Ask the Third Graders: When the truth might hurt a friend’s feelings

Third grade students Alexa and Madeline offer their advice in the second installment of a new St. Louis Jewish Light video series. 

Question: A friend called, who told me her daughter asked mine if she liked her new haircut, and my daughter said she did not. Now, the friend is crying and embarrassed about her haircut. My daughter said I told her never to lie, so she was just being honest. What suggestions can I give my daughter about how to answer similar questions in the future to avoid hurting feelings?

In addition to the video above, Alexa and Madeline also offered this advice:

Our parents tell us to always tell the truth and never to lie. But, there are times when telling a small lie may be less harmful than telling the truth, like when it comes to giving an opinion that might hurt someone’s feelings.

In the question above, a friend gets a new haircut and seems very happy with her new haircut. Let’s say you’re not the biggest fan of her new haircut. If she asks you if you like it, you might not want to burst her bubble and say that you don’t like it, because the most important thing is that she is happy with it.

So, in this case, you might put your opinion aside and tell your friend that you do like her new haircut and that you’re happy she likes it. If your friend seems upset about her new haircut and she asks for your opinion on it, then you might want to just tell her that it’s fine but that the best part is that it’s just hair and if she doesn’t like it, it will always grow back.

Sometimes, not telling the total truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings is better than being totally honest and hurtful.

Previous installments: