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13 Everyday White Lies People Need to Stop Saying

I have never lied…said no one. Even though most people don’t lie frequently, little white lies are common.

These fibs serve to avoiding discomfort, smoothing over social situations, or simply saving face. However, they erode trust, hinder communication, and perpetuate poor relationships and misunderstandings. Here are 13 common white lies that people frequently utter and need to stop.

1. I’m Fine

Angry young couple sitting on sofa together and looking to opposite sides at home.
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Depending on the context, just saying “I’m fine” can come across as rude and, sometimes, a little white lie. It masks true feelings and prevents meaningful conversations. So, it’s important to be honest.

Try expressing your genuine feelings or adding details like, “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed today, but I appreciate you asking.”

2. I’m Busy

woman smiling after doing yoga.
Image Credit: Mykola Shchepnyi and iStock

We all know the person who looks busy doing nothing because who isn’t busy? Saying, “I’m busy” comes off as a cover to look important or an excuse to decline invitations or avoid commitments, and claiming to be busy when you’re not is wrong. 

Instead, be honest about your priorities and communicate openly about your availability. You could say, “I’m working on a few projects.” Or, “I’m going to stay in and do some self-care tonight.” If you’re not busy, just be honest about it, “I’m thankful for the extra time in my schedule right now. I’m able to stop rushing through life for a little while.”

3. I’ll Do It Tomorrow

Happy woman smiling sitting at desktop with laptop writing down important information
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It’s easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” but for some reason, it’s challenging to do it. Yet, delaying tasks can result in increased stress, missed deadlines, and frustrated relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. 

It’s important to take accountability for your actions and prioritize tasks effectively. You might say, “I’ll make time for it today so we can stay on track,” or “I’ll have to get started next week because I have another priority to finish this week.”

The key is to say when you’re going to do it and do it.

4. It Wasn’t Me

non minimalist family
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Always saying “it wasn’t my fault” gets old with those you’re closest to. Most problems result from the interaction between two people. 

Denying responsibility by saying, “It wasn’t me,” hurts trust in relationships and hinders personal growth. Instead, try saying, “We,” and “Let’s fix this together.” Acknowledge mistakes and work towards finding solutions and making amends.

5. I’m on My Way

Happy woman is getting dressed putting earrings.
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Being on time shows that you value someone’s time, and not being on time might indicate that you don’t. So, it’s easy to say, ”I’m on my way,” instead of admitting you’ve wasted someone’s time and prioritized something else. 

That’s not fair. So, try providing accurate updates on your whereabouts. For instance, “I’m just finishing up and should be there in about 15 minutes.” This might make you a little more timely in the future to avoid these awkward discussions.

6. I’ll Start Tomorrow

Woman writing in calendar at desk.
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Everything can’t start tomorrow, so set realistic timelines to begin with. Whether you want to lose weight, start a new project, or do something else, be honest about your goals and when you will commit to action.

If tomorrow’s the day, make sure you take the steps to make that happen. The people around you are tired of hearing about tomorrow when they know it’s not true.

7. I Love Your Cooking

Young couple cook together and have fun while tasting the sauce they have prepared.
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Offering false praise about someone’s cooking may seem polite, but it prevents them from cooking foods you like and improving their skills. It’s more meaningful to provide honest feedback respectfully. Try saying, “I’m sure it’s good, but I don’t eat fish. Thank you.”

8. I’m Not Upset

Angry woman feeling frustrated in bed with man.
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Denying your feelings by saying, “I’m not upset,” can hinder effective communication and minimize your feelings. 

For a healthy relationship, being honest about your emotions and expressing them calmly and respectfully is important. Try saying, “I’m feeling a little frustrated about the situation, but I’m not ready to talk about it.”

9. I’ll Call You Back

woman talking on phone.
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Promising to call someone back and then failing to do so can damage relationships. Follow through on commitments and communicate openly.

Set realistic expectations about your availability. For instance, “I can’t talk now, let’s try for another day” or “Now isn’t a good time to talk, I’ll call back tomorrow. 

If you don’t plan to call back, you don’t have to say, “I’ll call you back.” It’s better to just end the conversation and let them call you.

10. I Don’t Need Help

Young couple carrying big cardboard box helping each other.
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Pride or fear of burdening others may lead you to say, “I don’t need help.”

However, refusing assistance when we genuinely need it can prevent us from receiving support and achieving our goals. It’s important to recognize when we need help and be willing to accept it graciously to foster collaboration and mutual support.

Be willing to accept assistance when necessary. You might say, “I appreciate your offer to help. Thank you for lending a hand.”

11. I’ll Pay You Back

Close up of man paying contactless after having a breakfast in restaurant.
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Promising to pay someone back and then failing to do so can strain relationships and create resentment. It’s important to fulfill financial commitments and communicate openly about repayment plans to maintain trust and accountability in our interactions with others.

If you can’t meet the obligation, be honest. Don’t make them chase you down.  And, if it was a $1 gift that someone said don’t worry about, just say thank you. You know you’re not going to remember to pay it back.

12. I Was Just Kidding

Smiling woman hugging her husband on the couch from behind in the living room.
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Telling someone you were joking when you weren’t isn’t nice. This little white lie is a passive-aggressive behavior that needs to stop. Be honest upfront, and you won’t have to tease someone with white lies to get your message across.

13, I’m Fine With Whatever You Want

Two male friends drinking coffee and talking in outdoor cafe.
Image Credit: Mangostar and Shutterstock

This white lie is often used to avoid conflict or decision-making, especially in group settings or when making plans with others. But the truth is, you know what you want or you don’t. At some point, you have to admit you don’t always want what someone else does. While it may seem like a polite and accommodating response, this little white lie can lead to dissatisfaction if your true preferences are not expressed.

16 Frugal Habits That Don’t Make You Cheap

older couple happy grocery shopping vegetable aisle.
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The concept of frugality often comes with negative connotations. Images of someone cheap or stingy quickly come to mind.

However, being frugal isn’t about being cheap or stingy. It’s about making smart financial choices that prioritize value and long-term goals over immediate gratification. Here are 16 frugal habits that don’t make you cheap.

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