Which do you tell them?
Truth.
47.9% (68)
47.9% (68)
Lie.
33.1% (47)
33.1% (47)
Other.
4.9% (7)
4.9% (7)
Unsure.
14.1% (20)
14.1% (20)
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Poll: One of those contrived ethical dilemmas.

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The situation:

Someone you care for greatly is dying. They are an adult. It could be your grown up child, close sibling, dear friend, parent, beloved spouse, lover... whoever. They will be dead within hours, but for the moment they are lucid and aware.

They ask you a question. They expect an honest and sincere answer.

However, you know that a truthful answer will only cause them distress.

You are alone, just you and the dying person. Nobody else need ever know what you said or didn't say.

So, do you you give them the truth they want or do you give them a lie to allow them some comfort in their final hours?

...

I ask this because I was recently writing a story with a similar scene in it and realised that I have absolutely no idea what I would do in such a situation.

Lie to them!

Would you want to live out your final few hours in even more pain?

'Cause I wouldn't. Ignorance is bliss, my friend.

Frankly, if it's my lover, I would tell her the truth because I swore to her that I would be on her side in all things, which suffice to say means telling the truth. This is, however, the Other option because I wouldn't simply just tell her the truth. I'd do whatever she wants of me and try to make her feel better. If it has to end, I want no regrets. That's how I got about confessing in the first place when she was feeling...really low. (That might sound like a movie plot but this happened, truly.)

I'd like to say I'd be truthful, but I think it would really depend on the question. Probably on the person and my relationship with them, too.

Hm. Unless it was something wherein telling the truth would cause the person to hate me/someone else or something really soul scarring, I guess, I'd probably tell the truth. I think.

Better a lie that gives comfort than truth that gives pain.

I think it definitely depends on the relationship and the truth in question. If it's my truth to tell then I would likely tell them... but even still it depends... for reasons...

Marter:
Lie to them!

Would you want to live out your final few hours in even more pain?

No, I guess not.

However, I don't think I would want to be lied to in my last hours either. Surely if there is a time to be truthful, that would be it.

Lesser of two evils perhaps. I don't know.

Yes, Lucrecia, Sephiroth is dead.

I mean... Yes, I'd lie.

If they want the truth, then that is exactly what I'd tell them. Maybe they have more distress before going (though I'm sure they would be somewhat relived you were willing to give them an honest answer) but at the end of the day I personally couldn't live with myself if one of the last acts towards some one I cared for was to betray their trust (even unknowingly) by taking the easy lie.

I would tell them the Truth if it went exactly how you say it plays out and no one else hears it.

I have nothing to lose by telling them the truth and if it were me lying there and I asked for the truth I would damn well want the truth. If the answer was not to their liking, most people would forgive you if she/he only had a few hours left. Unless it is REALLY bad, then they might not forgive me. It doesn't matter though, I respect a dieing humans last wish and I doubt I could say no to someone like that.

Although!

So I guess if the question the dieing person asked directly affected my life, I would not make the promise or I would lie to put them at ease.

It would depend on several factors...

a) What's my usual interaction with them?
b) Do I think they'd be able to handle the truth?

While I'm usually by myself, the social convention is that you should be around the person about to die, so they don't die alone. And, if I didn't think they'd be able to handle the truth about their imminent demise, it should throw up some flags if I suddenly wanted to spend the next few hours with them.

Though, if I did think they'd be able to handle the truth, I'd most likely tell them and we could go do some crazy shit together before they died.

Is it a bad sign that the scenario I'm imagining for this hypothetical situation involves the person asking me a "X and Y are drowning, which will you save" type of question?

Anyway, it'd depend on the person, the nature of the question, and how much pain the truth is going to cause. In most cases, I'd opt for telling the truth in the least painful way I can manage. If it's going to cause a lot of pain, I'll probably opt for a half-truth that takes as much of the sting out of my answer as possible.

Depends...it is a very awkward situation.

Zhukov:

Marter:
Lie to them!

Would you want to live out your final few hours in even more pain?

No, I guess not.

However, I don't think I would want to be lied to in my last hours either. Surely if there is a time to be truthful, that would be it.

Lesser of two evils perhaps. I don't know.

Its easy to make this choice if YOUR the one dying though. If i was dying i wouldnt care about any truths told to me as much as if i wasnt. I dont believe in an afterlife so at that point all that matters to me is the good i had rather than the tiny bit of bad at the end however that might be delivered to me. Id probably just laugh it off. Is this something thats SO distressing it makes me sadder than actually DYING? If so id lie. If not id tell them. Id do what id want to hear if i was in their position.

