Last updated at 10:03 GMT, Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Every week we ask you a different question. Hear what people in London say, then join the conversation! How important is honesty to you? Is it ever okay to be dishonest?

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The Express English team

This is what some people in London told us.

Some people were sure that honesty was important. Being honest with people builds trust.

One woman said lying always backfires. Another said that people can rely on you, when you're honest.

But when asked 'Is it ever okay to be dishonest?' several people felt it was a good thing to tell 'white lies' sometimes. White lies can stop people feeling hurt. As one woman says, you can be overly honest!

Did you know?


We often think we can tell whether someone is lying. However, research has shown that we're not really good at spotting a liar.

Language tip

We say 'tell the truth' not 'say the truth.'

Cultural tip

In Britain, a lot of people believe that used car salesmen and estate agents are more dishonest than other people!

This Express English was originally published in 2011.

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  • 1. At 10:59am on 28 Apr 2011, Reka wrote:

    I really agree with these people, honesty is a very important thing in relationships between people. Nowadays trust is difficult to gain but easy to lose. Very many people are unreliable, and by nature we are distrustful. Somtimes white lies are acceptable, when we don't want to hurt the other person.

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  • 2. At 11:08am on 28 Apr 2011, serik wrote:

    honesty is the most important thing in a humen life. Without it no one can survive in a society. It will be an over of humanty

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  • 3. At 12:01pm on 28 Apr 2011, likeaflower wrote:

    In my opinion honesty is the base of a relationship because you can't live or be friend with person you don't trust to.You need to feel able to be completely relying on him/her.
    However I belive in white lie,it's necessary if don't want hurting people's feeling,but you must know where to stop before it gets worse.

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  • 4. At 12:45pm on 28 Apr 2011, bana wrote:

    There is no doubt that honesty is always remains better than being a dishonest it’s for all time help you in building your contacts and links whether these are associated with your family or outside homes. But if by chance you have shaken the trust then no one can relay or believe on you so it’s the matter of your whole life and your relationship. As far as dishonesty is concern this is the serious ailment which weakens the roots of our society.

    [Edited by Moderator: This message has been shortened by a Moderator.]

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  • 5. At 1:06pm on 28 Apr 2011, christin wrote:

    Well, i think that honesty is the basic component in every relation.Most times even a little child feel the lie. To be dishonest make the people not to trust us. Of course sometimes to be honest is very difficult but i think that honesty is the best way to deal with the others.

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  • 6. At 3:01pm on 28 Apr 2011, krhnfth wrote:

    Honesty is one of the most important things in our life. But sometime lying is better tahn honesty. For example, you are a soldier at war and you are taken prisoner. The soldier of enemy asked you; where is your ammunition and guns or your friends. You have to lie or don't tell him anything.
    I think lying is bad thing exept above mentioned. I don't believe white lies.

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  • 7. At 4:42pm on 28 Apr 2011, Taro1979 wrote:

    It's really important to be honest for yourself. You are second to none to know yourself. If you are always being dishonest, could you believe yourself?

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  • 8. At 6:00pm on 28 Apr 2011, Juan wrote:

    Honesty it`s a big and a great value. I´m honest person and it´s so frustating when you discover someone who is telling you lies. I felt disappointed and cheated.

    In these times Honesty is some all world, need of many of his leaders.

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  • 9. At 6:38pm on 28 Apr 2011, Estrellita 21 wrote:

    It is important to be honest particularly in a relationship and a friendship. Even so white lies are ok but of course it depends what kind of lie it is. I am not the typ of girl who says lie is a sin. Sometimes is necessary to lie but it should be frequently.

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  • 10. At 10:29pm on 28 Apr 2011, beatriz wrote:

    I agree with the idea of being honest as the only way to build trust and rely on people, although sometimes we can be dissapointed. I always prefer the truth instead of a "white lie".Beatriz.

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  • 11. At 01:45am on 29 Apr 2011, Mina Lee wrote:

    Honesty means very large to me, because I know the truth that dishonest in now may give me a little gain but at last it would make me miserable, like partings.

    It is important to not to allow any kinds of lying including white lies, because if you allow them it can results in justifing all kinds of lies.

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  • 12. At 01:52am on 29 Apr 2011, jack wrote:

    It's depend on which things you tell,If it's a joking ,I think dishonst is ok,important things must be honst.

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  • 13. At 02:17am on 29 Apr 2011, marceloos91 wrote:

    In my opinion, be honest it's not a quality, it's an obligation!

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  • 14. At 03:50am on 29 Apr 2011, abdullah wrote:

    I think it is important thing to be honest, because the honesty is the way to build contract with another people. I agree with who say the honesty is important to build the trust. I believe that, you can't get any truest without honest. If people think you lier you won't get any things from them. How can them trust you when they know you are lier.

    With all of the above, I agree with the one she say: we can't be honesty all the time. There is something we can't tell the people about it. Maybe someone will be ask: why can't we tell the people something?. It is a good question. I will answer it. Some information we can't shear it with the people, in some cases, we can't shear some information with our friend. Because some of them it is personal information or embarrassed information to us when we tell anyone about it. Sometimes we keep some information to keep our relationship good.

    Finally, it is important thing to know about it. We must be honesty when we are in our job, and when we want to make contract with another company.

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  • 15. At 09:06am on 29 Apr 2011, kirsti wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 16. At 09:11am on 29 Apr 2011, kirsti wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 17. At 09:55am on 29 Apr 2011, danny wrote:

    Honest people ofen have had damage at some nation because of a dishonest political leader.

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  • 18. At 4:43pm on 29 Apr 2011, moutaz wrote:

    hi all

    i believe its so difficult to anyone be dishonest, but some times we need to lie (white lies) its help us to be nice and make people are happy ( people who we care about them ) ,i prefer die to be dishonest.

    acutely it depend on our parents and how they teaching us to be, if they honest 99% we will be honest.

    when we are teen, i am sure we have a lot of lies and dishonest but after be adult we can stop it because at this age we able to distinguish between the wrong and the Right .

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  • 19. At 9:14pm on 29 Apr 2011, hind wrote:

    It's so important to be honest for building trust with people but sometimes we need to lie when we want to remove a disagreement between two people.

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  • 20. At 01:27am on 30 Apr 2011, castleontheriver wrote:

    The honesty in familiar spheres of the life, like: work, studies, relations of family and of lovers, or others; is for my very important. But also it is a relative concept, because for reasons of communication, courtesy, or to avoid a bad major, sometimes it is necessary to practice it of non strict way. Anyway, the total honesty is a fundamental parameter of the human acts.

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  • 21. At 02:30am on 30 Apr 2011, bbcfell wrote:

    I think honesty is very import in one's whole life, but you also need tell 'white lies' in order to not hurt people.

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  • 22. At 06:14am on 30 Apr 2011, nadia wrote:

    i am generally honest person especially when it's about important things; i think when you are honest people trust you and rely on you .but sometimes and only in small things when to be 100% honest can hurt others i am dishonest ; for exemple say to some one he looks great but in reality he didn't , and i do that just to make him feel better, to helpthim to feel more confident.

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  • 23. At 12:03pm on 30 Apr 2011, Persic wrote:

    I think, being honest to the people, who are close to us is very important. When we are honest, the people get a good impression from us, which make us feel better!

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