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Saturday, May 28, 2016

How Often Do You Lie - The Ugly Truth You May Not Realize

I bet you think you're a fairly honest person, right? You do your best to tell the truth. You only waiver when it's "harmless" white lies. Like telling your best friend she looks great in that horrible dress. Or telling your boyfriend his bands new song is great but it sounds like a cat banging against a metal garbage can. These are, for the most part, harmless lies. They're only meant with the best intentions. Or so we'd like to think.

Did you know that the average person lies twice a day? That's pretty crazy to consider, but it's been proven by a series of tests. Most people, in fact, 56% of people also believe they're going to get away with every lie they tell. It may sound shocking to you, and it was to me, but 1 in 3 interactions between a dating couple will involve a lie. 1 in 2 will involve a lie between grown children and their parents. It's been shown that married couples don't feel the need to lie to each other as often as dating couples do. I believe that this is because they are no longer trying to impress each other. They don't feel the need to fabricate little things and come across as being more interesting. They've already gone through all of that when they were dating. Even children are actually capable of lying, despite popular belief.

But why is lying such a common place thing?

Did you know that while you think you're trying to preserve your friend/partner's feelings, you're actually only considering yours? It's been psychologically proven that we lie in respond to defending our own best interests. The reason you told your best friend that dress was cute was because you didn't want her to be offended. But it was also because you didn't want to deal with the confrontation if you ended up hurting her feelings. The same way you don't want to confront your partner if you hurt their feelings. Every lie we tell is in our own best interest, even when we wholeheartedly believe otherwise.

Another myth common with lying is that there are ways to tell if someone is. It turns out, none of those ways are legitimate. I personally used to believe you could read someones body language. Scientists and personality researchers have determined that there is absolutely no pattern. People who are telling the truth make the same movements as people who are lying. There are too many factors to consider, like nerves or a person attempting to recall events. Some liars are great at controlling impulses and reactions. That's also the same reason a lie detector test doesn't actually work. Did you know that? Yeah, they aren't actually able to detect lies. They detect the anxiety and stress level of the participant. Most people believe that liars will have subtle fluctuations. But so will people who are nervous, and telling the truth.

Of course, not everyone who lies on a daily basis is being malicious. Most of us don't know we're only considering our own feelings. Some lies just come out and we didn't even realize we had told them. It can be as simple as playing things down, omissions, or exaggerating. Most people who participated in these studies actually said after they told a lie they felt bad about it. That's a common reaction for the average person. We lie without knowing it, or we know it but we don't want to do it. We feel guilty for the little white lies, but we all figure it's better than the alternative. What's the harm in lying to your boyfriend about his bands new song anyway? Is he ever going to find out you don't actually like it? Not likely. But by telling him you do, you know he's going to feel better about himself and his abilities. So you sacrifice the truth in favor for one of those little white lies. We all do it.

On the other hand, some people turn lying into a form of art. These are often pathological liars. The trouble is that they end up believing themselves. Now, that's not to say they don't understand they're lying. They do. An example to illustrate my point is, let's say a guy tells you on the first date that he was on the honor roll. He wasn't. But he believes that he was smart enough to be if he had applied himself. He wasn't. But he's convinced himself that the reason he's actually lying is because it *could* be true. It's hard to tell who these people are. They're very smart. In fact, it's sad to say they are smarter than the average person. Studies have been done and show that pathological liars have more active white matter in their brains. This makes the correlation from thought to action to thought much quicker. For instance, they can come up with immediate excuses.

One of the most common reasons that a lie is told is as an escape from reality. From children to adults, people who tend to lie about situations are just unhappy with the reality that played out. They make up a new, more favorable one. Or they make up worse realities in an attempt to get someone to listen to them and show them attention. Basically, while lying seems to be common place, it's also a cry for help. That's not to say if your partner cheats on you and lies to you about it that you should forgive them. Use common sense to decide whether or not that action was done wile malice or carelessness.
It's my personal opinion that while society has accepted lying, you as an individual should reject it. Make the conscious effort to notice when you're telling a white lie. Instead, tell the truth. Face the consequences. It's much more rewarding to say what you feel and feel what you say. It's rewarding not to have to dance around other peoples feelings. While you don't have to say "that dress is so ugly your mother wouldn't wear it", you can say "why don't you pick another one". You can be subtle about disagreeing. It's better than lying. Tell your boyfriend his song sounds raw, unrefined. Suggest or hint that he should go back into the studio and try for something else.

You'll find over a longer period of time, it's actually easier to tell the truth. You never have to worry about slipping up!