Tell the truth.
Better they know you admit to something wrong than you lie, the realise it's a lie, and feel worse than if you've told the truth.
Though this just depends on the question and how well you tell a lie. I'd go for truth though.

I'd avoid the subject or divert the conversation. If there is no way to get around it...well I suppose I'd have to see in the situation, but hey, I always lean towards the truth, even when it get's me in trouble.

...

...

...

*reads again*

...where...I don't...

...

...WHAT IS THE QUESTION?!

I would of course consider what the question is before giving my answer. But given a hypothetical question, I'd give the truth because I have principles, because I'm tactless and because if they can tell you're lying that's about twice as bad as just telling them. I may or may not sweeten it a little or purposely omit details.

Lie.

Not only do I not want to cause the person I love great discomfort in their dying hours, I myself wouldn't want to live with the knowledge that I caused a close loved one great discomfort in their dying hours.

I just last week had to put down my dog, who I had for 9 and a half years, and the initial anaesthetic injection made him scream out in agony. The thought that he had to die scared and in pain still weighs heavy on me, and I doubt it'll go away anytime soon.

When someone you love is dying all that matters is that they pass as peacefully as possible. Fuck the truth.

lie always lie

Always tell the truth. They deserve to know.

Better they know and can solace in the fact that they won't die alone than be conned, but the truth and I have a very different relationship with one another because of my life.

I've found lying only causes harm and I count this situation as being one if not for the person then for myself having to deceive them in their last moments.

Kill him/her of course.
I mean, the person in question is already dying and this way I avoid the problem all together.

...

What?

I am unsure, there are loved ones I would tell the lie to, some I would tell the truth to because I know they would each react differently

Depends on the question. If it was something whose answer would make them happy, why would I lie? If it's something that would wreck them, why would I want to make their last living hours agony? That would depend on the person...

Stupid answer: it all depends on the factors.

You don't lie to someone on their deathbed ! Even i wouldn't do that! And i'm a terrible person. If it's someone a care about i will definately tellthe truth ? If it's not someone i care about i don't know why i'll be there in the first place.

I swear if i'm dying and i'm asking a question and whoever lies , i swear i will rank up in hell ( because i'm totally going to hell ) come back and haunt the shit out of them .

Zhukov:
Someone you care for greatly is dying. They are an adult. It could be your grown up child, close sibling, dear friend, parent, beloved spouse, lover... whoever. They will be dead within hours, but for the moment they are lucid and aware.

They ask you a question. They expect an honest and sincere answer.

I admit that I saved the dog.

Marter:

Would you want to live out your final few hours in even more pain?

'Cause I wouldn't. Ignorance is bliss, my friend.

In some cases it would be tragically fitting.

Truth. You tell them the truth.
If you lie, you're dishonoring their final wish by taking it into your own hands to do what you feel is right for a person on their deathbed. And for what? A final few moments of disillusioned comfort when they want clarity and closure for their last hour on this earth? If they wanted comfort, they would have asked for comfort. Instead, they asked for the truth. That is what you give them.

A moment like this is a test of character. If you're writing a story, you want to consider all aspects of the possible choices, and what they reflect upon the person making them.
Who's doing the asking? The protagonist? What kind of person is he? Is he so shortsighted that he would lie to someone on their deathbed because from his perspective, it's the right thing to do? Or would he brace himself and tell a groundbreaking truth to someone because he feels they deserve to know, despite how it makes either party feel? Do his morals outweigh his own interests? How much does he respect the dying person?

This kind of context is important, a lot more so that "What is it they want to know?" That's merely peanuts, since it's already been established that telling the truth would be awkward, disconcerting, and distressing.

Truth.
You don't deny someone their dying wish.
And I would expect someone to tell me the truth, regardless of if it hurt me.
Gotta show them the same respect.

I would save my dog from the whirlpool of course!

Truth. It's what I would want for myself, how could I grant a loved one anything less?

tell the truth they will be dead soon they wont have to suffer for long but I will get to watch it

It would depend entirely upon what the question was.
I might try to sidestep the answer with a half truth: let them know just enough to comfort them.

I'd absolutely lie. I'd be far less at peace with the death if I knew I made their last moments more stressful, while I'd take solace in lyng to make their last moments better.

The "truth" is always up for interpretation anyways, and as a whole, is largely overrated. Far more important is the impact we leave on each other's life, whatever the "truth" happens to be.

You never know exactly how someone is going to take something even when you think you know.

I am not completely sure but I lean towards the truth. We only get one life and I can only think if it was me and I bothered to ask the question at all I would want a straight answer. So I say tell them the truth.

Lie. In this case, telling the truth would cause far more distress than the lie and would do very little good.

Might not be easy to live with later, though.

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