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View Full Version : What causes people to tell lies?



Rail Tracer
10-05-2011, 01:29 AM
I ask that question, but I'll also ask another question in relation to that question. Why do people tell lies when you want the truth of the matter, even if it is blunt, and even if it'll hurt yourself by that truth?

What I am wondering about is why fabricate something when I want you to tell the truth about something. I'd rather be hurt now than be hurt many times more in the future. Why do some people go to great lengths to fabricate a lie or hide something that could potentially improve the other person?

If someone came up to me with a sincere question, I would be willing to tell the truth. That is, knowing that that person wants truth without fabrication or lies to begin with.

Qlip
10-05-2011, 01:58 AM
Well. That's pretty complicated. Sometimes people ask for the truth, but don't actually want it. Some people want the truth, but can't handle it. Sometimes the act of telling the truth will change things in the way the answerer doesn't wish it to. Even if the asker wants to know the truth and can handle it, sometimes it is too intense for the answerer to tell the truth.

kyuuei
10-05-2011, 01:59 AM
I think 80% of the lies I tell are more half truths.. Not saying the entire story, to sway it one way or the other. 100% of the time that I do that, it is solely because I feel it isn't anyone's (or that particular person's at least) business.

As for why we're conditioned to lie even though people want the truth? Most of the time, people have an idea of the "truth" they're about to hear.. when they hear something drastically different, they aren't prepared for it, and thus react in a negative way. So as we continue to see that pattern, we soften it and mold it into what we THINK they want, which ends up with better reactions.

For example... Crappy parents dont want to hear that their kid is screwed up because their parenting was shit. Even if it was.

Redbone
10-05-2011, 02:05 AM
Why do people tell lies when you want the truth of the matter, even if it is blunt, and even if it'll hurt yourself by that truth?

The liar may consider sparing a person's feelings of greater value than telling them the truth. Or they may not be able to tolerate the consequences of telling the truth such as blame, guilt, explanations, emotional backlash and what-not. They may also do it to maintain an advantage over the other person who doesn't know the truth.


Why do some people go to great lengths to fabricate a lie or hide something that could potentially improve the other person?

Hmm...pretty much the same answers as above.

ygolo
10-05-2011, 02:10 AM
The main reason I lie is to protect my privacy. But lately, privacy has become less and less important to me.

jenocyde
10-05-2011, 05:09 PM
A lot of people lie to protect their own ego, not yours. Meaning that if they revealed the truth, they would fall down a peg or two in your eyes. I know that I sometimes withhold information so I don't look as bad.

entropie
10-05-2011, 06:40 PM
Would you tell your five year old daughter the truth, if she asked: "will we always be together Dad ?"

StrawMan
10-06-2011, 01:43 PM
People have to be told lies, because people CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

entropie
10-07-2011, 12:45 AM
People have to be told lies, because people CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

15 inch ? :D

Engineer
10-07-2011, 12:56 AM
Fear, mostly. Fear that other people will reject their advice, their critique, or react to the opinion harshly.
In other cases, fear of the consequences that would have otherwise been.

entropie
10-07-2011, 01:00 AM
Fear, mostly. Fear that other people will reject their advice, their critique, or react to the opinion harshly.
In other cases, fear of the consequences that would have otherwise been.

"Fear that other people will reject their advice, causes people to lie"

Bro thats epic :D

Kriash
10-08-2011, 04:55 AM
I think there are a variety of reasons why people lie. Some of those reasons could be

To protect themselves(This can include protecting personal information, ego, themselves from being hurt, and a myriad of other things)
To protect others(most commonly I think people believe that others can't handle the truth. Also relates to the first)
Because they can( also related; boredom)
Because they have a problem(like compulsive lying, or a personality disorder where lying occurs)

I'm sure there are more, but just a couple.

ThatGirl
10-08-2011, 06:00 AM
I believe there are only two factors for telling lies.

To avoid conflict, or increase status.

Most people who lie, have insecurities with one or the other.

Pinker85
10-08-2011, 02:52 PM
Everyone knows its the parasitic twin that never truly died connected to your spleen. God I'm so glad I got rid of my spleen and that pesky parasitic twin. Next on the list has to be the conniving goldfish that live in my eyeballs.

xisnotx
10-12-2011, 09:10 PM
According to Kant, people tell lies as a sort of "defense mechanism" in that if they were to tell the truth, they know they would come off in a worse light than they otherwise would, and it is therefore beneficial to tell a lie for the sake of themselves.

Also according to Kant, a person who asks about his own faults should expect nothing but lies from the answerer because a man knows his own faults better than anyone else and is impossible of taking criticism objectively. Therefore, the answerer has a sort of duty to lie..or rather, skirt the truth.

