Lying is Sometimes Justified

Sydney Yacullo

Imagine your best friend asks you about her shirt, which isn’t the prettiest of shirts. You don’t want to hurt her feelings so you tell her, “That is a great shirt.” She then goes out in public and goes the entire day wearing this shirt that looks like someone threw up on it. She gets made fun of as she walks down the street, and when she shops at the grocery store, the clerk tells her…”Your shirt is the ugliest shirt I’ve ever seen.” As your friend gets bullied throughout the day she realizes that you lied to her. You let her go outside in a hideous shirt and make a fool out of herself. Now she is mad. She trusted you, and you lied. Now, the close, trusting relationship you thought you had is now broken. How do you feel now? Should you have just told the truth? The answer is yes. Telling the truth would’ve been a much better solution than lying. Lying is only okay in life or death situations. This is because lying is pretty much only stressful and destructive, lying is only justified because it can save someone’s life, and lying can hurt relationships. Lying has become something that everyone does on a daily basis, but this needs to stop!

You should only lie in life or death situations because lying is stressful and destructive. In the article “Brad Blanton: Honestly tell the Truth” by Barbara Ballinger, Brad Blanton a psychotherapist states that lying “keeps you locked in the jail of your own mind.” “You have to remember what you said to each person.” He also says that, “Delivering the truth is easier, takes less time, and is less stressful.”(5) When lying, it can become difficult to keep track of all of the lies that you’ve told. You begin to become stressed and keeping track of everything you say and who you say it to. That is not the way to live. Just tell the truth! As your parents always say, “If you tell the truth you’ll get in less trouble than If you continue to lie.” This shows that lying makes every situation more complicated and stressful than it should be. Also, in the article “The U.S. Political Campaign: Lies, Lies, Lies” by Paul Gray, Michael Duffy, Prisilla Painton, and Elizabeth Rudulph, many different types of lies are shared.(1) One specific type of lie is the lie to cause harm. An example of this type of lie is rumors being spread about other people. There is no point to these lies other than to make yourself feel better. You will probably end up feeling guilty about making up that false rumor, and you will end up right back where you started: upset.

Another reason why it is sometimes okay to lie is because if you tell the truth, you could really put someone in danger and even cost them their life. This is the idea of Radical Honesty. In the article “Brad Blanton: Honestly Tell the Truth” by Barbara Ballinger, In the interview with Brad Blanton he describes, “Being honest all the time is radical- and rare. Many people think they are telling the truth, but they don’t because they withhold information.”(5) He uses the example, If you are hiding Anne Frank in your attic and her life is in danger, you shouldn’t expose her location. If you did, that would put both her and her family in danger, and possibly cost them their life. In this type of situation it is okay to lie if you are saving someone’s life.

The final reason as to why it is only okay to lie when it is life or death is because lying hurts many relationships. A big fear of telling the truth comes from not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or ruining a relationship, but if you can’t tell that person the truth, are you really friends with them? In the article “Brad Blanton: Honestly tell the Truth”, Brad Blanton continued to say, “It’s just as likely that you’ll end up losing people whom you don’t even want around anyway.” If you have the constant feeling of lying to a friend, or someone you know, what is the point of being associated with them? Genuine relationships means being honest with them. If you can’t be honest with a friend or any other person, maybe it isn’t a strong and genuine relationship to be in. Another factor that makes lying ruin relationships is that, “Once a person finds out you lied, you loose currency in their eyes,” says Randy Cohen an ethics columnist in the article “It’s The Truth: Americans Conflicted About Lying” on

Other people may believe that lying is always justified. For example in the article, “Teens Do their Share of Lying” by Loretta Ragsdell, teens have many strategies as to how and when to lie. Most, lie all the time. Tim, an 18 year old says, “Becoming a good liar is a necessary survival skill.”(9) This opinion does not consider that owning up to mistakes and telling the truth when you did something wrong can help you to grow as a person and learn from your mistakes. Instead of lying about something you did, or didn’t do, you can tell the truth, which will benefit you in the long run. Now this situation won’t happen again, and now you don’t have to keep track of yet another lie you’ve told.

Many people also say that lying is never justified. In the article “Rejecting All Lies: Immanuel Kant” by Sissela Bok, and german philosopher says that “truthfulness is a duty in which no circumstances can be put aside.”(4) He strongly believes, along with others that there is no circumstance in which you should lie. Yes, it is true that lying does cause much harm, but that does not consider the point that lying may sometimes really help a person, and be the solution to a very dangerous situation. In that instance you would be causing harm by telling the truth. So, in both cases people are being harmed, but if someone is in serious trouble and you lie for them is much more acceptable than If you just lie because you can.

In conclusion, lying is only justified in a life or death situation because lying is stressful and destructive, lying can be a last resort If someone is in danger, and lying hurts relationships. Lying is unnecessary, and telling the truth is much easier! We have been taught since we were kids that lying is acceptable, but is it? What if we all tried to only lie in a life or death situation? Wouldn’t the world be so much better and happier? Yes. It would. If we all just told the truth a little more often maybe we’d all get along. Maybe we would all be a bit happier, knowing that you don’t have to remember the lies you told. Knowing that you haven’t kept the truth from someone, and you aren’t lying about who you are and what you like. We would all be vulnerable, and support each other. Wouldn’t that be a nice world?


Works Cited


Ballinger, Barbara. “Brad Blanton: Honestly Tell The Truth” Realtormag. May 2010 <>


Bok, Sissela. “Rejecting All Lies: Immanuel Kant” Excerpt. <>


Duffy, Michael; Gray, Paul; Painton, Priscilla; Rudulph, Elizahbeth. “The U.S. Political Campaign: Lies, Lies, Lies” Time Magazine. 5 Oct. 1992 <>


“It’s The Truth: Americans Conflicted About Lying” 11 July 2006 <>


Ragsdell, Loretta. “Teens Do their Share of Lying” Austin Weekly News. 25 March. 2009 <>