We often are caught in between in our lives, whether it is from one friend to another or an over caring relative asking when are you going to get married for the ample time or your mother asking you how is work. Unless you are going to dump all the work troubles like how your boss bullies you, your tea mates are shunning you because you are dating someone from the rival team and you just accidentally deleted an important file from your company’s data server, hoping no one will find out… All on your mother’s lap.

No? Then you probably going to lie to your mother when you say “Everything’s fine at work, Ma. Oh, nothing beat your meatloaf! Can I have some to bring home?” This is a white lie. You do it because you don’t want your mother to worry about you and also you don’t want to go into lengths on how you happened to know someone from the rival team while gobbling down the delicious meatloaf.

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However, balancing white lies and pure honesty takes skills in your workplace. Let me share some examples when honesty are truly appreciated by the management.

Telling your boss that you can’t overtime tonight because you have family commitments when all you want to do is to catch up on missed episodes of Game of Thrones

White Lie – everyone needs a break every now and then. It is okay to fob your boss off with excuses in order to get some personal space but also do keep in mind to balance with contributions to the team every once in a while.

Tell your boss you can’t meet the deadline because you have too much to do when in fact, you lack the knowledge to complete the task.

Bad Lie – you need, to be honest with this one because your leader needs to know if you are competent. If you are not, he needs to take actions like a recommendation of reading materials or courses you can do to upgrade your skills. By keeping mum, you are just not growing enough.

Telling your colleague you think he is super innovative when 9 out of 10, his ideas sucks.

Bad Lie – whether it is because you don’t want to hurt his feelings or because you are selfish in sharing your opinions, you are not helping yourself or your team to learn and grow together. Only by sharing ideas and having healthy debates, benefits everyone who participates.

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Telling your colleague that you don’t have time to go on yet another coffee break with her to share gossip when in fact, you just want to get away from her for awhile and concentrate on your tasks at hand.

White Lie – you don’t want to spoil your relationship with your colleague but yet, you don’t want to join in the gossips, the best method is to just say you are too busy. Soon enough, she will not ask you anymore. However, do make up the bonding by dropping by her work desk for a quick chat before you head home.

Telling your client you can’t meet him on an appointed date when you actually too lazy to go out of your office.

Bad Lie – eventually you still would have to meet up with your client, by dragging your time benefit nobody and in fact, he could have met your competitors if you are not interested in his deal.

Telling your client that 10% discount is the best offer you can give him when your baseline is actually 20%.

White Lie – you need to give some leeway for negotiations, in case, your client decided that the contract is still on the high side. By being reserved in your offerings, you actually played it safe.

Do you have better examples? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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6 replies on “Is Honesty Truly The Best Policy?

  1. sometimes i feel that honesty should not be judged on the number of lies we tell people (obviously the white lies). we can lie yet remain honest by being devotional.

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  2. I am now retired but had a long career in public service, in the UK HM Inspector of Taxes and also in the Dept of Works and Pensions (paying social security benefits).

    My world was a complex mix of white lies, half truths and distortions.

    When you are telling someone they owe much more tax than they thought was due, or telling a person they are no longer entitled to a benefit payment they relied on, you have to let them down very gently and give them some shreds of hope (even of ephemeral sorts) to aid the descent.

    There again if you could get away with; it having you thought their case was justifiable, you could just bare-faced lie to the system and cover up your actions in a whole lot of office-speak + ‘waffle-records’ and spare the person any harm.

    I never said it ‘wuz’ perfect, tbough. It was a strange sort of ‘career’

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  3. Although I use a white lie here and there sometimes, it still always makes me feel uncomfortable. Even if I use it with the best intentions, to not unnecessarily hurt someones feelings…

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