Lying is not a great thing to do, not at all. The reality is, humans lie every day, all the time. Sometimes it is essential to lie, sometimes it is caring to lie, sometimes it is advantageous to one’s career to lie.
What is the definition of a lie?
According to Dictionary.com, a lie is: “A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth.” OR “Something intended or serving to convey a false impression.” OR “an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.”
There are different kinds of lies. A ‘white lie’ is, “a harmless or trivial lie, esp. one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.” According to this great page on Lies from Wikipedia, there are also barefaced lies, bluffs, bullshit and fabrications to contend with. It’s a hairy-old world out there for the dedicated truth-teller!
What are some common lies?
There are many resources on this, so take heart. We can clearly make a list of the most common lies.
- Saying “I’m fine” when you are not, is a very common lie
- Telling someone you love something about their appearance, when you don’t, is also a lie
- Saying “I was stuck in traffic” when you weren’t, is a common lie
- Telling someone, “I just love this gift!” when you don’t, happens often too
- Agreeing and saying, “I understand” when you do not
- Stating that, “I’ll start my diet on Monday” is apparently a common lie
- Letting people know that you’re 29, when you’re older is a common lie
- Saying, “Yep, I’m on top of that!” when you are not, also happens every day for some!
When is it a good idea to lie?
Personally, I think that it’s essential to lie sometimes, but let your ethics be your guide. Often when we lie, we are only lying to ourselves. Sometimes, however, we like to lie to ourselves. Look at this article I wrote on vanity sizing. Even though I know how big my own backside is, I will refuse to wear over an Aussie size 10, even if it means lying to myself by shopping at the vanity-sizing stores. I’m cool with that.
Wikipedia tells us that even little kids lie. “The most commonly cited milestone, what is known as Machiavellian intelligence, is at the age of about four and a half years, when children begin to be able to lie convincingly. Before this, they seem simply unable to comprehend why others do not see the same view of events that they do—and seem to assume that there is only one point of view, which is their own.”
When is it a bad idea to lie?
Whenever your conscious tells you that something is wrong, or that someone will be unduly affected by your lie-telling. I don’t advocate lying to your partner, but there are some cases where it’s OK not to tell the truth. If he or she ever asks you about how many sexual partners you’ve had – lie away, I say, because it’s a stupid, undignified question that no one should have to answer to.
However, I do think it’s OK to lie on your resume – but only to close gaps and make information clearer. Have I ever done it? Only once to get a retail job when I had no experience at all. Thank god I didn’t get caught, but the stakes were low and I needed the gig. However, many professionals advise against lying on your resume.
“I don’t think anyone should lie on their resume – even white lies that “only” stretch the truth,” says HR expert Alison Doyle. “There is a good possibility that it will come back to haunt you. Is it worth taking the chance of not getting a job or getting fired later on?”
A final note on lying
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged