Life is not black and white. There seldom is a definitive right or wrong. We need to learn to live in the gray. We need to consider and take aspects from each side in order to make practical life choices.

What's another expression or idiom for telling someone to "live in the gray"? Preferably one that is also only a few words long.

closed as off-topic by choster, tchrist Mar 24 at 16:12

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – choster, tchrist
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  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. I’ve edited your question with some formatting (you can roll it back if you like). The close vote (not mine) asked for sample usage, so hopefully the formatting will clear that up. I assumed you wanted a straight replacement, although FWIW I like "live in the gray". It seems intuitive. – Pam Mar 20 at 20:05
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    @Jessica, it sounds like the question is just describing being pragmatic when faced with moral ambiguity, but it's hard to say for sure. It might also be talking about being eclectic in your sources for moral guidance. Or maybe just being thorough in evaluting the various courses of action based on possible outcomes. Could you amend the question with a specific, concrete example to clarify what you're talking about? Right now, it's.... well, kind of gray. :) – JDM-GBG Mar 20 at 20:28
  • Note that "living in the gray" is not a common idiom -- Google finds several uses, but some appear to have a particular socio-religious connotation, so it's apt to be misunderstood. – Hot Licks Mar 20 at 20:28
  • Upon reading the title, I assumed the question was about people who made their living by potentially non-legal means. – George White Mar 20 at 23:11
  • I think that "it's a relative universe" conveys much of the idea that you seem to have in mind, but I don't know whether it qualifies as a common idiomatic expression. Another option is simply "live with uncertainty," but this may be too broad for your purposes. – Sven Yargs Mar 20 at 23:57

When people are said to be looking at things in only black and white terms, they are also said to be inflexible.

Therefore, to live in the grey is be flexible, to see things from both sides, and to have an open mind.

If trying to tell somebody to look at something from somebody else's perspective in a specific situation, a common expression is to put yourself in their shoes:

[The Free Dictionary]

To imagine oneself in the situation or circumstances of another person, so as to understand or empathize with their perspective, opinion, or point of view. Before being quick to judge someone for their actions, you should always try to put yourself in their shoes. Everyone is human, after all. Put yourself in my shoes and then tell me what you would have done, Dan! It isn't as straightforward as you're making it seem!

So, as a general principle, you could say:

We need to put ourselves in other people's shoes.


As in:

Life is not black and white. We need to learn to adapt to the in between.

adapt to TFD idiom

to change in order to be better suited to something:

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