Discovering why people aren’t always truthful can be an eye-opening experience. When someone deceives us with lies, it’s a disappointing and unpleasant feeling. However, it’s important to recognize that we ourselves may have also been dishonest on occasion. So, what motivates people to lie? Let’s explore the reasons behind why individuals sometimes choose to deceive others with their words.
Why They Lie ?
According to Robert Feldman, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who specializes in studying “verbal deceit,” lying can be a highly effective social strategy. People generally don’t anticipate being lied to; they assume that others are telling them the truth. This expectation allows liars to often escape detection. However, this explanation doesn’t account for why everyone engages in deception at times. Feldman offers further insight into this matter, highlighting the most common motivations behind people’s lies.
Sometimes, when things feel awkward, we might say things that aren’t completely true because we want to be liked and avoid feeling self-conscious. For example, when we’re discussing a topic we know nothing about, we might pretend to have knowledge to fit in and increase our chances of being liked. This desire to impress others comes from wanting to be admired and liked by them.
Lying can be a way to avoid negative consequences. When we do something that could lead to trouble, we might lie to escape punishment. This is something children often do when they want to avoid getting in trouble for something they shouldn’t have done. Similarly, if there’s a possibility of receiving a reward in the future, we might lie to obtain that reward.
3. To Get Something
Sometimes, people tell lies to make others feel good or to persuade them to do something they want. Flattery is a common way of lying, where people say nice things to manipulate others into doing what they desire. It’s worth mentioning that not every compliment is fake, and not all salespeople are constantly lying. However, it’s important to remember that people might use lies, like flattery or exaggeration, to get what they want.
4. To Keep The Lie Going
Lies can escalate and grow bigger over time. When we initially tell a small lie, we may find ourselves needing to tell even bigger lies to maintain the deception. This can create a complex web of lies where we might even forget what the truth originally was, as explained by the psychology professor.
Fortunately, not everyone lies all the time, and not everyone has ill intentions. However, it’s helpful to understand why people lie to be aware that others may not always be truthful, and we ourselves might occasionally tell lies for the reasons mentioned above.
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