Lying to Protect Your Feelings

You find out something about your loved one and you can't bear to tell him/her the truth, feeling it would shatter that person's innocence and sanity. So you tell a little white lie to make the blow less powerful and all is well.

Compare Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You.


  • Joe Dirt has Brandy telling Joe that his parents died at the Grand Canyon when he was a kid. However, his parents contact him and turn out to be alive and they reveal that they left him behind on purpose. He finally breaks and as he's on the verge of suicide, Brandy comes in and tells him the truth: that she managed to find his parents, then lied when she found out how horrible they were.
  • In Mr. Holmes, Masada Umezaki's Anglophile father claimed that Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You and used a meeting with Holmes as an excuse. After WWII, Umezaki dupes the elderly Holmes into visiting Japan to demand the truth, and Holmes bluntly informs him that he'd never met Mr. Umezaki, and it must have been a cover for simply abandoning his family. Later, after Umezaki's mother dies and some realizations on Holmes' part, Holmes sends a letter claiming that he does remember Mr. Umezaki and that he did sterling service as a British agent. It's a fiction, but one that will help Umezaki.
    • Given a different twist in the original novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind. Again, Holmes has no memory of meeting Mr. Umezaki. However, he also realizes that he must have done so and that he has burned the volume of Watson's diaries that contains the record of this encounter, probably because that volume included politically sensitive information.

  • The chorus of The Beatles' "Tell Me Why."
    Tell me why you cried,
    And why you lied to me.

  • In Blood Stain, Elliot rushes to take a flight to God-knows-where for a professor's lab assistant position, ditching her boyfriend's date and causing her older sister to become alarmed that she's missing. She can't exactly say that she's living in the same house as her boss. All of them thought there would be student dorms, so Elliot fabricates that as a lie to make the explanation easier. She can't state that the sudden rush was due to Dr. Stein's carelessness, so she claims that the position has tight deadlines. The gist of what actually happened is there, but the details have been smoothed out.

Western Animation
  • In the King of the Hill episode "Life: A Loser's Manual", it's revealed that Hank and Peggy lied to Luanne about her father working on an oil rig so they can spare her feelings. Really, he has a nasty drug addiction and was in jail all this time.
  • In the Futurama episode "Leela's Homeworld", it's revealed that Leela is a sewer mutant whose parents abandoned her on the surface so that she could pass as an alien and be spared the shame of being a mutant.