‘It was just a little white lie’ is a natural way to say, ‘I was only lying to be nice’. ‘A white lie’ is a polite, kind lie. For example, imagine your new friend cooked dinner for you and it tasted really bad. You’d probably tell a white lie and say, ‘That was great. Thanks.’ Experts on Japanese culture sometimes say that white lies are more common in Japan than in other cultures (to illustrate, English doesn’t even have a commonly-used word for ’建前‘). But even so, it is also true that *all* cultures use white lies sometimes. And people from Western cultures certainly tell white lies about people’s looks (weight, clothes etc) very often.
A: Hey John! Great tie! You look sharp.
B: What? Why are you telling John you like his tie? You hate ties!
A: Oh, shhh. It’s just a little white lie. John’s got a job interview and I just wanted to make him feel confident.
How honest are you? Do you often tell little white lies?