When Is It OK To Lie To A Friend?
–Some version of this question comes up almost daily on my Formspring feed where I mainly answer questions about dating/ relationships (16,000 questions answered and counting). There’s often a woman who agreed to do something — go on vacation, tag along to a party, play wing woman on date — and now doesn’t want to, or can’t because of a schedule conflict or a financial setback. They want to know how to get out of it without hurting the friend’s feelings, or perhaps worse, incurring their wrath, so they suggest lying instead.
The lie, of course, is a short-term convenience, a tool some women are using to avoid acknowledging bad communication in their friendships. Those women also aren’t thinking of long-term consequences of avoiding the truth. (And I only say women because most of the women seeking advice on friendships are women. As such, I can’t speak for the guys on this one.)
I find when people want to lie, what they’re really saying is that they practiced bad communication, and now don’t want to deal with the compounded problems of doing so. Most often, the woman who agreed to do something and changed her mind usually didn’t want to do it to begin with, but agreed anyway maybe to avoid disappointing a friend. But the lie up front leads to a bigger problem and a bigger disappointment from the now also angry friend, who’s ticked off because she was relying on you. It would have been better for everyone just to be honest from the start.
If you haven’t been honest, tell your friend as soon as you decide not to go along with the game plan. From the perspective of the friend who’s been lied to, and now inconvenienced, there’s nothing more annoying than someone waiting until the last minute to pull out, screw up your plans and be left scrambling for a Plan B.
(Continue reading at UPTOWN…)