TED Conversations

Erin Prysiazny

This conversation is closed.

Is it best to give your honest opinion all the time?

Do you think you should always share your true feelings with others? For example, if a friend were to say something you totally disagree with, but they're not asking your opinion, should you say something?

I'm having trouble deciding what the right thing to do is. On one hand, no one ever asked your opinion. But on the other, you will have to respond to what they're saying, so why not say what you think?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 25 2012: This begs the question, "When is a lie not a lie?" By not saying something are you lying by omission? Are all lies "bad"?

    Regardless one way of getting around the thorny question of what the "truth" is, is to present an opinion, when asked or when ethics demand, by saying "In my opinion...", or "It seems to me..." or "I feel.... That way at least you are presenting your truth as a subjective opinion rather than an objective fact.
    • thumb
      Jun 27 2012: In my opinion if you knowingly state something contrary to truth you are lying. A lie is alway a lie.
      If you unknowingly state something contrary to truth you are mistaken. A mistake is not a lie.
      • Jun 27 2012: Is a lie a lie when it serves a more noble purpose? Consider the lies told by the people who hid Jews and Gypsys from the Nazis to divert them away from discovery. Sure the Nazis would consider it a lie, but morally or ethically telling the truth at that point wouldn't have been the right thing to do, and not offering an answer would have meant discovery and death for everyone on the wrong end of a gun.

        So while it may still be a lie, the context is important to consider.
        • thumb
          Jun 27 2012: I agree completely that there are benign, even compassionate lies, but the definition of lying does not include a clause about context, or intent. As a born-again person I am pretty sure I would lie help an innocent, helpless person escape torment or death. I would have to confess the lie before God and ask for forgiveness and cleansing. A lie is a lie regardless of the purpose. Thank you!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.