Kant, however, said that lying strips one of one's humanity.

I lie primarily because in that situation it seems to me to be the best thing to do. I'm hardly ever right though, yet it's a nasty habit I've developed. I also lie if someone asks a question that I don't think they are entitled to get an answer to.

Someone I don't know too well: "What's your favorite color?"
Me: *Lie*

Why? Because, my favorite color is a very personal choice, and has so many reasons for being my favorite color that if the person were to ask why that color was my favorite, I wouldn't feel comfortable explaining it. Also, if that person were to say they didn't like that color, I'd end up taking it personally..because my favorite color, to me, is a reflection of who I am, and therefor any negative judgement of that color will, irrationally of course, be taken as a negative judgement of me.

It's easier to just lie..and avoid conversations you would rather not have.

Octarine
10-13-2011, 08:38 AM
It's easier to just lie..and avoid conversations you would rather not have.

So you lie because you're a coward?

wildcat
10-13-2011, 09:15 AM
A lot of people lie to protect their own ego, not yours. Meaning that if they revealed the truth, they would fall down a peg or two in your eyes. I know that I sometimes withhold information so I don't look as bad.

Do you lie if you do not know the truth?
Consequently a lie cannot protect your ego.
Your lie protects the ego of the other.

uncommonentity
10-13-2011, 10:30 AM
People tell lies because telling lies is possible to someone who does not seek to find the truth themselves.
Why tell the truth to someone who is not interested in it?
I think people tell lies to people who don't care about them because it's no big deal in the end.
I think people tell lies to people who care about them to protect what they consider to be an inconvenient truth.

Defense.

Lord Guess
10-13-2011, 01:43 PM
People lie because it benefits them in some way to withhold the truth from you. Either because they don't want to deal with the other person's negative emotions, or because the consequences of the truth are much less beneficial than the consequences of lying.

Other times, people lie because they get in the habit of doing it. I used to be like that; I just learned that it's better not to be known as someone who lies a lot.

Giggly
10-13-2011, 01:55 PM
People don't only tell lies, people LIVE lies. It's quite pervasive. Things like self-delusion, fantasy, denial, naivety, ignorance etc etc. Some innocent, some not. This is where a lot of lies come from. I have fallen for it and have been guilty of it myself before.

xisnotx
10-13-2011, 07:30 PM
People don't only tell lies, people LIVE lies. It's quite pervasive. Things like self-delusion, fantasy, denial, naivety, ignorance etc etc. Some innocent, some not. This is where a lot of lies come from. I have fallen for it and have been guilty of it myself before.
Why?
If there is good reason, it they use it as a means to achieve their fantasy, if at all possible, then who does it hurt? You group fantasy in with all these negative terms when fantasy is nothing but positive.

Giggly
10-13-2011, 07:37 PM
Why?
If there is good reason, it they use it as a means to achieve their fantasy, if at all possible, then who does it hurt? You group fantasy in with all these negative terms when fantasy is nothing but positive.

Fantasy is positive but some people don't want to be bothered with that (b/c it can be hurtful if they don't operate that way) and you have to know when to not do that.

entropie
10-13-2011, 08:06 PM
Fantasy is positive but some people don't want to be bothered with that (b/c it can be hurtful if they don't operate that way) and you have to know when to not do that.

I have witnessed that before and know what you mean. Still if I may ask, what exactly makes it hurtful ? That you are forced to think about something you didnt before ? or that it is overwhelming ?

Giggly
10-13-2011, 11:44 PM
I have witnessed that before and know what you mean. Still if I may ask, what exactly makes it hurtful ? That you are forced to think about something you didnt before ? or that it is overwhelming ?

Sometimes they don't like thinking about something they hadn't before, they don't see the point in changing things. Sometimes they don't mind thinking about something new but have decided that that something in particular is just not realistic or feasible or just not something that appeals to them.

That said, I find that most people at least have dreams... even if they're deep down inside.

entropie
10-13-2011, 11:56 PM
Sometimes they don't like thinking about something they hadn't before, they don't see the point in changing things. Sometimes they don't mind thinking about something new but have decided that that something in particular is just not realistic or feasible or just not something that appeals to them.

That said, I find that most people at least have dreams... even if they're deep down inside.

i can respect that

Giggly
10-14-2011, 12:11 AM
i can respect that

I know it's a killjoy :( but I think for them it can be disappointing to realize that they'd been lead into a fantasy if they weren't expecting it and especially if it doesn't end up working out.

