I was raised hearing the saying, “Honesty is the best policy.”
Yet, there are situations when it’s not.
According to PsychCentral, white lies are common in healthy relationships.
Licensed psychologist and relationship expert Susan Orenstein defined a white lie as, “omitting the complete truth to spare someone’s feelings.”
In other words, we can tell the truth if it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
Another reason why white lies are OK: people want reassurance about what they believe in.
Recently, I came across a post on LinkedIn in which the author suggests most people want what they believe in to be true. If someone presents information contrary to their beliefs, then the person wants no part in it.
One example of something people don’t want to believe in is global warming.
President Donald Trump has tweeted 115 times between 2011 and Oct. 2015, sharing his skepticism when it comes to global warm, according to Vox.
One such tweet from Dec. 13, 2013, stated, “This is one of the COLDEST WINTERS ever, freezing all over the country for long periods of time! So much for GLOBAL WARMING.”
Trump’s skepticism isn’t out of the norm, though.
According to an article on the Weather Channel’s website from March, 30 percent of Americans don’t believe climate change is happening, and only 40 percent of Americans are worried climate change will impact them personally.
Despite the denial in climate change, saying climate change is true isn’t hurting anyone.
In contrast to climate change, sexual orientation and gender identity is a different story.
Coming out of the closet about sexuality is a tough situation to navigate when it comes to the truth.
According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Americans view homosexuality in a positive light as of 2013.
I’ve gotten to know two different people at USD who haven’t come out to their families yet. Both have their reasons as to why they haven’t come out to their families.
Both students have created separate Facebook profiles with their preferred names and as a way to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. By doing so, both students feel safer.
Possibly one reason why they haven’t come out of the closet is that parents still reject their children.
Psychology Today has an article that lists reasons not to come out.
One of the reasons not to, according to Psychology Today, is if they’re financially dependent on their parents.
For college students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, being financially dependent and coming out of the closet might not be a feasible possibility.
Another realistic possibility as to why they haven’t come out of the closet: the fear of being physically harmed.
Withholding their gender identity or sexual orientation from their parents might be lying by omission, but it provides them with the safety they need to be part of their family.
The fear of being disowned or even harmed by your family for who you are is why honesty is no longer the best policy.
The notion of “honesty is the best policy” only works if you can back the truth with cold, hard facts.
The lies we tell — whether white lies, lies of omission or just plan old lies — don’t have to be justifiable if they keep the peace.