Is it okay to “white” lie to a friend?

I was watching The Talk the other day and this subject was first up on the program. Is it always important to tell the truth no matter what? If you have the time and don’t watch the show or missed it, it’s just a little into 4 minutes long.

Sharon Osborne came right out and said immediately that no, if you don’t like what your friend is wearing, keep your mouth shut. She obviously likes it so it’s none of her (Sharon’s) business if she doesn’t and even though she asked you, she’d get huffy and defensive and maybe even mad. I guess that makes sense. That’s why there are so many different fashions. Julie Chen said she’d always want to know if someone didn’t like what she was wearing. Sara Gilbert also said she’s rather be told the truth but she wouldn’t be brutal about it. She’d say something like “yes, it’s okay but I really like you in x-y-z more.

Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete both pretty much said how I feel. That if we need to ask, we already know we either look fat or are wearing something that’s not that wonderful looking and really are only seeking either self-esteem credits or need the pat on the back and if we need to ask, we must need to be reassured and don’t really want our husband to tell us we look fat in what we’re wearing or it’s ugly.

Which brings me to wonder, if we know what we’re wearing isn’t great looking, why are we wearing it or why did we buy it?

I know me personally, I’d never tell anyone they looked fat in something or tell them something they were wearing was ugly (in my opinion). I just wouldn’t. I’d think they needed the confidence and if they bought it and had it on, they liked it and it’s not up to me to give my opinion if it’s not nice. Now if someone said, “do you like this one or this one,” I think that’s entirely different. Or if someone is trying to choose an outfit for something special and wants to know my opinion on what would be best for “that” occasion, I also find that totally different.

What about you? Do you always tell the truth no matter if you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings or do you tell that little white lie? Or how best do you handle this situation?

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24 Responses to Is it okay to “white” lie to a friend?

  1. Sue says:

    If I’m white lying about an outfit that’s one thing and I think it’s ok. I do like it better when someone asks which outfit I prefer versus, how do I look! When I ask how I look it’s b/c I’m usually wearing something that’s not what I’d normally wear. For example, last January for my girlfriend’s 30th birthday we went shopping so she could get a great outfit. I decided I should get a new shirt too 🙂 It was a super cute red and black plaid button up that I was going to wear with my skinny jeans and black boots. I believe Nikki has seen pictures of said outfit! Anyway, I felt great in it, but it’s so not something I would normally wear that I was too scared to wear it even though my girlfriend loved it. I still haven’t wore it out!

    Now, if they’ve asked me if I liked a certain movie and I didn’t, I’m not going to lie because everyone is entitled to their opinions.

  2. LVISS says:

    There is a difference between men and women wearing dress. Men mostly dress up to please themselves and rarely bother whether others like their dress or not. You will rarely see men discussing each others dress .

    • Laura says:

      Gotta disagree with that one Lviss… Steve is CONSTANTLY asking how he looks, does this match with that, etc. Granted, part of it is because he’s blind, but he’s also wearing clothes that he’s owned for years, and he pretty much knows what he looks like in it. But he’s very conscious of how he looks.

      On the other hand, when I tell him that something went out in the ’80s, and he isn’t going to find it (a certain type of boat shoe, button-fly jeans not made for gay men), tucking in polo shirts, he says, “I like it that way, and that’s how I’m going to wear it.”

      • SKL says:

        I also have to say that 2 of my 3 brothers are particular about their looks. I still get a chuckle when I think of my eldest brother running around our house getting ready for his wedding, shrieking “G-D-it, WHERE’S MY JERI-CURL?” (Or however you spell that product.) My younger brother probably wouldn’t have a debt problem if he weren’t so vain.

        • SKL says:

          Correction, he didn’t say “my” Jeri-curl. He hollered, “wheres the Jeri-curl! You don’t have any? I can’t believe you don’t have any Jeri-curl!!” (Sorry, that was over 25 years ago but it was so funny! I never even knew anyone in my fam would think of using Jeri-curl before that!)

