Lies: They’re Going to Get You

Want To Know Who Is Lying To You?

Learn How To Spot and Prevent Deception

Are you lying to your family, friends or spouse, not disclosing information or only partly revealing the truth? Do you lie to your associates or boss at work? What may be even worse — are any of the important people in your life lying to you?

The Truth About Lying

If we are honest about it, we all lie. The statistics are astonishing! We lie in1 of every 5 interactions each day; in a 10 minute conversation, 60% of us lie 2 or 3 times. Nearly half of Americans lie to their partners about money (Honey, it was 50% off!). Brace yourself: we are lied to between 10 and 200 times a day!

Why People Lie

ŸThe motivation for lying is usually tied to self esteem or self preservation, particularly avoidance of social conflict. Sometimes we lie to save face: to cover up for an embarrassing mistake at work. Sometimes we pour some sugar on it: “Those jeans definitely don’t make your butt look big!”

ŸMaybe we need an easy excuse for tardiness: “The expressway was a parking lot!”

ŸWe lie to ourselves too. We want to believe our motivations are pure even when we are blatantly self-serving: Husband says to wife, “Honey, I’m taking you out to dinner tonight.” when it’s his turn to cook.

ŸLies sting the most when they hide betrayal. Have you ever discovered your girlfriend cheated on you and lied about it?

Deceptions take 3 different forms: Omissions, Half Truths and Full-On Lies.

Here are examples of each, followed by tips for avoiding getting snagged by them.


Jan and Trish had been BFFs since they met in high school. They liked the same boys, shopped the same trends and dreamed of careers in Entertainment. Both studied Communications, hoping to find a way into a high profile Public Relations firm.

Jan got the first break getting hired as an assistant at a dream firm. Jan invited Trish to celebrate at a hot new club where Jan arranged to meet up with her new co-workers. While Trish was in the bathroom, Jan was invited to a party where she could network with important people in the field. Rather than tell Trish about the party and share the wealth, Jan said she didn’t feel well and had to go home.

Trish felt guilty staying at the club while her friend was sick and had to leave. Following a minute behind Jan, Trish saw Jan laughing and getting into a cab with two of her new co-workers.

Don’t let this happen to you

  • Don’t assume or expect. Your best friends may have ulterior motives that don’t include you. Do you think a close friend will always consider your welfare? Making that assumption will leave you feeling hurt and betrayed.
  • Know your rights. Do you have any claim on your friend’s contacts or business associates? Every relationship has boundaries. Knowing what they are prevents getting hurt.
  • When lied to, consider strategy. What’s the friendship worth to you? Should you confront or ignore? Was the lie told to hurt you or for convenience? Knowing the answers helps you decide on a course of action.

Half Truths

Marissa was told by her boss to check the company’s voice mail at least three times a day. There was no receptionist; Marissa fielded all calls leading to new business, whether live or via messages.

Her bubbly friendliness on the job was refreshing. So when Marissa turned in only 4 or 5 call sheets a week (15 would have made more sense), her boss overlooked it. “Any calls this morning?” he’d ask cheerily. “Not yet, Mr. Perfect.” “Any calls this afternoon?” “Nope, rock star.” “Any calls come in over the weekend?” “Not a one, hot shot.” The staff squirmed and glared. Mr. Perfect loved it all — until Marissa took a Summer Friday off.

On his way out of the office, he checked the company’s voice mail. This is what he heard: “This mailbox is full and not accepting any new messages.” Mr. Perfect went back to his office. He left a voice mail on Marissa’s home telephone. “We are assuming you check your own voice mail, Marissa. Please stop by the office Monday for your exit interview.” Marissa did pick up that message.

Don’t let this happen to you

  • When it seems too good to be true, it’s probably not true. Know when you are being sold a bill of goods. Don’t allow a quick, easy answer to sway your better judgement. Look into things. Thoroughly.
  • If everyone around you sees a different picture, yours is probably out of focus. There’s a chance that everyone’s wrong — but not a good chance.
  • Over-familiarity spells trouble

Too much too soon often indicates a hidden agenda.


We often lie to people we might never see again. These are victimless lies. Unless you count yourself. We lie to make ourselves feel better — less guilty, richer, hipper — but lying chips away at our self esteem and fosters a general distrust of others, increasing our stress level.

Take a look at these 3 common victimless lies and our tips for esteem-building alternatives.

You stopped at a diner for a grilled cheese. Not a fan of American, you always request Swiss. Well, not always. The sandwich arrived; you instantly realized your oversight and scolded the waitress! “I specifically asked for Swiss!” “Did you sir? I misunderstood. Let me replace that for you.” “Right away, Miss. I’m starving.”
You bought a cool end-of-Winter coat on sale at The Gap. You had no idea it was a Burberry knock-off. When your label conscious neighbor commented on your new Burberry, did you say, “Heck. I got this on sale at The Gap”? Maybe not.
Your fellow commuter is passing the time. “Boy, the new Spiderman movie looks amazing. Have youseen it yet?” Not exactly. You know who Spiderman is. You’ve seen the trailer. And the poster. So you say, “Yeah. It was awesome.”

Don’t let this happen to you

  • We all make mistakes. We mis-order at restaurants. Own up with some humility. The waitress is likely to replace your order, gratis. Tip her generously and like yourself for it.
  • Celebrate your intuition. Maybe you didn’t know you’d purchased a knock-off, but you did recognize style, elegance and class. Describe your experience in a letter to your favorite lifestyle magazine.
  • Knowing it all is just not possible. Maybe you haven’t seen the latest superhero movie. But you have tried that new restaurant. Talk about what you know and you’ll feel good about yourself.