Why Do People Lie?

Yes, why do people lie? The reasons why people lie are never-ending. Generally do so out of fear of consequences, to protect self, being uncomfortable or awkward. Basically we lie out of self-interest and to maintain control.

People lie to benefit or protect themselves in some way or to impress others in a social situation. For example, individuals may lie to get a promotion by overstating their achievements for a job or to impress others to gain friends. Public officials seeking office may lie about their goals and objectives in order to obtain votes. Children, teens and young adults might possibly lie to avoid punishment, to receive praise or in hopes of getting a reward.

Lies are oftentimes expressed when people feel uncomfortable with personal or embarrassing questions. Fear of consequences may provoke the individual into being evasive by stating the question is intrusive or offensive. Many find it easier to lie than tell the truth.Why Do People Lie?

Sometimes people will lie to avoid hurting the feelings of others. The lie hurts no one whereas the truth could be considered rude or hurtful. Not all lies are spiteful, mean or done purely for self-interest.

A study published in the Journal for Basic and Applied Psychology found that the people surveyed, 60 percent had lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with an average of 2.92 lies per person.¹

According to Feldman, extroverts lie more than introverts, men lie no more than women, and virtually everyone lies at work.²

How to Tell if Someone is Lying
Saltz said that there’s no foolproof way to tell if someone is lying, but there are some behaviors to watch for:

  • Avoiding eye contact. Is the person looking down or away?
  • Change in voice tone. Is the person speaking in a higher or lower pitch than usual or
    speaking faster?
  • Body language. Is the person turning away, covering the mouth or face, or fidgeting?
  • Contradicting what was said earlier. Is the person saying something when he or she
    said something different earlier?³

Everyone is guilty of lying at one time or another to a lesser or greater degree. Personally I can live with the lesser degree of lying but would rather not invest my time in a relationship where lying affects the level of trust. As with all things… the degree of and motive is the key.

Resource Links:
How to Detect Lies
Why People Lie – Telltale Signs
The Truth About Lying
Why Do People Lie?
When Do You Lie?
Psychology – Why We Lie

¹Source: Psychology @ Suite 101, Why Do People Lie? The Truth About Motivation for Lying
²Same as footnote #1.
³Same as footnote#1.

 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is
good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.  ~Ephesians 4:29

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