As soon as someone catches you in a lie, or vice-versa, it raises red flags, let alone a bunch of questions. However serious the lie, the act constitutes a breach of trust.
You begin to ask yourself things like:
- Why couldn't the person just be sincere?
- Is he or she a chronic liar?
- What happens if more serious lies are on the horizon (e.g. cheating, stealing money, etc.)
It's better to be forthright with someone than lie and later see it blow up in your face. For example, let's say you accidentally bump into your wife's parked car while you're pulling out of the driveway. Your wife comes back from a business trip and notices a huge dent on her bumper. (Assume it left no visible damage on your car.)
You could be dishonest and say you have no clue as to how it happened. But once your wife puts 2 and 2 together, she may discover you to be the culprit, making her question whether she can trust you in the future.
We've all heard the saying "ignorance is bliss." Some of us think that lying is worth it if it means preventing an argument or that someone won't get hurt. But this is wrong-headed thinking. Even if the person becomes upset and needs a day or so to get over it, he or she will ultimately respect you more for it.