Exploring the Psychological Reasons People Lie

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One of the most common and universal truths of today is that lying is bad. After all, we are well aware that lying may not be considered the best thing to do. Yet, we are still surrounded by liars. Not only that but in many situations, we may also become prey to the lying game and end up lying. 

With lying having become such a common practice, it makes sense to delve into the psychological reasons for lying. Only then will we be able to better understand the secrets behind why people tend to lie and how we can catch liars in the act?

Psychological Reasons for Lying

To Avoid Uncomfortable Situations

Sometimes, people tend to lie to avoid getting out of doing things that they don’t want to do. For example, you might have been invited to a family dinner or a party to which you have no intention of going. 

How best to get out of it? Lie. You might say that you already have other plans or that you have a commitment that you simply can’t get out of. In other words, people tend to use lying as a tool to avoid situations and people that they have no intention of encountering and experiencing.

To Lighten The Atmosphere

Some people have been known to enjoy a good joke or a good prank. As such, you may come across certain people in your life who love cracking jokes, even though it might be at another person’s expense. So, one surefire way to continue these pranks or to lighten a dull atmosphere would be to tell a lie and make the story more interesting and exciting.

To Protect and Preserve Their Image 

You may encounter certain situations where people ask you intimate or personal questions that you absolutely have no intention of answering. Maybe your new crush asks for your address right on the very first encounter, or maybe a stranger asks for your name and other personal details. 

In these kinds of situations, you may tell a simple lie by giving a vague address or making up a fictitious name on the spot. This may not be considered to be a bad thing since you’d be lying to protect yourself.

To Protect a Loved One

Has it ever happened that someone has shared a secret with you, and you weren’t supposed to share it with anyone else? If you do end up keeping the secret, chances are that you will lie at one point or another to prevent the secret from becoming a source of gossip. 

This is because people would not always end up lying to save themselves; they might even do it to protect their loved ones from becoming a topic of gossip or being put on the pedestal of shame.

To Cause Harm And Hurt to Other People

When someone lies to you and you later find out about it, it is most definitely a painful and shocking situation. The sad and harsh truth is that often, people lie to hurt your feelings. 

The person may be lying to persuade or manipulate a particular situation, or they might be attempting to gain control over you. 

A perfect example of this type of lying would be if a person would be asking for financial support from you. They may exaggerate some of the details to make the project sound more appealing and feasible for you. 

In the context of dating, people may lie about their profession or age in an attempt to come off as being more attractive and connect with people they would normally not consider mixing with.

When Lying is Considered to Be an Unhealthy Habit

In terms of lying being considered to be an unhealthy habit, it would be when the other person gets a feeling that you are lying on and off or even repeatedly. This ultimately affects the ability of the other person to trust you. 

On another note, when the other person is able to see through your lies, this may affect their respect and overall judgment of you. Speaking from a general point of view, people tend to be more accepting of other people’s flaws and imperfections when they are open and honest about them, not when they are always trying their best to conceal them. 

Simply put, the best approach is to own up to your imperfections and be proud of them. Even though it may be daunting in the beginning, over time, it could be a release and a liberating feeling to openly admit our mistakes and weaknesses.

Situations When Lying is Deemed Acceptable and Unacceptable

When people lie in order to cover up a surprise, then that is considered to be an acceptable situation. Another one would be lying to cover up a terminal illness or to save someone’s life. However, these kinds of situations would be more related to ethics and morality rather than psychology. 

But if you want to maintain your overall mental and physical well-being, the best option is to try your best not to resort to lies. This is of utmost importance in relationships, as being honest with each other always gives one another better opportunities. This would not only help us improve as distinct individuals but also make the relationship stronger and better in the long run. 

Often, when we are honest with each other and ourselves, we come to understand ourselves better and also help the other person overcome our insecurities. This would not be the case if we were always trying to hide things or keep our weaknesses under wraps.

The best way to move forward is to understand the importance of open and honest communication.

What About White Lies?

Lying is bad, and there is no grey area about it, even if people would be quick to point out white or little lies. This is because when people tend to engage in lying, it tends to create a gap between two people. 

After all, you won’t be clearly showing the other person what you have actually done, thereby creating a false persona or impression. In the case of relationships, it would mean that you would be missing out on a great opportunity to get to know one another on a more intimate and deeper level.

Is There a Particular Personality Type That is Prone to Lying?

In the case of lying, it’s not necessarily that liars tend to target particular groups of people; it is simply their habit of not telling the truth at all times. That being said, if you come across someone who consistently lies to you, then that would clearly show that they are not very much in touch with themselves. 

As such, they would always resort to lying and making up fake scenarios rather than facing themselves with the bare truth. So, when you look at your past experiences, you will find that it always takes up two people – a person who is being lied to and a person who is lying (also known as the liar).


That being said, it would be quite normal if you would find yourself or someone close to you to lie on and off. After all, it’s something that everyone tends to engage in at some time or another. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. It just goes on to show that we all are humans with imperfections or flaws. 

However, find yourself resorting to lying about particular situations more frequently than before. It would help if you understood that it’s high time for a reality check. 

Furthermore, you could also consider reaching out to a trained therapist who can provide you with guidance about trying to understand yourself better. This will help you take one step closer to telling the truth and being your most authentic self.

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