there are people with legitimate health issues, and management isn’t going to disclose their problems.

But if you’re dishonest and ditching work often, this white lie will probably catch up with you and not feel harmless after all.

Our Kid is Sick

White Lies - Our Kid is Sick
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It’s a lie that only parents can use to avoid last-minute invites. “We’d love to, but Johnny is sick.”

It seems easier to lie than say you don’t want to do that activity. Or that you don’t want to do it with them.

And more lies may be on the way when the person follows up later to see how your kid is doing.

I Thought I Sent That Email

White Lies - Sending Email
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This white lie is sometimes used when you forget to write an email. You only remember when someone mentions it.

The lying works out okay most of the time when you don’t make it a habit. You can likely get away with it when you can quickly write and send the email after your confession of thinking you already sent it, which implies it’s already written and just not sent.

The Meal Was Great

White Lies - The Meal Was Great
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When someone has you over for a homemade meal, you might say the food was great when it wasn’t.

After all, they invited you into your home and cooked for you. Maybe the food was okay, but you might exaggerate how much you liked it.

Let’s Get Together Soon

White Lies - Let's Get Together
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It’s an easy lie that doesn’t feel like a lie. It’s said when people have no real intention of making plans to meet.

But is it harmless? Probably only when both people are feeling the same way. It sounds better than “I don’t care if we never see each other again.”

If the other person really wants to get together, they may have hurt feelings if you keep blowing them off.

I’m Almost There/I Just Left

Skeleton Waiting Meme - Waiting for your friend that is always late.
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Most of the time, this lie is told by the chronically late person.

And the people that know you well don’t believe it anyway. This lie is so common that it’s been turned into memes.

Thank You For the Great Gift

Funny Thank You Notes for Unwanted Gifts
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Sometimes, you get an unwanted gift. You don’t want it or like it, but you compliment it!

This white lie can be tricky as the giver may feel encouraged and give you similar gifts in the future.

However, whether you want to share your true feelings about the gift will likely depend on your relationship with the person.

I’m Fine

Funny Memes About Life - Everything's Fine Dumpster Fire
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This lie is said often. Them: How are you? You: I’m fine.

According to Mindful Health Solutions, sometimes being honest is not good for mental health.

Whether it counts as a white lie or not depends on who you are saying it to. For example, when you see an old friend at the store, it’s probably fine. However, lying to your partner or spouse probably isn’t an innocent white lie.

Words Can Be Hard

Mispronounced Words
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There are words that I struggle to say correctly. How about you?

Generation X Kid Things

Floppy Disks on Keyboard
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There are things I did as a kid in the 1980s that kids these days don’t do anymore.

Staying Busy When Bored At Work

Women Bored at Work
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When you are bored out of your mind at work, there are things you can do to stay busy!

Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes


Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.