Lying: Is it ever Justifiable?

Lying: Is it ever Justifiable?

A dozen ladies gathered to take a ‘look under the hood’ at lying by considering a series of scenarios.

Scenario ONE

You are asked to attend a social function, a barbeque at a friend’s house. You are free the evening in question but you are reluctant to attend because you would prefer to stay at home. You know one of the other guests who is likely to attend and you would rather avoid them and you are tired due to a family tension you have been trying to deal with. You don’t feel like going out and would rather be at home relaxing. But your friend is important to you and you don’t want to offend her.

The over-arching agreement was that we would be honest with our friend if we didn’t want to accept an invitation. From there we explored other similar scenarios where we might be more tempted to lie, particularly when there might be some professional or other social dimension at play.

Scenario TWO – Surprise guest facilitator

The fantasy of the Tooth Fairy is a useful tool in helping children navigate the stress of losing their baby teeth. The promise of the reward and the stimulation to their imagination can be a pleasant interchange between parents and children. Is this a form of ‘lying’? It’s interesting to think about what boundaries between, sharing a fantasy and mis-leading children, could be considered acceptable.

Melinda Toms, our surprise facilitator, drew attention to the sensitivities around lying in relation to raising a family. Generally it was felt that the benefit of stimulating children’s imagination warranted the sharing of fantasies.

Scenario THREE – Facilitated by Margot Tesch

​A 30-year-old Person-A wakes and is having her morning cup of coffee on the deck. The paper is spread out in front of her and an article catches her attention:

More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer. Smoking causes about 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.

She purses her lips as she reaches for a cigarette. What is she thinking?

This scenario brought us to dip our toe in the world of addiction and got us thinking about how we can lie to ourselves to give ourselves permission to indulge in bad habits at times. It provided a good segue into our next topic Addiction on the 10th November, at Spring Creek.

Scenario FOUR – Facilitated by Belinda Pratt

You are shopping with a girlfriend for an outfit for the races. Your friend comes out of the change room in a god-awful dress that is far too short and tight (in your opinion) but she absolutely loves it! As she stands smiling and swirling in the change room mirror she asks if you think she should buy it? Do you lie and tell her it’s lovely and she should get it, or tell her the truth?

Belinda did an excellent job on Scenario Four. Everyone agreed (including those who posted on Facebook) that we should be honest with our friend in helping them choose an appropriate outfit.

How the event ran

We finished the afternoon with round robin which drew out the following poignant points:

—  A good test as to whether or not should you lie is to consider if you were the other person … “How would you like to be treated?”
—  A response to a probing question, the answer to which you know but feel bound by confidence not to share is: “It’s none of your business.” (Or some other similar, perhaps more socially sensitive response)
—  The relationship between trust and truth emerged several times through the discussion and also how difficult it is to rebuild that trust once lost.

The session finished, thanks to Melinda, with a quote from Mark Twain: “If you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” Wise words.

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