Those pants you’re wearing make you look 10lbs slimmer! I love what you’ve done with your hair! This pot roast is delicious! I’m late because there was so much traffic….
Little white lies. Harmless? Or Harmful?
I just got back from an all-day conference. It was a district event for Toastmasters International, an organization whose mission is-
We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.
Toastmasters is made up of clubs throughout the world. Some are sponsored through companies for their employees and some are independent clubs. The clubs provide a supportive environment to practice and learn how to speak publicly. I joined in Jan 2014 when I decided I wanted to be a Professional Public Speaker.
You don’t have to be a Pro to join in club. In fact, most people who first join can barely stand up and say their name out loud in public. The programs teach a novice how to write and deliver speeches. What people really gain from being members is community, confidence, skills, and leadership.
So, what does that have to do with white lies?
The conference includes a contest where winners move onto a regional level and then national level. To make the district level, contestants have already won within their club & area levels. The contest is called- Table Topics. Each contestant is given a question to answer without prior knowledge of the question. Contestants are brought one-at-a-time, in the room, to hear and answer the question. They are not allowed to see or hear the previous contestants performance.
The question was:
There were 7 contestants and it was fascinating to hear their answers which were almost split in half of Yes and No. It was also incredibly interesting to see the audiences’ response to the question. You could see the wheels turning in their heads.
It really got me thinking.
And, I wanted to see what you think.
We all know what happened to Pinocchio when he told a lie. (nose grew) I would say that morally, we probably all believe lying is bad. Most religions support this, as well. A lie leads to more lies leads to… How do you keep all that straight without getting caught?!
But, what happens when telling the absolute truth is hurtful?
For instance, your 85 year old Great Aunt Betsy makes the worse pecan pie EVER. You know that each holiday that pie is going to end up on the table and she is going to force you to have a slice. She has spent HOURS making it and can barely move around a kitchen as it is with double hip replacements, and trifocal glasses.
Do you take a piece, eat a bite or two, and lie that you LOVE IT when she looks at you imploringly and asks if you are enjoying it? Or, do you say it’s disgusting and you never want to eat it again?
No judgement. What’s the answer?
What about when we tell ourselves white lies?
For example, you eat crappy all weekend and tell yourself, “Monday I will start to eat right.” Monday rolls around and by lunchtime you’re headed to the deli for a Meatball Parm sub.
Is that any different?
Do you do this?
It truly is great a question:
Some people say a little white lie is sometimes ok. What do you think?
As we head into the holiday season, keep this question in the back of your mind as you interact with family, friends, and coworkers. Bonus points if you take a step out of your comfort zone and practice a little public speaking. For instance, if you are the quiet one within your family, tell one story at a holiday dinner or propose this question to the whole table and be the leader in starting a new discussion.
Really, how many times do we want to hear the retelling of Uncle Jack’s famous shot of a 20 point buck he dragged through the woods for 4 days while fending off mountain lions and grizzles?!
Let me know how it goes and what you think in the comments below.
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