"It wasn't my place."
"I thought they knew."
"Nothing I did would have made a difference."
I'm lucky that my closest friends tell me the truth. They criticize, they question, and they disagree. Those aren't things that are characteristic of most friendships portrayed in the media and are often criticized as being selfish and unkind.
But the most caring thing a friend can do it be honest. It doesn't mean being unkind. I value a compliment from a friend who's honest because I know they mean it. And just because a friend disagrees with you doesn't mean that you have to follow their advice; but it does give you something to mull over.
I've experienced examples of well-intentioned dishonesty in various forms. I've seen people honestly criticize a peer's presentation in private and make a point to praise them in person. I've had people lie about liking foods and then make awkward excuses for not eating when I serve them (gosh, if you don't like the cookies then don't eat them- all the more for me!). Recently I went on a date with a man who was significantly less attractive than his profile photo (which, I discovered, was taken by his publicist), which is a dishonesty which was obviously going to be uncovered. (My friend's comment on this: "What do these people think? That you're going to go on the date and say, 'Wow, I was really nervous since you're so good looking in your photo, so I'm really glad that in person you're not that attractive'? Come on!")
Have you ever let your interactions with a person be influenced by positive things you heard from a friend? Maybe you put trust in someone before knowing them well enough or asked them for a favor because of "good reviews" passed on by someone else. I've experienced this and been burned as a result. I take responsibility for my decisions and wouldn't blame them on someone else, but it's pretty frustrating when, after a bad experience with a third party, the person who gave you the false endorsement in the first place admits they had the same problem with the person. At that point you have to wonder if the endorser is really trying to be polite or if they're just saying nice things about everyone to stay in everyone's good graces- ie, looking out only for themselves.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to place the blame on others. On the contrary, I think that we should all step up and take a little responsibility by sticking to the truth, even when there might not be anything in it for us.