Why do people lie?

Posted on May 24, 2017


How many times have you lied this week? Most people, at one point or another, have lied. But the reasons why we lie the way we do are not as widespread. According to Psychology Today, here are the six main reasons people why when they don't need to:

1. Telling the truth feels like giving up control.
According to writer David J Ley, people tell lies because they are trying to control a situation and exert influence toward getting the decisions or reactions they want. "The truth can be 'inconvenient' because it might not conform to their narrative."

2. They don't want to disappoint you.
People who lie only do so because they are worried about losing the respect of those around them. They want you to like them, value them, and be impressed by them, and are worried that the truth - as ironic or counterintuitive as it sounds - might lead you to reject or shame them.

3. Lies snowball.
We tell a little lie - but then to cover that lie, we have to tell another one, and then another, and yet another. Each gets bigger and bigger until we seemingly reach the point of no return. Concept sound familiar?

4. It's not a lie to them.
Our memories, especially those based off of emotional events and factors, are unreliable more often than not. Sometimes, liars feel so much pressure in the moment to the extent that when they say something, it's because they genuinely believe, at that moment, that it is the truth. Our memory can be overwhelmed by anything from stress to current events or to the desire to find a way to make a current situation work.

5. They want it to be true.
Have you ever told yourself that if you said something enough times, it might just be deemed as true? Liars share the same mentality. And in today's environment of "alternative facts", it's hard not to see this as somewhat justified.

As frustrating as it is when people tell falsehoods, we can begin to understand the motivations behind them by asking "Why is this situation so important to you?" or "Why do you need me to see this the same way you do?". Rather than flat-out asking whether or why someone is lying, remember that s/he is fabricating for a reason, and that communicating empathy can help both you and the liar better understand those reasons.

Category(s):Infidelity, Self-Esteem, Trust Issues

Source material from Psychology Today