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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of Orange County

Is It Better to Tell the Truth or Lie to Protect a Friend’s Feelings? Here Are Specific RHOC Scenarios

Tamra Judge caught this fellow RHOC 'Wife in a lie, but Braunwyn Windham-Burke thought she was being nice by bending the truth.

By Marni Eth
The 'Wives Catch Braunwyn Windham-Burke in a Lie

Braunwyn Windham-Burke may be new to The Real Housewives of Orange County crew, but she's already found herself in the center of some drama. First, she told Kelly Dodd the train rumor she heard about her (despite telling others she wouldn't), and then she told Tamra Judge she didn't contact her frenemies, despite evidence that she did.

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Braunwyn chalked it up to just trying to be nice to protect friends, but then ultimately placed the blame on her unconventional childhood when she was called out on her behavior. Either way, it all got us thinking: Can lying to a friend really be the best way to protect them?

Personal Space spoke to life, relationship, and spiritual coach Dr. Linda Humphreys to learn when (if ever) it’s OK to lie to a friend and how to navigate tricky scenarios that have come up recently on RHOC.

Undermining Friendships

Dr. Humphreys explains that lying to friends is never good, because “once the lie is exposed, it undermines trust,” which is one of “the fundamental aspects of friendship.” Not only does it hurt the person you lied to, but it can even hurt the person who told the lie, since “it can eat away at and weigh heavily on the person.”

According to Dr. Humphreys, “lying contributes to the breakdown of a relationship,” because it becomes fair game to question if that person lies often. It also raises questions such as, “What else have I been lied to about?” In short, “no one “wins” when you lie.

Get off the Rumor Train

When it comes to Braunwyn sharing with Kelly the rumors that were said about her, those waters are a bit trickier, as there are friendships and loyalty issues on both sides of the drama. That situation is complicated because “it is hard to get in the mud and not be soiled.”

Dr. Humphreys advises to “decide what level of drama you want to be involved with” — the first option would be to “calmly leave the conversation” which “equals no drama.” Or “contributing to the conversation and/or telling the other person” which “equals high drama.” Dr. Humphreys explains that “you always have a choice.” In that case, Braunwyn chose a high drama route by continuing the feud when she told Kelly about the rumor and who said it.

Friends or Foes?

In the case of Braunwyn lying to Tamra about contacting her frenemy Gretchen Rossi, Dr. Humphreys explains that “friendship-wise, keeping secrets is within the same realm as lying.” This is because “once the secret is exposed,” it “can undermine trust between you and the person you are keeping a secret from.”

Tamra felt as if she couldn't trust Braunwyn when she confronted her about the situation and Braunwyn continued to deny it, despite Tamra having proof. Dr. Humphreys suggests in those types of scenarios to tell your friends beforehand “that you are getting together with the other person. If they have an issue with it, remember: it is their issue.”

By informing them from the start, they won’t feel as though you are doing it behind their back or feel the need to lie if they discover it. Dr. Humphreys also explains, “You can even explain to them that you value your friendship with them” — and that is why you are being transparent. They may even appreciate that you are being open and may be able to accept your “willingness to have many diverse friendships.”

Confronting a Lie

If you do happen to catch your friend in a lie, Dr. Humphreys explains, “Denial does not make things that really happen suddenly not true and the deceptions and lies simply disappear.” Therefore, it’s OK to confront the person and address what happened.

If you want to confront the person, she suggests a friendly approach to “set your intentions for the conversation" — and how you want to “be prior to the conversation." It’s important to begin knowing what kind of conversation it will be — is “your intention is to confront the other person with anger and judgment?” If so, she suggests you “take a moment to go within and ask yourself: what do I hope to accomplish during this conversation with this kind of energy?”

Dr. Humphreys advises that “a more effective way to approach someone in this type of situation is in a care-frontation manner.” Meaning: “That you lead with care: for yourself, the other person, and for the relationship.” Tamra confronted Braunwyn with anger, and it ended with tears. Once Tamra realized her approach was startling for Braunwyn, she toned it down and even comforted her, placating the relationship.

Does This Look Good?

When it comes to bending the truth if a friend asks if something looks good when it doesn't, Dr. Humphreys asks back: Why wouldn't you tell the truth? You should want your “friend to shine and look their best," so a white lie isn't doing them any favors. If you are hesitating, Dr. Humphreys suggests asking yourself, “Do I have ulterior motives or reasons to lie and not have my friend look their best?”

In a healthy friendship, that answer shouldn't be yes. When Shannon tried on a pair of pants and asked if they looked good, the ladies were quick to point out that her Spanx were visible. Dr. Humphreys explains that “there are ways to tell the truth without being harsh.” One way to do it in that scenario is to “ask the person how the outfit makes them feel.” If that person is uncertain, “you can even offer to help them make another selection” that “makes them feel FAB.”

Bottom Line

Taking the high route and not engaging in white lies is not the easiest way to go about things. Dr Humphreys says, “This work takes conscious practice... it may not be what was modeled for us and/or what people are used to doing.” However, Dr. Humphreys notes, “As with anything and everything, set your intention to be caring, patient, kind, gentle, and loving towards everyone — including yourself!” 

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