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Why Do People Lie? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to the newest edition of The Why.  “Why do people lie?” you ask? That’s a good question. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why does my boyfriend’s sweat smell the way it does?”)

people lie

Why do people lie?/Image: LivingBeautyAmdlace

It’s simple. People lie because they choose to do so. Whether they are intentionally dishonest because they cannot be trusted or because they have good intentions is the question. It’s motivation that is the issue.

Studies show more people lie and lie, on average, ten times a week.   Again though, the question goes to motive. Olivia Goldhill who writes for Telegraph Co. believes that telling a lie is often “easier and kinder than the truth, and anybody who claims they’ve never lied is probably lying right then.”

M.Farouk Radwan, MSc. of 2KnowMyself says that most people’s motives for telling a lie “stem from one root cause which is being unable to bear the consequences of telling the truth.” A lie is the result of “the combination of being unable to face the results of honesty and the lack of proper values (the tolerance of lying).”

Believe it or not, Dr Paul Seager, a senior psychology lecturer who specializes in deceptive psychology, says some people lie because they need to lie. He states:

“To keep society running smoothly, we need to tell white lies. If your partner comes home with their latest piece of artwork and says, ‘What do you think of this?’ it shows they want support. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to say it’s nice.”

people lie

Lies?/Image: Photobucket

Why else do people lie? Goldhill believes people lie to “protect” themselves “and others” and to boost their egos.

Seagar adds: “Some people lie because they get a kick out of pulling the wool over other people’s eyes – it gives them a feeling of power.”

Dr Cosmo Hallstrom states that incessant lying could be a sign of a personality disorder. They could be a psychopath, a sociopath or have a “borderline personality disorder.”

Hallstrom elaborates: “Some people live in a fantasy world and don’t tell the truth – people who for various disturbed functions in their psychological make-up feel the need to live a false existence. Psychopaths, for example, have no remorse or conscience. They focus on the short-term gain, they have no guilt and they live for the moment impulsively and without thinking of the consequences.”

Some folks lie because they have Munchausen syndrome. Goldhill’s research shows that some people who are “pathological liars lie incessantly to exaggerate their own importance; others may struggle to accept reality and the difficult truths of their lives.”

Why do people lie? Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

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About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.