The Top 5 Reasons Why People Lie

Okay. So why the list? I think it’s been on my mind lately; not because I’m a liar and I have a need to purge my guilt, but because I’ve been studying people’s actions and came upon these conclusions. We all have lied at some point in our lives, and I can only assume that most of us will continue to do so—for whatever reasons. But why?

After sitting on the beach this weekend, staring into the silvery light of the Atlantic Ocean, with the clouds blending slowly, and the peace of my own mind comforting me, I had a thought. Thoughts that come upon us while in deep reflection, usually surface for a reason;  maybe to help with inner conflict or maybe to help someone else. So, without further ado, here’s my list of reasons for why people lie. See if you fit one or all of these descriptions. I know I have . . . at various times in my life.

Reason One  A friend, relative, or co-worker asks you how they look, and you don’t have the heart to hurt their feelings. Now, if I can say something here. Not wanting to hurt a person’s feelings is an admirable quality. It is. That means that you have a heart. But what if this person asks you a question because they value and treasure your opinion? Sticky, right? Well, here’s what I’ve begun doing several years ago when I made the decision that lying went against my beliefs. I decided to be tactful in telling the truth. There’s a way to handle telling a person the truth without being cruel. Of course, the person may still get offended, but hey, you can’t live your life tiptoeing around everyone’s fragile ego, right? If a person wants your honest opinion, then by golly, you have to give it to them. Just use some tact when doing so. Here’s an example:

Sally says to her best friend, “I just love this red skirt. Does it make my ass look too big?”
Now, you know damn well that the skirt looks horrendous on Sally. Not only does it make her ass look fat, it makes her ass look like the surface of the moon. So how do you handle telling her the truth? Maybe you could say something like this: “I love the skirt, but you know, I don’t think it does your figure any justice. Red isn’t the color that makes you shine. How about black? You look great in black.”
I know it’s skirting the truth, but you answered her, didn’t you? I don’t think she’d really want to hear how fat her ass is. Of course, if she looks you dead in the eye and says, “I don’t believe you. Tell me the truth, you’re my best friend,” well, you have to tell her, but you can do it carefully. You can say, “Well, maybe the skirt is a little too tight?” and then wince.

Reason Two You’re invited to a party, an affair, or some kind of gathering and you don’t feel like going. There could be many reasons for not wanting to go. Now, here’s where it gets iffy. If you know the person very well and you still don’t want to go, then you should offer the reason. But if your reason for not wanting to go is because you find this person, and her friends, boring, then what do you say? Do you say you have other plans? Do you call at the last minute and say that your aunt suddenly died? What do you do? I’ve found that asking the person if I could let them know, works out well. When they ask me why, I simply tell them that I’m not big on parties and that I would like to give it thought. It’s the truth and it shows the inviter that I’m being sincere. It’s better than calling five minutes before the gathering and saying that Rover ate the tires on my car.

Reason Three  You see someone whom you’re attracted to . . . and you’re either married or in a relationship. You’re so attracted to them that you begin the flirting game. Before you know it, you’re making a date with this person. You begin sneaking around and lying to your significant other. But why are you doing this? And why the lies? By lying in a situation like this, it says one or several things: that you want your cake and eat it too; you want to see if there’s anything better and if there is, you’re going to drop the bomb on your significant other; you’re afraid of telling your partner the truth for fear that they’ll leave you and then get a lawyer. There’s many reasons for lying when you’re in a situation like this, but the main reason is fear. But fear of what, is what you have to ask yourself?

Reason Four  People have low self-esteem and want to impress others. Now this is up-there in the lying chain. Let’s be honest. How many times have you felt the need to exaggerate, just a little, your life’s journey to others? You get in a group of successful people and suddenly you feel like a failure. So when asked about your profession, instead of telling them that you’re a shoe salesman in Macy’s, you say that you’re the manager in the entire men’s department. Um, just a widdle, iddy, biddy lie, eh? But seriously, I think we’ve all done this OR we may have avoided answering the question all together . . . WHICH may be better than lying. Then again, what’s wrong with saying the truth? What happens to our egos when we come face-to-face with humiliation? Think about it.

Reason Five  We’re afraid of someone’s reaction—to ANYTHING. I think this is the granddaddy of the list. If you’re lying about everything, then it’s time for the couch. Seriously.  I’ll elaborate on this.

The premise behind lying, about anything, is fear. There isn’t any other reason. The fear of another person’s reaction is what drives people to lie. The fear of the consequences for their actions makes them lie. It’s always fear that causes a person to say an untruth. Don’t let yourself believe anything else. When you lie to someone, it’s because telling them the truth will either get you in trouble or get you in jail OR you’ll have someone mad at you or you’ll have something taken away from you. Lying is the biggest symptom of fear and the worst part about it is that we lie to cover up for our insecurities. Think about that one and ask yourself, why do I lie?

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