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How we lie

Lying is the best form of deception. As much as we all hate to be deceived, we do it on a daily basis to others with the little lies we tell. We lie so much that sometimes, we do not know we are telling a lie.

Nobody can claim to have stayed a day without lying. It is even recorded that the holiest person tells at least seven lies a day.

This vice is one that has, from the beginning of time, caused chaos in every facet of our existence. Homes have been broken through lies; friends lost through lies; careers shattered through lies and the list goes on.

The truth is not easy; and like Oscar Wilde said: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple”. Sometimes, we swear to tell the truth knowing that even that is a lie. This is because lies are easier to say than the truth. Lies tend to avert some disasters but when it has piled, can erupt without warning.

When a husband and wife cannot bring themselves to tell each other the truth but lie at the slightest provocation, that marriage is headed for the rocks. Same goes for people still at the dating stage.

When kids grow up in a home where a glaring truth is cloaked in the darkest lie by either of the parents, they imbibe the norm. Gradually, they impact the vice to their peer and it keeps spreading. And when they have their own kids, they will not hesitate to inculcate the character in; because that is the only way of life they’ve known.

No one is innocent of this attitude and saying you do not lie is just another lie on its own. In our day to day dealings with people, we find ourselves lying. We however have reasons to justify that lie. Either we lie to save our necks; or we lie to protect those we love. Some people lie to avoid quarrels while a few others lie to progress in life. Whatever the reason, we all are guilty of lying.

In reality, this vice has no known cure. We can only try our best to check mate it. Here are a few pointers that may help:

  • Create an environment filled with honesty. Be the first to tell the truth in your dealings with people because sometimes, when you are always truthful to someone, they’ll reciprocate.
  • Try to say the truth no matter how hard it is. Play out the worst possible scenario your lie will cause in your head.  Prepare yourself for whatever comes out of it, knowing you are doing the right thing.
  • The truth may/will hurt the other party, but eventually they’ll appreciate you for damning the consequences and telling the truth.
  • Let us appreciate it when we are being told the truth. If we do not, people will not want to tell us the truth but lie because that is what they know we would prefer.

Those who find themselves lying compulsively can begin by telling the truth in very minor issues. Then gradually get to that point when the truth isn’t that hard a pill to swallow.

These suggestions are not a sure-bet to put an end to this vice, but it’s surely a step in the right direction.


Most babes prefer to hear you lie than tell the truth & because most guys too, strongly want to have a roll in d hay with them, they lie; that way, both parties get what they want. Shikena!
But, I think I quite agree with you that, it's far better to always tell the truth and if everyone of us aspire to always tell the truth, we'd create an open and honest society devoid of the numerous problems that currently bedevil our society.

Like the writer aptly pointed out, it is only natural for all fallible beings to tell lies! However, the propensity to lie varies from one individual to another. Essentially, I think people lie because, it is in their self interest to do so.

For the aforementioned reason, falsehood and selfish motives are inextricably bound such that people with selfish tendencies will naturally be more deceptive and readily open to using lies as a beneficial instrument of interpersonal relationship.

Since, lying thrived well in a dogmatic environment, pathological liars demand trust from their partners the most, rather than earning trust by being trustworthy. I have had the experience of dating a bare-faced liar who will sometimes tell outrageous and incredible lies! Often times the truth was glaring obvious.

However, I am of the opinion that not all lies are bad or harmful in nature. Over the years, practitioners and scholars in Ethics, have tried to classify lies into a number of typologies depending on its characteristic hue. Despite condemning lying, the moral philosopher, St. Augustine, expounding on the nature of lies, and suggested eight(8) classes of lies in a descending order of severity. He offered the following taxonomy of lies: (1) Lies in religious teaching. (2) Lies that harm others and help no one. (3) Lies that harm others and help someone. (4) Lies told for the pleasure of lying. (5)Lies told to "please others in smooth discourse".(6)Lies that harm no one and that save someone's life. (7)Lies that harm no one and that save someone's "purity" (8)Lies that harm no one and that help someone. By using the severity scale to measure lies, St. Augustine erred in condemning lies as categories 5 to 8 tended to justify lies.

Augustine's taxonomy of lies support my contention that not all lies are bad lies. To me, certain lies are acceptable and beneficial for the relationship to grow. The litmus test should be whether or not the lie harms others. Again, in types 5-8, St. Augustine appears to have found, albeit inadvertently, lying to be justified under certain circumstances. For instance, when Abraham compelled his wife Sarah to lie to the King of Egypt about their relationship status (rather than saying she was his wife, she claimed to be his sister). This is called "good lies" or "white lies". This is also reflected in the words of Benjamin Franklin, who once admonished that "He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees". This is lying by omission or making incomplete and misleading statements that are harmless in order to help oneself. So, if while working, I got hungry and ate in a restaurant and tell my wife that I've have not eaten elsewhere; I have in effect told a white lie; indeed a harmless lie!

Thanks David. Your comment was very expository.

In addition to your suggestions, we should promise not to offend God by lying, and try to keep our promise because He keeps His to us.

Satan is a liar, and the father of all liars. Lies bring more lies to cover the previous lies. We must try to be truthful at all times for it brings trust.

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