Pamela Meyer, author of the bestseller Liespotting, is revolutionizing the way people think about the truth behind lying. In her new book, Meyer illustrates the manners and scientific research behind the age-old question “Why do humans lie” and argues that honesty is a value worth preserving.
In the book, one of Meyer’s enlightening truths is that lying is a cooperative act. A lie is just simply words and has no power unless it’s believed. Sounds like tough love, but if at some point you were lied to, it’s because you believed it!
Not all lies are harmful. Sometimes we’re willing to take part in deception for the sake of social dignity. Perhaps you may have kept a secret a secret, for the sake of that secret. We say things like “Honey, you don’t look fat in that.” Or at work we call and ask a client, “Have you received that quotation? My IT department tells me we had some e-mail issues. I’ll send it over again just in case.”
On a given day, studies show that you may be lied to anywhere from 10 to 200 times – many of those are white lies. Researchers have also found that you lie tree times more often to strangers within the first ten minutes of meeting them. We also lie more to strangers than to coworkers.
Why do most people get played in relationships when their partners are popular, successful and beautiful? Well, researchers have found that extroverts lie more than introverts.
Another study suggests that men lie eight times more about themselves than they do about others. Women lie more to protect people. And, astonishingly, in a married couple, you’re going to lie to your spouse in approximately one of every ten interactions. If you think that’s bad, the number drops to three if you’re unmarried!
Lying is complex. It’s part of us. Even though we are ultimately against it, we use it on an as-needed basis, sometimes for the good, other times for the bad reasons because we simply don’t understand the gaps in our lives – that’s the truth.