ICUP
10-14-2011, 01:10 AM
I think my mother tells lies because she wants things to go her way. If she tells a lie, it might help her situation. It really disgusts me.

xisnotx
10-14-2011, 05:42 AM
I know it's a killjoy :( but I think for them it can be disappointing to realize that they'd been lead into a fantasy if they weren't expecting it and especially if it doesn't end up working out.
But..they're your dreams.."not working out" is part of what it means to dream. If dreams were always attainable...then they wouldn't be dreams. It'd be work.

Still...I can understand it. I accept that it isn't my place...to impose. I guess...

Lord Guess
10-14-2011, 11:17 AM
I think there's a difference between internalizing a dream, and living a life of hypocrisy. On top of that, most people lie to themselves at least a little bit; self-delusion is an inescapable part of the human condition.

Giggly
10-14-2011, 11:08 PM
I think my mother tells lies because she wants things to go her way. If she tells a lie, it might help her situation. It really disgusts me.

I think 99% of lies are told to benefit the person telling the lie.


But..they're your dreams.."not working out" is part of what it means to dream. If dreams were always attainable...then they wouldn't be dreams. It'd be work.

Still...I can understand it. I accept that it isn't my place...to impose. I guess...

Really? I don't think I see dreams the way you do. I see them as something attainable, even if take a lot of work. Fantasy on the other hand is not attainable. Those are just my definitions. Also keep in mind that there are lots of people who don't mind any of this. I suppose this thread is about those who do mind it.

entropie
10-15-2011, 02:00 AM
Really? I don't think I see dreams the way you do. I see them as something attainable, even if take a lot of work. Fantasy on the other hand is not attainable. Those are just my definitions. Also keep in mind that there are lots of people who don't mind any of this. I suppose this thread is about those who do mind it.

I agree and I share your attitude.

To me fantasy is a tool to express wisdom and life experience with. People laugh at me when I watch cartoons or startrek and they call me a dreamer.

Fact is, tho entps are thought of to be the biggest childs and imbeciles of them all, we seek in our fantasies, in cartoons, in startrek, our life experience, wisdom and the formula for our own happiness. At the end of the day, entps will be the most hardliner pragmatists and realists you have ever met in your life and people will come to seek our guidance, cause they feel we know something they need to know. this is not achieved because we have been the highschools best-liked guy ever, no this is achieved thru dreaming and our fantasy worlds, which enable us to compare, to analyze and to understand how humanity can live together and what consequences certain actions would have.

In that regards, as a tool, fantasy is a method to teach and a place to escape to.

xisnotx
10-15-2011, 05:47 AM
I think 99% of lies are told to benefit the person telling the lie.



Really? I don't think I see dreams the way you do. I see them as something attainable, even if take a lot of work. Fantasy on the other hand is not attainable. Those are just my definitions. Also keep in mind that there are lots of people who don't mind any of this. I suppose this thread is about those who do mind it.

I guess I'm just very in tune with just how much work it will take. My dreams are attainable, and will be attained by someone eventually, if not by me, then by people a lot smarter than me, or perhaps just younger. "Not working out" is, I guess, my way of saying "not seeing the full consequences of my efforts". But that's taking a shortsighted view of things.

Giggly
10-18-2011, 01:24 PM
Stumbled upon this. Thought it was interesting.

"How to spot a liar"
http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_meyer_how_to_spot_a_liar.html

Viridian
10-18-2011, 05:42 PM
Stumbled upon this. Thought it was interesting.

"How to spot a liar"
http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_meyer_how_to_spot_a_liar.html

Interesting... Although lots of commenters seem to think she needs to cite her studies, among other things... :thinking:

I do think there are ethical issues with this sort of method being used by, say, law enforcement officers to incriminate suspects.

Sizzling Berry
10-18-2011, 09:06 PM
Thank you Burning Rave for bringing that up.

I agree with Giggly - lots of the lies are told to protect the liar (with maybe an exclusion of some extreme cases). So if somebody is saying that they lied for the sake of another person it's very often a double lie. There is a lie to another person and a lie to yourself that you had to lie.

When you find out that somebody lied to you, you rarely feel grateful, well-loved, taken care of or protected. And we claim that this is what we want to achieve when we are lying to somebody.

So everyday lies are little gambles. In a spur of the moment we hope that the other person won't find out and we are going to get what we want from them (and what otherwise they wouldn't be so willing to give) - whether it's their presence, smile, respect, obedience.

But if we are discovered we lose much, much more. There is a Russian song called "Three lies" - the conclusion is that the third lie hurts you more than an enemy during the war. The person we lied to can lose more respect for us than they would originally (if we told the truth).

Hence, it's a gamble.