What characteristics make up a person? Some say sense of humor, compassion, respect, dignity and the most common characteristic trait mention if you were to ask a person would be honesty. However, how many times have you lied to yourself or better yet how many times have you lied to someone else? Everybody lies. What is strange is how unacceptable lying is. There is no doubt about it, after telling a lie you feel guilty and less of a person. However, the true judgment of your character is why you lied in the first place. Lying is necessary and beneficial. "When lying is necessary to maximize benefit or minimize harm, it may be immoral not to lie," quoted from the article Ethics of Lying by Tim C. Mazur. .
Immoral not to lie! That's something you don't hear often. However, the truth of that statement is evident in many different aspects of a person's life. For example, your friends with a couple who are currently going through a divorce in which there little boy is unaware of at this point. One day you"re talking to the little boy and he asks you if his parents are going through a divorce. Do you tell him or do you let his parents tell him? Well if you don't tell him then your lying. However, are you really lying or are you just protecting the boy. In this situation you"re maximizing the benefit and minimizing the harm towards the little boy. The little boy needs to be told this gently and by his own parents so that he doesn't feel responsible. Telling the boy something more general such as everybody gets into little arguments every now and then may make him feel more comfortable with the situation. While deciding to protect the boy you are making a utilitarian decision and which is also the most reasonable rubric for determining if a lie is wrong or right.
Some may view utilitarian reasoning for lying as an excuse. However, comparing two instances such as a teenager scratching the bumper of his fathers car verses, a friend not telling another friend that someone finds them annoying, will show you that the benefits of lying out weigh the few fibs that may slip through.