Follow TV Tropes


Lying to Protect Your Feelings

Go To

Tedd: You should have told me where you were going.
Grace: I didn't want you to worry.
Tedd: But you lied to me.
Grace: It's okay to lie to people if you think it's for their own good!
Tedd: Who gave you that idea?
Grace: [unhappily] Everyone I have ever known ever.

You find out something about yourself, or a 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.


This may involve a Dark Secret (if the liar has a personal secret), as well as Locked Out of the Loop (if the person the liar is concerned about has a secret that not even that person knows). Related to The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life; whenever you feel that revealing yourself to your loved one would create problems and break feelings, you'd have no choice but to lie and hide it as much as possible.

Compare Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You, The Power of Legacy, Motivational Lie, I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy, Let Them Die Happy, Empty Promise.



    open/close all folders 
     Anime and Manga 
  • Danganronpa 3's Deadly Game is set up in such a way that Kirigiri's survival is contingent on murdering her best friend (or otherwise letting him die) within a given time limit or ending the game before then. Even when the latter appears impossible, being a heroic sort of person, she keeps this fact from him until death.

  • 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 Jurassic World, after the operation to use Owen's raptors to hunt and kill the Indominus Rex goes awry and many people are killed, Claire lies to her nephew Gray that everyone is fine when he asks if everybody is dead. Then Zack, Gray's big brother, calls out their aunt for lying, and Claire tries to justify it by saying that Gray is scared and lying when people are scared is okay.
  • 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.

     Live-Action Television 
  • On Blue Bloods, Frank identifies a newly-promoted officer's father as a cop-killer Henry'd been obsessed with catching for forty years, but lacks the evidence to convict. Reluctantly, he asks the man's son to wear a wire and get his father to confess the truth. The son gets the proof the prosecutor needs; arrested, the cop-killer asks Frank if he'd ordered his son to record him, and Frank falsely claims he had done so to ensure their relationship won't be damaged as badly.

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

     Video Games 
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Fang and Vanille mutually take on the burden of becoming Ragnarok, which will kill a lot of people. Then Fang gets amnesia and Vanille decides not to tell her about their Focus (or what Fang did to achieve it), because then only Vanille will be punished for not fulfilling it. Unfortunately, soon after, Fang's memories come back.
    Vanille: It wasn't fair! You had to do all the horrible stuff- and I didn't have to do anything-
    Fang: That is no reason to lie to me! You think that's what I want?! You, of all people-
  • Around the halfway point of Mass Effect: Andromeda the doctor watching over your character's sibling during his/her coma tells you that an AI found a way for you to communicate with each other via a mental link. Your options are:

  • 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.


Video Example(s):


That Voice

BoJack attempts to be a better father figure to Hollyhock by giving her something to look forward to that he knows all too well is fake.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / LyingToProtectYourFeelings

Media sources:

Main / LyingToProtectYourFeelings