Andrea Greb
December 23, 2014 6:04 am

In an ideal world, friendships would be full of open and honest communication, but the reality is that things can often be improved by a little white lie here or an omission of a fact there.  This is all well and good when it’s to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or pointing out a problem that can’t be changed.  Of course, there will always be certain things that one should never lie about:

Your opinion on an outfit she hasn’t purchased yet.  If your friend shows up to a party wearing something you’re not that into, it is absolutely your duty to tell her she looks lovely. After all, tastes range and if an outfit makes your friend feel great than it is great. However, if you’re at the mall and dollars have not yet been committed to an outfit that she’s genuinely on the fence about, do not lie if she’s looking for your advice. You owe your friend an honest (but kindly worded) opinion.

How you feel about her dating your ex-boyfriend.  While this is off-limits by some friendship standards, it totally happens. Whether it’s someone you thought was your soulmate or a guy you dated years ago and kind of forgot was a person, if a friend asks how you feel about them dating that person, you need to give an honest answer.  It’s just going to lead to trouble down the line if you go “Oh, it’s cool” to avoid a conflict but are secretly being eaten alive inside.

What you’re doing on Saturday night.  We’ve all been in that situation where Friend A asks us what we’re doing on Saturday night, and the answer is that you’re going to a party thrown by mutual Friend B to which Friend A hasn’t been invited.  It’s tempting to want to spare feelings and just make something up about doing your laundry or visiting your great-aunt Verna, but then suddenly you’re in a complicated web of lies where you can’t be tagged in Facebook photos and you have to make a bunch of other friends pretend they didn’t see you at the party.  Yes, being honest might lead to some awkwardness, but it’ll be far worse if you get caught in a lie.

If she’s done something to upset you.  We’ve all been there — a friend asks what’s bothering you, and you’re secretly seething about something she said or did, and you just say “Oh, nothing, I’m fine” in order to avoid a confrontation.  Much better to continue to allow your annoyance to boil into a rage, complain to a bunch of other friends, and just grow increasingly frustrated while never fixing the problem, right?  Wrong!  Just be up front about whatever’s upsetting you; any friendship worth your while can withstand a little conflict.

When you’re concerned she’s about to make a big mistake.  Whether it’s cutting bangs or getting back together with her toxic ex for the sixth time, if a friend is making a big decision and asks for your opinion, this is not the time to sugarcoat or be an enabler.  If you think what she’s doing isn’t in her best interests, gently but honestly voice your concerns.  She may go ahead and do it anyway, but at least you’re on the record as having a dissenting opinion.

That thing in her teeth. Come on. Don’t leave her hanging. Just suck it up and tell her in the most discreet way possible. That’s what friends are for.

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