Why Do We Lie? The Reasons Why We Play With The Truth

Last updated by Katie M.

Come on, let's not kid ourselves (for once), we all embellish the truth at certain points! Admit it, we'd be lying if we denied it! Whether you're one of those people who make up stories without even realizing it or whether you occasionally let slip a little white lie, we’re all guilty of fabrication. But, have you ever asked yourself what is it that makes you turn to dishonesty and why you feel better afterward for doing it? Let’s check out the reasons together!

Why Do We Lie? The Reasons Why We Play With The Truth
Contents: 

Lying is an innately human act

Lying, pretending, cheating, etc. are all human behaviors that we all live with, although this doesn’t mean that we constantly manipulate each other. On the contrary, life in society sometimes involves hard and brutal truths, which often lead to us manipulating the truth.

In fact, lying is so human that it is part of a child's development. As early as 3 or 4 years old, a child starts to tell a few porkies. They often make up stories and at around the age of 7, they begin to understand that they shouldn’t do so. In other words, children assimilate the “unspoken”. They also understand that one can disguise the truth or hide things from adults, like bad grades at school, for example.

>>> Find out if denial is healthy or not.

Why do we feel the need to be dishonest? — Because it can be useful!

Altruistic needs

Lying is often seen as a negative action, yet it is used every day in society. Indeed, pious lies or altruistic lies help us in everyday life. It is a question of protecting one's interlocutor, or even saving people from pain and humiliation. It is sometimes what leads us to hide what we really think in order to preserve other people’s feelings: ‘Yes, those pants fit you well’, ‘I love your new haircut’, etc. Likewise, it's the same mechanism that leads some people to feign joy in front of a gift they don't like, to force themselves to laugh at a joke that's not very funny or to simulate an orgasm, etc.

If a few little lies of this type don’t seem very serious, they can actually end up damaging your friendships or love affairs. So be careful not to go too far with your fabrications because although they seem harmless, they could be detrimental.

>>> Learn more about mythomania

We need to further ourselves along

Unlike altruistic lying, selfish lying, as its name suggests, serves a personal purpose. It is about protecting oneself (hiding a mistake one has made, for example), or getting something from someone else. The selfish lie is not necessarily serious. It can simply take the form of a padded bra or a sudden migraine to avoid a dinner party, etc. However, in certain contexts, it can have serious consequences. Sometimes it is even criminally reprehensible, if you lie on a contract, on a résumé etc. Without going that far, it can have effects on your health when you hide the truth from your doctor, out of shame or humiliation.

In both cases, if you have difficulty preventing yourself from lying or if you feel that lying is becoming too important in your life, don't hesitate to talk about it with a loved one or a psychologist. It doesn't have to be very serious… Most of the time it's all down to a lack of self-confidence!

Does being dishonest suggest something deeper? — It could reveal a mythomania disorder

Not being 100% honest is deeply human and normal in small doses. However, some people can't help but be untruthful over and over again, and this can sometimes point to a psychiatric disorder called mythomania. A Mythomaniac is an individual who constantly makes up stories. Unconsciously, they are people who seek to escape reality, but who do not seek to deceive. This rare pathology is often associated with other personality disorders (schizophrenia, paranoia, etc.).

What are 5 signs of lying?

Watch for the following signals, and liars will not take advantage of you.

1. They cover their mouth.

This is a common gesture among liars. A hand over the mouth or a finger over the lips reveals the lie, because this unconscious body language indicates a closing of the exchange. Liars also cover vulnerable areas of their body, such as the head, neck, or stomach, because lying makes them feel vulnerable and exposed to attack.

2. They repeat themselves and give too many details.

Liars hate silence, so they often try to fill it by talking more than is necessary. They give much more information than is required of them. The longer you remain silent, the more they will say to convince you and themselves of their deception. Liars will also repeat themselves several times, in order to gain time to gather their thoughts.

3. They prepare to flee.

In an unconscious reflex to provide an escape route, liars often lean toward the door if they are seated, or even move closer to it if they are standing. They may also assume a tense or defensive posture, their body unconsciously stiffening to escape.

4. Their words and body language are dissociated.

It's easy to lie in words, but our bodies know (and reveal) the truth. When someone says one thing and their body says another, it's a clear signal that they are lying to you. For example, a person tells you about the sad circumstances that prevented them from working, but they smile and speak with great gestures and animation.

5. Their breathing changes.

People instinctively breathe more heavily when they lie because lying changes the heart rate and blood flow. Sometimes liars have trouble speaking because their mouths are dry, a reaction of the body to lying.

How do I stop lying?

Occasional liars, or the vast majority of us, should be able to get away with it relatively easily. The idea is to be able to hold back when you are about to tell a lie. Of course, this requires a certain amount of willpower, at least initially. It can be done through small reflexes to implement. For example: if you speak faster than your shadow and tell lies before you even have time to think about them, force yourself to be "slower" in your exchanges, to think about what you are going to say before saying it.

On the contrary, are you the type of person who plans everything out before speaking, just to concoct a credible lie? Opting for the real thing, trying to be natural and unthinking, is also good! And then, to help you, because telling the truth is far from always easy, you can give yourself mini rewards. Those who have made lying a way of life will of course find it much harder to get over it. Especially since it may take a few confessions to wipe the slate clean.

Editor's opinion — The indispensable lie?

Whether it is a question of life in society or life as a couple, lying is necessary. It is a reflex, an instinctive act, but it is also a way to communicate better. Instead of saying everything that goes through our heads, without censorship and without worrying about what others think, we have consideration for those around us, and we lie, although perhaps this is in spite of more authentic relationships.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe

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