Telling lies has always been a part of human existence and behavioral patterns. While reasons for telling lies vary, it projects a deep seated mind war or warped thought processes and often I find myself asking if we not like the truth. What is it about lies that makes it so easy for one to utter? Is it lack of integrity, fear or lack of respect for moral values?
Whether the intentions behind telling lies may be pure or not, its overwhelming impact cannot be ignored as it has visible effects on how we relate with people in interpersonal relationships and also how we socialize with strangers, leaders, politics and the economy.
So why do people lie?
- Fear: This is a common emotion that everyone has felt at different point in their lives. From the children standing beside the broken cup telling you he didn’t break it out of fear of receiving punishment to the adult who tell lies when he arrives late at work to avoid getting sacked or suspended.
- Privacy: Have you ever had a conversation with someone and it feels like they are trying to pry into your life and all your insides scream “Can you back off?!’ For most people keeping their lives private is one of the reasons they tell lies just so they can escape unnecessary attention.
- Protection: There is a common trend of parents leaving the house and telling their children to lock the doors and if anyone, especially strangers comes knocking, the children should respond that their parents are sleeping and the visitor(s) should come back later. Parents who cannot afford a nanny and most likely have no option but leave to their children home alone while they go to work often do this as a way of protection. Also, women overtime have had to come up with lies for their own safety. Telling someone they have a male roommate even though the clearly stay alone or giving a man perceived as a threat a wrong phone number.
- Control: Telling lies as a way of control is very prevalent in the political scene. Leaders have a penchant for controlling information the people receive as a way of controlling the people and brainwashing them. The less informed they are, the lower the tendency of demanding for accountability and questioning the motives of the government. This reason for telling lies is also common in toxic relationships.
- Insecurities/Low Self-Esteem: When people feel the need to appear as popular, wealthy or in order to seek validation from people around them, there is a high tendency to peddle lies just to match the appearance or personality they want to people to think they have.
- Awkward Socialization: Certain people feel undue pressure when confronted with socialisation or having to engage people in conversations. It is a very awkward space for them and sometimes to escape that situation, they lie. Imagine bumping into someone randomly at a club and the person is all chatty and you come up with an excuse of meeting someone up just so you can avoid talking to the person or acting like you are on a phone call when you are not.
Sometimes telling lies can get you out of a bad situation but oftentimes when you are dealing with people and businesses and you have a reputation for being a liar, people will find it hard to trust you and either not do business with you or recommend you in future for referrals. People do not like being with people they can’t trust even if they are liars themselves. Leaders who have a likelihood of telling unfound lies, may lose their followership or have every activity they coordinate questioned. Let us endeavour to do without a seemingly harmless lie today and slowly build reputations of truth; one day at a time.