Most people value honesty. They want to tell the truth. They also value kindness. Sometimes, though, honesty and kindness collide. That happens when telling the truth would be hurtful, but being kind involves telling a lie. How do people negotiate this clash of noble intentions?

I studied that dilemma in my research on deception. I was invited to write a chapter about it for an academic volume, Feeling hurt in close relationships, which was published in 2009. The problem with these academic collections is that they are really expensive. The list price for the hardcover, for example, is $124. Even the ebook is shockingly pricey at $79.

Happily, as an author, I’m now allowed to reprint my chapter as part of a collection of other articles. So I have created a brief new book, When the Truth Hurts: Lying to Be Kind, and made it very affordable. The paperback is just $8.60 and the ebook is only $3.40. The contents of the new book are below. If you are interested, I hope you enjoy it!

Part 1

When the truth hurts: Deception in the name of kindness (with Wendy L. Morris and R. Weylin Sternglanz)

  • Lying in everyday life: Do hurt feelings play a part?
  • Who are the targets of self-centered and kind-hearted lies?
  • How often are hurt feelings implicated in the telling of everyday lies?
  • Close cousins to lies about hurt feelings
  • The role of hurt feelings in lying and truth-telling: Is it mostly a matter of devalued relationships?
  • Tiptoeing around other people’s feelings: How and when is it done?
  • Rates of clear truth-telling
  • Rates of outright lying
  • If they are not lying and not telling the truth, then what are they doing?
  • Does affection tilt the scales toward kind-hearted lies or hurtful truths?
  • Are serious lies about hurt feelings, too?
  • Taking stock
  • Who tilts the scales toward deceit and for whom are the scales tilted?
  • But why?
  • The lure of lying to avoid hurtfulness – and the costs
  • Another answer to the choice between kind lies and hurtful truths: Neither
  • The bottom line

Part 2

When honesty and kindness collide: Popular questions about the clash of noble intentions

  • The psychology of little lies
  • Sex differences in lying in everyday life
  • Lying in relationships