Is It Lying When You Don’t Disclose the Whole Truth?


“When we tell little white lies, we become progressively color-blind. It is better to remain silent than to mislead.” ~ James E Faust

I suppose it’s true that everyone tells a little white lie or omits information once in a while.  When you decide not disclose all the information; you know, those times when you conveniently “forget” to mention something or don’t give all the facts because it may cause an issue, do you tell yourself that it’s not really lying?

We often dismiss our own decision not to disclose as acceptable because I mean we’re really not lying, right? We’re just not giving up all the information . . . it’s not like you’re giving wrong information. . . I see this happen all the time and if I were to disclose the truth to you I too would have to admit I’ve done this as well.  Remember being a kid when your parents would ask you a question and you’d give partial information? You may say you were at “so and so’s” house, but you wouldn’t disclose that there were also twenty other people there. You may omit a few things at work every now and then because your boss may get upset or you feel you can fix something before you have to disclose an issue.


I’m not here to judge and like I said, we’ve all decided not to disclose the truth every now and then. Think of a time when someone did not disclose the whole truth to you, how did you feel? Was it a situation when you were happy to learn they were “protecting” you from something or where you hurt that they kept the information from you? If you have ever been surprised by someone that you’ve been up front with and they failed to disclose information until the last minute, causing you a lost opportunity or misfortune, I’m guessing you were not pleased.  Have you lost trust in someone when you discovered they did not disclose the full truth or complete information to you?

Although in a strictly technical sense, not disclosing information is not lying, it is not being truthful either. Next time you’re faced with the decision of whether to disclose information or not, think twice the better option is usually to be truthful and maintain your integrity.



©2014 Shari Yantes. All rights reserved.