    • Joy says:

      While neither of my boys would admit to standing in front of the mirror, they both care what they look like when it counts. Not when they’re working mind you but they both clean up pretty well when it counts.

  3. Jenny says:

    I probably wouldn’t say that I didn’t like it if thats the only thing they had out. Maybe I would say ok…lets see what else you got. If they had multiple outfits I would definitley say which one I liked best. I would want to know if something I was wearing was ugly or stupid.

  4. SKL says:

    Part of it depends on whether there’s anything that can be done about it. If the person can easily go change, I’d be more likely to say something. However, I’d do it only if I was honestly asked my opinion, or if something was really bad and it was a close enough person.

    I’m not the type to say “that looks like crap on you,” but I will, in the right situation, say something like, “it doesn’t seem to fit you right, do you have a larger size?” “The color is a little bright for my eyes.” “I wouldn’t wear this with that, personally.” I mean, if someone’s about to do something that will make them look bad in someone else’s eyes, and it matters (as in an important business meeting), then I want to be helpful, and hopefully I know which people can take it and which can’t.

    I have a friend who will tell me after I’ve gotten to a party that something looks like crap in her opinion. Luckily I don’t care all that much. I dress pretty conservatively. The only thing that would really bother me is if I was severely under-dressed or had a noticeable rip or stain that I’d missed.

    • SKL says:

      More to the point, I don’t think I could outright lie if someone asked my opinion. But there are many ways to sugar-coat the truth. I’d be more likely to suggest a change than to come out and say, “yeah, it actually makes your butt look huge.”

      But haven’t we all had moments when we wish we could take someone aside? Cringe, cringe . . . .

  5. Ellen says:

    I normally do not tell anybody that something does not look good on them, but I do say over the top when I like something they are wearing. If they ask me, and I do not like what they are wearing, I just say they look nice, so I do not say directly something about the clothes, but more something about themselves.

  6. Laura says:

    True story (I haven’t read the comments, and I’ll go back and do that in a minute. But this is funny, and sorta relevant): This past Sunday, like every Bears Sunday before it, Steve wears one of a couple Bears Shirts. He has a short-sleeved polo that he typically wears, but we also have two grey, long-sleeved T-shirts (crew neck) from the NFC Championship a couple years ago. He suggested that I wear one of those long-sleeved T-shirts. I said, no, I was wearing my Bears Hoodie with a turtleneck, and besides, I don’t like those long-sleeved T-shirts because they look awful on me.

    His reply: “It’s not the T-shirt that looks awful.”

    Through my gasp, I could hear the scream in his head: WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST SAY??? He started backing down the stairs, apologizing all the way. He was forgiven instantly, because I could tell that it was one of his typical ‘smart-ass answers’, which fall from his mouth pretty regularly, as opposed to an actual opinion. AND because I know how dreadful I look in t-shirt style shirts.

    Had it been something that I was invested in, like a new outfit that I thought I looked great in, I would have been absolutely incensed.

  7. Oh dear, this is one of those difficult subjects: friendship and love are based on truth and honesty amongst other things, so how is it okay to lie? But, of course, nobody wants to be told they look awful or fat or what-have-you.

    I sort of try to work in a different way – I shower compliments on people as a rule, and I mean them. I tell my friends that they look beautiful, that their shirt is fantastic, that I love the way they did their hair etc. I think that I’m with you, Joy, really – if someone asked if what they’re wearing looked good (and it didn’t) then I’d lie to save their feelings, as well as my own feelings that would surface from hurting someone.

  8. Laura says:

    Ok, my opinion, now that I’ve inserted a few comments…

    There’s a difference, I think, between commenting on an outfit, and other parts of life.

    When someone asks an opinion on an outfit, I’ll give an honest answer, even if I have to sugarcoat it. Even if they’re looking for an emotional boost, am I doing them a favor by saying, “oh, you look GREAT in that,” even when the color makes them look washed-out and the jeans make them look like a hippo? No. I’m prolonging the embarrassment, because likely, someone they trust far less than me is going to notice – and whether they tell them or not, my friend has now looked bad.

