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Black lies, that is to say untruth to gain advantage for oneself, are universally condemned. On the contrary, white lies, that is, lying to please or not to hurt the sensitivity of another person, are seen as an innocent part of daily interactions. Does this mean that they have no negative consequences?

In everyday life people sometimes tell “black lies”, and sometimes “white lies”. For both types of lies, the liar gives misleading information to another person or group that is deceived. However, there is a profound difference between white lies and black lies: through black lies, the liar tries to get something at the expense of the deceived. In other words, those who lie exploit the deceived for their own interest. A typical example is the case of the used car salesman lying to the customer about the condition of the cars for sale. As for white lies, the picture looks different: the deceiver tells a lie to please the deceived, using the so-called affiliative deception. For example, most of us have told some friend that they look great with their new haircut to please or not to irritate their friend, when in all honesty they didn’t like the cut at all. This type of deception motivated by affiliation reasons implies that one lies to preserve or improve a relationship, or to make the deceived happy by telling him the words he presumably wants to hear.

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