So on the blog I am pretty honest (I mean, why not? It's the Internet!). But in real life I have a huge problem with not lying. This is hardly ever for personal advantage (though of course that does happen). It's more because I don't want to offend people.
Here's an example: I was hanging out with a friend of mine recently. She also is a mother, so we were discussing various parenting topics. Her 8 month old sleeps very badly (which naturally makes her life much more unpleasant than it would otherwise be), and so everyone tells her to CIO (let the baby cry for a certain length of time, in order to teach it how to settle itself, for those who are not parents). She thinks CIO is horrible and borderline abusive, and won't do it. I don't have a stake in this of course (it's not my kid, or my constant exhaustion), so it doesn't really matter to me what she does. But I think she's totally wrong, that CIO is a genius idea, every parent ought to do it, and that her scruples are silly and even harmful, to both her and baby.
Instead of telling her this, though, I just agreed with her ("Oh, you should definitely do what you feel comfortable with!"). There's something to be said for this (why get into a debate over something you don't really care about?), but then I went further and gave a 5 minute speech about how important respecting your child's individual pace is, how infants are still developing and need their parents, how they won't sleep badly forever, etc. I actually don't really think any of these things. In other words, I was totally lying, just to tell her what she wanted to hear.
I do this all the time. If someone lets their kid watch lots of TV, I will say, "Oh, it doesn't matter! It's not like that's all they do!", or to spankers: "Yeah, that makes sense. It's not like you can reason with a small child!". And it's not just parenting: when speaking to religious people, I will talk about the vital role of religion in morality; rich businessmen hear me talking about how taxation is annoying/harmful and environmentalists about how saving the earth via recycling and composting is important. Actually I don't believe any of these things: in fact, I think the opposite, quite strongly.
I'm not sure why I feel the compulsion to lie about these things. I don't get anything out of it (these aren't my bosses or anything, just random people). Strongly stating my opinions would be at best provocative and at worst cause fights ("Oh, you spank? Did you know that makes your child stupider and more violent? And what's wrong with you that you can't make a point without beating people?" being my real thoughts, for instance). But I don't have to agree with the other person, or worse yet, adopt and parrot their opinions. They don't even expect it of me! It is all my own idea.
I think this is one reason I like blogging, because for whatever reason I don't feel as compelled to hide my true feelings.