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The Truth about Lies

By Mira Khatib


Come on let’s be honest we all lie, to our friends, relatives, peers, partners even to ourselves. Some are innocent “white lies” others more consequential. We mostly lie for our benefit, whether it is to avoid a parking ticket or to get a better promotion.


“I don’t care if he calls.”

“I am not that jealous.”

“Sorry we don’t have extra money in the budget for your raise.”

“You simply look great in that dress, it doesn’t make you look fat, I swear.”

We’ve heard lies like these and most likely we’ve told lies like these, and if anyone claims that they never lied are surely lying.


So why do we lie when we know there is a very good chance we’ll get caught? Why do we let others lie to us? If we want to be honest we know the answers to the questions, because we are scared, because we want to spare pain, to ourselves or someone else, because we don’t want to pay the bill for our mistakes. Sometimes we lie to ourselves to give ourselves hope and or excuses as reassurance towards our weaknesses and unfulfilled dreams.


Sadly lying has become fashionable in today’s modern world. It has become like the seasoning to life. But do we have a true understanding to what we call a lie? And to what extent we use the so-called “white lies”? And when should someone admit that he has been lying? Or do we go on lying about our lies? Sometimes we get caught in a lie, so the temptation is to keep insisting we’re telling the truth.



Although lying is considered a sin, it doesn’t stop men and women from telling untruths. Some people lie because they don’t think others can deal with the truth, hoping to confuse the reality and maybe by doing so wishing the problem will go away and disappear.


Occasionally you are asked questions and people may not hear what they wish to hear, but they do wish and demand to hear the truth. It seems we live in an age where there no longer is absolute truth. At times if you say you know the absolute truth you are considered intolerant. Yet white lies are not always the best way to go and is in no way encouraged, no matter how a good liar one is it can always back fire. One has to ask whether the consequences are worth it.


Keep in mind that information is the key, after all in making rational and optimal decisions, and with people withholding the truth, especially when it concerns them and others, is disrespectful and unethical. I am a firm believer that the truth always manages to make its way to the surface. And bear in mind, lying as innocent as it sometimes is, could make it seem like one has really something to hide. So when push comes to shove, make sure that you do not tell a lie even if you cannot be 100% honest. Now can you handle that?



Most people find lying very stressful, there is a lot psychological anxiety with the pressure of being convincing and the fear of being caught, all playing at a persons conscience where unintentionally becomes reflected in a persons body language. The trick is to be able to detect the signs that signal that a lie is being woven. Yet it is not always that easy to spot, as everyone is different and have different reactions and responses.


The key to catching the liar in his act is to pay close attention not only to nonverbal clues but also noting if the behavior differs from what is normal to that person.



Listen closely, if the person you are talking to changed the tone of his voice, or raised the voice pitch, or even the choice of words used, and trying to sound convincing, are all signs that might signal a not so truthful conversation. Also take note to sentence structure, verb tense and sequence, as the guilty party is so focused on selling you their lie they neglect to concentrate on simple details like grammar and correct language structure.



If suddenly the person you are talking to engages in a fidgety activity, like shredding paper, clicking a pen at a fast rate, repeatedly shifting weight from one leg to another. Averting eye contact or constant blinking are all signs indicating that there is more then what meets the eye.



Many wish to disappear or hide than getting caught in their lie; unconsciously liars have a tendency to cover their mouth with their hands as they speak, hoping to conceal their deed. Or did you ever notice how while talking with a friend who might be dishonest is constantly looking at a door way or gradually backing towards an exit? Psychologically they are looking for a way out. Another sign to keep a look out for is if a person your talking to tries to put a barrier between the both of you, like holding a brief case, or a folder or book to their chest, giving them a sense of protection, as liars have the tendency to feel vulnerable. 



If someone is going over board to convince you with their tale, starting a sentence with “the truth is”, “honestly”, or “I swear” they are most likely telling anything but the truth. When putting effort and repeating words or phrases in hopes of persuading you in buying into their fable story.



A very subtle yet precise tactic is answering a question with a question. Using this approach is a mean for buying time to think of the right answer or to find just the right lie that will come in tune to your liking.



After some time people can get quite crafty and creative with their lies and make believe stories, but there are those who are just too smooth and subtle that lying becomes part of their profession and are not so easy to detect. Lets say like a sales man who exploits your personal space to make you feel closer, using a pat on the shoulder, calling you by your first name, even mimicking some of your own moves, which gives the impression that both of you have the same attitude and understanding. Some even might ask personal questions, like the age of your children or your favorite music and when you answer they will reply “me too!” Suddenly you are practically friends with a total stranger, giving you the feeling of comfort and placing your state of mind not to doubt, after all how can you doubt someone who seems to be on your side? Before you know it you are buying products you never dreamt of owning.



You might think that little white lies don’t hurt anyone and are only meant as reassurance every now and then, the untruthful responses we get are merely meant to satisfy our feelings and not hurt our egos.


Every day we have a choice in how we react to things and situations. We can deceive ourselves that leads to the choice to lie and that leads to some horrible consequences. If you decide to tell the truth, that leads to good choices, that still can lead to some very bad consequences, but at least they are honest ones.


While I will not insult your intelligence and say that I never personally lie, I would say that I am as human as anyone else, but I do try to make the right choices. I hate lying as in my opinion it’s the surefire way of having conflicting stories, causing one to slip up and make a fool of one’s self. So next time have courage and think twice before telling a lie, just tell the truth, honestly how bad can that be?




Photo credit: kygp / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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