What’s the Difference Between One Lie and Another

Geri Spieler
ILLUMINATION
Published in
3 min readApr 11, 2024

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Are “Little White Lies” really harmless?

Art by https://unsplash.com/@pawel_czerwinski

After reading all the news about some of our political officials lying about their education and backgrounds, I wondered why they thought they could get away with it. After all, being so public and knowing about “oppo research,” it’s bound to come out that they didn’t have the education or professional positions they espoused.

It’s not difficult to understand why people want to enhance their profiles. Who wouldn’t want to say they have degrees they never earned? Or they held higher positions in companies for which they used to work. However, today, with everything so easily found, the lies will come out.

But what about what we used to call “little white lies?” Less ambitious untruths that can go undetected — things we say for convenience, such as whether they like someone’s dress or suit when they really don’t, or whether they attended an event when they didn’t. These feel harmless, and these types of lies don’t hurt anyone or carry consequences.

Maybe.

But, why do we do this? Why not tell the truth?

People tell little white lies for a variety of reasons, often centered around social interaction and protecting feelings. Here are some common motivations:

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Geri Spieler
ILLUMINATION

Award-winning writer, master researcher, journalist, former Gartner analyst, non-fiction author. Reach me at gspieler@gmail.com