    I’ve had people “protecting me” through my entire life. I’ve always wanted people to tell me straight if they have an opinion about me. But those people around me always want to “protect” by not telling me the truth. So they say, “yeah, go do that, it’s a great idea,” even if I’m waffling on the subject and want their HONEST opinion. Yeah, they might hurt my feelings a little if they say, “no, I don’t think it’s a good idea”, but it sure hurts less in the first place than when I go out and crash and burn, and then they come back and say, “oh, I totally knew you shouldn’t have done that.”

    THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME???? Because you didn’t want to “hurt my feelings”? It’s the difference between a paper cut and a broken leg!! I’d take the paper cut every single time. So tell me the truth. Be nice about it, but tell me the truth. It might hurt a little in the short-term, but it sure as heck hurts less than if the entire thing blows up in my face in the long-term.

  9. Nikki says:

    I very rarely even ask for someone else’s opinion because I honestly don’t care. I always go outside the box, and believe me I have had some major FAILS (looking back) but it didn’t kill me. I am who I am and if people are going to talk about what clothes I am wearing, then I see the problem lies in them, not having a life. I frankly don’t care.

    I agree with most everyone here. I am not going to say, “well your a$$ looks fat in that.” I’d much rather have a few options to pick from, then I am more than willing to tell you which one I like best. I’m less likely to offend that way! And like Joy has said, they are actually more times than not, just wanting a little ego boost.

  10. Joy says:

    If you didn’t watch the clip of the show, I’m like Leah. She said she always struggles with her weight and she knows when she’s “chubbier” than other times and sometimes she just wants to hear she looks good when she knows she’s losing weight. It may not look like it to a stranger or to people who don’t know she’s dieting but she says deep down she knows she’s not thin and when she’s chubbier and sometimes she just doesn’t want to believe it so I really feel like her. That “we” “know”. We all know when we look good and when we don’t. I feel if you have to ask, you’re either fishing for a compliment or are really unsure of yourself because I feel WE ALL KNOW how we look without being told.

    • SKL says:

      Yeah, this is why I would never ask unless I REALLY needed to know. And if I did ask, I would hope nobody would lie and let me go out looking like an fool.

      I’ve had some wardrobe errors where it would have been nice to be told. Like the time I went to a business meeting with my slip hanging out below my skirt in the back. Not cool. Nobody’s fault that time, though – I was with male colleagues and I don’t blame them for being scared to comment. I would have appreciated it, but if I was a different person, I might have sued them, so how can you blame them?

    • Laura says:

      I’ve had that conversation over and over and OVER again with Steve… If I ask you how I look, I’m asking you because I REALLY want to know. In that situation, it’s ok to tell me that something doesn’t look right. Just don’t say, “you look fat” and leave it at that. Make it constructive feedback, “those pants are pulling across the back, and make your hips look larger than they are.” That kind of criticism, I can use… I can change the pants, wear a tunic top, something. And no, you won’t be in trouble if you put it that way, because I’m the one who asked in the first place.

      ‘Course now, it’s a moot point, I guess…

      • Phyllis says:

        Ok Laura, let me get this straight…’re asking STEVE”S opinion on how an outfit looks????? I’m remembering a while back his response on fb. to something Josh wore to school that day! 😀 I’m just kidding with you, I know right now it’s a moot point. For my part, if I’m with them before they leave I would probably suggest another outfit I know they have. However, if they’ve already arrived at a gathering I generally sugar-coat the answer by expressing how the whole put together outfit works out. Maybe by saying that the color is great on them, or the earrings, hair, shoes, etc. really look good on them. I don’t believe truth needs to be “brutally honest”.

  11. Jenna says:

    I guess I wouldn’t tell someone something negative about how they look, how they’re acting, etc. just out of the blue because it crossed my mind. However, if they ask, that’s a different situation. Then, I’d tell the truth in love–probably just a casual “I don’t really like it, but how do you feel in it?” without going into detail about how bad it’s making them look . . .

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