White Lie #1: "No Problem!"
THE I-WANT-TO-LOOK-GOOD FIB
How many times have we said this? When someone makes a request that means a problem or an inconvenience for you, say so politely. Avoid using the word but. The word, by definition, negates what is said before it. Saying, "That's a wonderful idea, but...," is the same as telling someone that their request is a bad idea.
"That's a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, I have a backlog of work and would be unable to help you out on that."
Sometimes you won't catch yourself before you fib, but a second chance may present itself if your colleague says, "Are you sure you can do it?" or "That's not too much trouble, is it?" Calling the next day to say you spoke too soon is also quite all right.
"On second thought, I won't be able to do this for you. Is there someone else you can ask?"
White Lie 2: Anytime is fine!
This article comes from the February/March 2005 issue of ADDitude.