The ability to place trust in other people is a good quality, but it can be hard to trust when you find out someone has lied to you. Falling for someone’s dishonesty can make us feel dumb and disrespected. It’s important to recognize that when someone lies, it is a reflection of who they are, not who you are. It doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence or your value. People lie for various reasons. Oddly, for as much pain as a lie can cause, most lies are not told with ill intentions. Some lies are even told out of kindness or to spare another’s feelings.
Here are the six reasons people lie:
A lie for attention can be an exaggeration of a truth or an outright fabrication. An example of a person lying for attention is someone who embellishes an illness or injury to extend the sympathy of others. The person who lies for attention may completely make up a story about themselves to captivate the dinner conversation with a group of friends. The story could be the weird interaction they had with their boss, the flirtations heaped on them by a local barista or how they saved their neighbor’s roaming dog from being hit by a car. A person who lies for attention is someone with low self-esteem. Someone who doesn’t believe they are interesting enough to gain the notice of others by just being themselves. People who lie for attention may adhere to the lie as if it is a truth.
The lie told in order to brag is similar to the lie told for attention, except these lies are all exaggeration and the bragger definitely knows they are lies! The bragging lie is told with a bit of transparency. The lie might involve increasing how many fish were caught on a fishing trip, or overstating how well a first date went, or maybe embellishing how expertly a new car purchase was negotiated. These lies can be fairly innocent and told with a sense of comradery. The person being lied to will often know the tale has been aggrandized in some way.
We all lie from time to time. The most common reason people lie is actually to show kindness to someone else. Imagine eating the dinner your favorite Aunt made, only to find the noodles mushy and the vegetables underdone. If you’re asked how the food is, there’s a good chance you will tell her it’s delicious! This type of lie is seen as gracious and encouraged in our society as good behavior.
This is the lie told in order to keep a secret or hide a disparaging detail about the liar. These are the lies told to hide affairs, outrageous debts or a shady past. The lie of deception is told with ill-intent because the liar is hiding something about themselves in order to use, or continue using, the person they are lying to. While all lies are meant to deceive to a degree, these lies of deception are the lies that hurt and damage the person being lied to.
- Embarrassment –
When someone lies to cover their own embarrassment it can be funny. Whether it’s blaming the dog when last night’s gaseous dinner causes you to foul the air, or you find yourself returning someone’s gregarious greeting even though you don’t recall meeting them previously, these lies are easily forgivable. Although, occasionally a lie to cover your embarrassment might get annoying. For example, if you lie to cover indolent or lazy behavior. You can’t use car troubles as an excuse for being late too many times before your boss catches on!
The humbling lie can be similar to the courtesy lie. Imagine you find out you make more money than your co-worker, not a lot, but enough that you want to lessen any difference if you’re pressed to reveal how much you make. The humbling lie is about trying to place yourself on similar ground to someone else who has less than you or is struggling more than you. The humble liar may downplay their achievements or modify tales of their leisure activities to be more in sync with those around them.
Great value is placed on truth, but most people will tell a variety of lies in their lifetimes and be lied to even more frequently. The reasons people lie fall into the six categories listed above. So take heart, most lies are not meant in a harmful or hurtful way. Honestly.
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