Lying by Omission

Is omitting facts a lie?

Yesterday I made a Shepherds Pie, and there really wasn’t much meat in it, and I didn’t have much else to add, so I decided to extend it with a tin of refried beans. Then I added some creamed corn, but I thought there just weren’t enough vegetables in it, so I added some frozen peas. This Shepherds Pie started turning into a hodge-podge of whatever I can find in the kitchen. I boiled up a bunch of potatoes and a sweet potatoes, mashed them, put them on top and added a bit of grated cheese.

Uh, so what does this have to do with lying?

When Mat came up and asked me what was in the pie, I considered omitting the fact that there was refried beans in it. I don’t know why. Of course, I didn’t, but it made me ask myself why I even thought of it and if omitting facts is a lie.

Up until recently I would have said, ‘no, not really.’

We lie for all sorts of reasons, and omit facts for all sorts of reasons, too. We forget things, we don’t think they’re important, or we want to protect the person we’re talking to. And it all seems relatively innocent.

But I think that when you start to omit facts to protect yourself that it is a lie and if you ‘conveniently forget’ an important fact to deceive someone, then you’re clearly crossing the line.

Well, that was my opinion, anyway.

But now, due to a couple of incidents at work, I noticed that little ‘desire’ to lie to Mat for no good reason, and that made me question how innocent those ‘little white lies’ or ‘convenient omissions’ really are. I worry about how easily we do it, how thoughtlessly.

I mean, beans, really?

It might seem like no big deal, but how do we define where that line between innocent and not-so-innocent really is? Should there simply be people we never ever lie to?

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2 responses to “Lying by Omission

  1. I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head here. That old saying comes to mind, “Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practise to deceive.” It does make you ponder what your motives are when you tell “white lies”.

    Maybe the one person we should truly never lie to is ourselves! And sometimes that is the hardest!

  2. I like the idea of always being honest with myself, but as you say, it can be the hardest bit! I think to be honest with yourself you must first “Know thyself” and that’s easier said than done! But, I guess that just means there’s more to learn! 🙂
    Thanks so much for your comment!

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