15 Situations Where Lying Might Be Okay (or Acceptable)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

Celebrate Tell a lie day

A lie here and there doesn’t hurt anybody, right? Some might disagree. There are some people that believe that lying is a no-no. Just how honest are you? Do you ever tell a little white lie here and there, or are you also a firm believer in truth only, always? I have recently been thinking about whether it’s okay to lie now and then, and below I have compiled a list of 15 times when it might be just fine to lie.

As you’ll see, telling a lie isn’t always a life-destroying thing. As humans, we often tell lies in order to strengthen friendships and relationships. Sometimes it can pep up someone’s day or give a person a reason to smile. Not being able to lie at all in absolutely every situation can make you appear blunt or rude to other people. As ludicrous as that concept may seem to us all, we all kind of know that deep down inside.

In my opinion, lying isn’t all that bad. Sometimes it’s not about cheating on a partner or stealing money from a vulnerable person. Sometimes lying is done with good intentions, and then one must consider if these situations make it “okay” to lie. You can decide for yourself, but below you will find 15 situations when I personally think it’s okay to tell a fib. 

15 situations where lying might be okay:

1. The “does my bum look big in this?” instance.

Yup, most men have heard this one before. A lot of women have heard it from their best friend too. So, what is a guy or gal to do when confronted with this question? Do you tell the truth (if it does, in fact, make her bum look big), or do you tell a fib and say it looks great in order to avoid awkwardness and hurt feelings? For most, the answer is clear. Tell a lie, preserve your friendship, and give your friend or partner a much-needed confidence boost. 

2. When you are criticizing constructively.

Let’s say you are helping someone with a project and they have put in a lot of effort, but still, the project isn’t up to scratch and looks terrible. In order to help the person see where they can improve on the situation without hurting their feelings or making them feel despondent, you can say something like “that looks great, but why don’t you try doing this”. 

3. Just before someone else’s “big moment”.

The people in our lives have big moments like speeches, new jobs, new relationships, and more. In the lead up to these big moments, the people we care about will ask us to “be honest” with them. In most instances, being perfectly honest may cause that person to feel even more stressed and make a mistake or falter. I feel it’s perfectly okay to tell a lie in order to preserve those big moments for our loved ones.

4. When you have the other person’s best interests at heart.

Telling a lie in the best interests of another person isn’t a bad thing. You might want to talk up your partner to a potential employer because you truly believe in his/her ability. You might want to tell a friend that they didn’t behave too poorly at a recent party (when they actually did) just to spare their embarrassment and feelings.

5. If you’re not close enough to be impolite to someone.

When confronted with new people in a social group, you might not want to tell someone that their hair looks messy or outwardly tell them that you feel they are talking rubbish. Instead, you can let the evening go by, politely tell them you had a good time at the end and go home, with them being none the wiser. This kind of lie hurts no-one. 

6. When protecting someone’s mental health/emotional state.

Psychologist having session

There are times when people are in precarious mental and emotional states, and in those moments, the truth could cause a complete downfall or break down of the person. Consider a young mother in a car accident whose child has not made it. Not telling the truth about the situation until the mother has stabilized and is more likely to handle and process the news is a lie that is completely understandable. 

7. When negotiating a deal.

Deals are notorious situations where lies are told, and the lies usually come from both parties. When it comes to negotiating deals, both parties typically have an unspoken understanding that there is a certain forgivable level of deceit involved. Of course, it wouldn’t be cool to lie in order to swindle or rip off another party.

8. “Stranger Danger” moments.

There are moments in life where strangers might ask us questions or try to lure us into unsafe situations. It is perfectly acceptable to lie to such people in order to avoid risk/danger and to get to a place of safety.

For instance, if you breakdown on the side of the road at night and a stranger approaches you to offer assistance. Imagine you get an uncomfortable feeling from that stranger. It is perfectly normal to tell a lie such as “the police are on the way” or similar. 

9. In order to preserve a child’s innocence.

It’s a bit weird to think about lying to a child, but there are some instances where it’s in order to protect the innocence of a child. For instance, you cannot tell a child outright that their pet has died or where meat comes from or that Santa and the Easter Bunny don’t really exist. 

10. When planning a big surprise!

Planning a big surprise for your partner or best friend and need to get him/her to a specific venue? Telling a lie to arrange a big surprise for someone special in your life is considered totally acceptable by all standards (and all people in general).

11. While trying to build confidence and self-esteem within children.

Your child might not be the best karate student in his group, or your daughter might not have the perfect hair for the beauty pageant she wants to enter. This doesn’t mean that you should be honest and tell them so. By telling a few lies to your children, you can help them to develop confidence and good self-esteem from an early age. 

12. When carrying out important test trials. 

In science and medicine, test trials are vital to discovering the truth behind scenarios, drugs, and concepts. Take, for instance, when drug trials are carried out. One group of people will receive the actual drug, and the other group will receive a fake or placebo drug. It is important that both groups are told they have the real drug. This means that one of the groups is lied to. 

13. In the “I really don’t want to go/do that” moment.

We all have those scenarios where we have made plans to be somewhere and just don’t want to go. In these types of instances, it would be quite impolite to send a message saying, “I don’t feel like spending time with you today”. Instead, a little white lie about having a headache or having a work overload seems acceptable. 

14. When asked how you are.

women greeting each other

Just about everyone you see in a day will ask you how you are. Even if you aren’t feeling very good about life, there are instances when you can lie and say you are doing just fine. Instead of unleashing an emotional tirade on people, a little white lie can save you from an awkward situation.

15. When you need to put an ongoing fight to bed.

Fights aren’t fun for anyone involved. They may start off with both parties feeling dead-set on ideas and opinions, but when they drag on, one party has to compromise and back-peddle a bit. If you want to save your relationship with your partner by putting an argument to bed, lying, and saying that you were wrong or have come round to their way of thinking might help. 

In closing

As you can see, there are times when lying can be beneficial to you and the people you are lying to. It doesn’t always have to be bad. Pick and choose when you lie, and you could remove the negativity from your life and experience the actual positive benefits of telling a fib.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.