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Sex + Relationships

Why Lies of Omission Cut So Deep

“I just couldn’t bear to tell you!”

“I didn’t lie, I just didn’t say anything.”

“I was afraid of what you would say!”


These are the commonly heard phrases of the aftermath of being lied to. It’s a horrible feeling, when trust is broken. And while all lies can be hurtful, sometimes what hurts most is silence. When a person purposefully withholds the truth or the full version of the truth, it is known as a “lie of omission.”

Now, we all tell little white lies on occasion and some are harmless, but others are completely disrespectful. For example, there is a big difference between telling your aunt that her gross potato salad was great at the picnic to not be rude and a lie like not revealing to your partner that you have been out every night gambling. One is harmless and the other will have long-reaching effects.


There are many reasons why people lie by omission, whether they feel that they are consciously lying or not. One reason is that a person may feel guilty or ashamed of their actions that caused them to lie in the first place. Therefore, by not talking about the action or by not telling the full truth, they feel like they are protecting themselves. This could also lead to them not telling the full truth in an attempt to protect another person; to protect them from hurt or to shield them from the truth and its consequences. However, the most common reason for lies of omission is fear; this can be the fear of an angry reaction, receiving punishment, or having their image change in the eyes of people they care about.


Regardless of the reasoning, however, lying by omission (or just lying in general) is selfish and it is damaging. It damages your credibility leading to people not giving you their trust. It damages your relationships because of communication breakdown. It even damages your health from the stress of constant secrets and tension.

When you withhold the truth, you are essentially trying to control your own reality. Unfortunately, the truth is the truth and a lie is a lie, no matter how you spin it. You don’t have the right to shape another person’s reality.


It may sound cliché to say that the truth sets us free, but the fact is, knowing the reality of our situations gives us the power to make choices. We can never work to solve our problems if we don’t realize they exist or refuse to let someone know that exist. Bottom line: If you respect someone, you won’t lie to them and you certainly won’t let them live in a false reality.

And if you are afraid to open up to someone about the truth, remember that any anger or response you receive will be about the circumstance, not directed towards you. Speaking from personal experience, nothing is worse than receiving bad news along with the news that you’ve been lied to by someone you trusted.

So remember, it truly is better to hurt someone with the truth than comfort them with a lie, or keeping them comfortable by keeping the truth from them.


Stay Authentic, Ladies 







I am adopted from Russia and was raised in West Virginia. I am a double major in English (Writing Concentration) and Musical Theatre. I love art in many different forms be it writing, singing, acting, drawing/painting, or design. I adore fashion and it has helped me become the person that I want to be in life. I am a very open person and love talking to people, so feel free to ask me anything! I am honored to be a part of the Her Campus team and I hope that my writing will bring you a smile. If I'm not in the theater or typing up my version of the great American fashion column, you can always hear me coming from the click of my heels. My advice to all: Stay classy!
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