The truth about lying (DW#295)

As we wrap up our discussion on telling the truth about lying, let’s look at some interesting facts and studies from experts about truth and lying

· Research by Kim Serota, a marketing professor at Oakland University suggests that at least in North America, the average person tells one to two lies a day. (People tell more lies in January than any other month. The average person tells 217 lies in January (about seven per day). His research also suggests that "prolific liars" tell a lot more lies than that – according to his study, 5% of people tell approximately half of all lies!

· Most lies are told to get ahead in the workplace, to avoid being criticised or rejected or to hide something from family members. The most benign reason that people lie is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

· Our culture condones dishonesty and because of this, our own truthfulness declines . "There’s something antisocial about being too honest," says David Livingstone Smith, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at the University of New England and author of Why We Lie. "Part of becoming socialized is learning how to lie in expected and acceptable ways. If you aren’t capable of concealing truth, you’re not going to thrive in human society."

· Experts also believe that "One thing we deceive ourselves about is that we’re lying to protect others’ feelings. That’s not usually true. We often lie because we want another person to love us—we’re trying to protect ourselves from others’ disappointment, anger, or abandonment."

· Psychologists also believe that while we assume that circumventing the truth will keep others closer to us, the more frequently we withhold information from them, the more isolated we may end up feeling. Studies show that keeping secrets bars intimacy, making us feel less committed and less content with a relationship. "Lies can distance us from the people we wish to be close to," so they have the opposite effect of what we really want. Honesty with others leads to more connection and less loneliness and greater satisfaction in relationships. Plus, the more authentically we act, the greater our subjective wellbeing.
· Lying causes negative emotions. "Frequent lies can increase our guilt and anxiety, which can lead to depression and, in many cases, paranoia over being found out," says Victoria Lorient-Faibish, M.Ed., psychotherapist and author of Find Your "Self-Culture." That stress can then manifest in physical ways—such as heartburn, panic attacks, and insomnia—as your existence is consumed by protecting your lies from discovery, she adds.

· USA Today reported that lying has shown signs of being detrimental to health. This may be due in part to the fact that lying adds stress to our life, which can take a huge toll on our physical well-being.

· Marriage seems to provide some protection against deception and spouse are less likely to lie to each other than to others. The bad news is that when spouses do lie to each other, they tend to be "big lies" that involve deep betrayals of trust, "You save your really big lies," it appears, "for the person that you're closest to."

· Most liars remain at least somewhat conflicted about their behavior. In DePaulo's studies, participants described conversations in which they lied as less intimate and pleasant than truthful encounters, suggesting that people are not entirely at ease with their deceptions.

· People are more likely to lie over the phone and in written form. Experts guess that this is because they are uncomfortable with their lies. In most cases, however, any mental distress that results from telling an everyday lie quickly dissipates and most people become comfortable with lying over time.

To summarize, lies are easy to tell but difficult to live with. They are easy in the short term but cause damage to ourselves and others in the long term.

Taking the time to be tactful in our delivery of the truth, braving the awkwardness of carefully disclosing our own vulnerabilities to trusted others, and examining why we’re inclined to tell lies (small or large) can help us cultivate the kind of genuineness that leads to greater wellbeing, improved relationship quality, and lower stress.

Join our blog!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.