Why People Lie

There are many different reasons why people lie, so I can’t even begin to explain why all people lie. I can make some suggestions, based upon my own observations. I don’t believe that all people who tell lies are inherently “bad” or that they intend harm when lying, but I also don’t believe that everyone who tells a lie is doing it to keep from hurting someone or doing it out of fear. There are compulsive liars out there, and those who tell lies with malicious intent. The problem is trying to figure out if the person you’re dealing with falls into one of these categories or not. There is no hope for communicating with a person who is a compulsive liar or who tells lies with the intention of hurting another. Realizing that you can’t change someone or make them change, is another step when dealing with someone who lies.

We’ve all been guilty of “white lies”, whether told intentionally or not. “White lies” are considered small, harmless lies told with the intention of protecting another person or that person’s feelings. Or, it’s something as simple as omitting a fact or detail. These types of lies, in and of themselves, are not harmful to a relationship. What harms the relationship is the fact that a person feels the need to “hide” or “cover-up” a fact or omit a detail. If there’s not trust in a relationship, a person has low self-esteem or is insecure , then those are possible reasons why a person might lie.

Bigger lies such as lying about money, a person’s whereabouts, their past, etc. are definitely a bigger problem, and should signal a need for a long discussion as to why the person is lying… Along with a review of your relationship with that person. Are they lying because of insecurities or low self-esteem? Or are they telling lies to convince themselves of some truth in their own minds? (Yes, sometimes lying is a sign of mental illness!) Do you need a person who lies consistently about major things, in your life? If you can’t trust what a person says, then how are you to trust that your relationship with them (regardless of the type of relationship it is!) is real and meaningful?

People lie for many different reasons, there’s no way to cover all of the reasons why. When dealing with a person and their lie(s), it’s important to find out if you can actually assess the severity and motivation of their lying. If you can’t, heed the warning signs, take steps to protect yourself and get the person out of your life. Lying can be as simple as a symptom of insecurities, or a sign of a severe mental illness.