People are typically honest for the most part. The ability to communicate stems from the idea that we generally use words and their meanings in the way that most people understand them. If we didn’t, communication and the flow of ideas between one person and another would be impossible.
Understanding that honesty is more abundant than dishonesty forces us to ask the question: why do people lie in the first place?
Pathological lying, although not a clinical diagnosis or disorder, can be a sign of something deeper happening within a person. However, some people become so accustomed to lying that they do it when they don’t even have a reason to. Not only will they lie with no discernible reason, but they’ll lie about things that make the lies themselves easy to disprove. In order to see why a person lies to this extent, you have to look at the lies from their point of view.
Here are five reasons why people lie when they don’t need to.
One reason that people lie is that they don’t want to disappoint the people around them. It may feel contradictory, meaning that hearing a lie is more disappointing than the truth, but to the liar, the truth can be much more damaging. Losing the respect of the people you’re surrounded by is a big deal, so much so that you may feel compelled to embellish a story or flat out lie completely.
2. It Really Does Matter
You may think that a situation isn’t important, or the circumstances surrounding an event don’t make a difference, but they do to the liar. They really do think these things matter, so much that they are willing to fabricate a story to prove its importance. Most likely, they are putting undeserved pressure on themselves or the issue at hand. Don’t call them out for lying, but ask why it’s so important. Otherwise, you won’t ever get the insight you need to understand their behavior.
3. Lying is Control
When you tell a lie, you are completely in control of the story or situation. You’re writing your version of events that no one else can take. This means that telling the truth is the very act of giving up that control in the eyes of a liar. The truth can be inconvenient or non-conformable to a liar’s narrative.
4. Lies Always Build
When you tell a lie, it tends to have a snowball effect. In order to cover up the lie you just told, you have to tell another, and then another. When you’ve lied a substantial amount of times, it feels like if you admit to one of them, you have to admit to them all. Essentially, if a liar admits a lie, they admit that they are a liar, and now people have a reason to distrust what they say. This can be scarier than simply telling the truth.
5. It Needs to Be True
When a person lies, it may be because the situation they create needs to be true. They want it to be true so badly that they are willing to tell the lie in order for others to believe it happened. We see this today, particularly in the current state of politics. If they say something enough times and believe it to be the truth, liars hope that it becomes the truth. In other words, “alternative facts” are created.