All humans tell lies. We tell little lies, some people tell whoppers.

The little lies we tell are often the grease of human interaction: “you look great” to the person who looks ok, but needs a confidence boost; “how lovely to see you”, well it isn’t, but at least I can be polite about it.

We tell those kinds of lies to try not to hurt other people. There are other little lies we tell that are not so positive: “I didn’t do it”; “I only took one”; “I’ll do it in a minute”; “I was going to do that next”; “That’s what I said”. These are self-protecting lies, we usually learn to tell them when we are small children.

If we have a critical parent, we can see these kinds of lies as necessary. But as we reach toward maturity we need to acknowledge that these are lies and to try to stop using them. They are destructive and undermine both our self-respect and our self-confidence.

They are sometimes more apparent to the people around us, who will come to see us as immature and self-serving. It is a behaviour that wins no friends.

But the people to really watch out for are the ones who tell big lies… like “I love you, but I can’t leave my spouse at the moment”. This is a big lie told by someone who puts their desires above your needs. They want to keep their lifestyle and have you on a string too.

This is a form of poison, it damages the liar, their spouse and the other person. This is the reverse of the first type of lie. This is the lie where everyone gets hurt.

There are other lies like this, they are all poisonous manipulation. People who perpetrate these lies will say almost anything to try to get you to fall in with their plans. The worse thing is, that they often have themselves convinced as well as you. There is something twisted in their heads that makes it possible.

Some of them, though, belong in a different league. They are the pathological liars. They almost have to tell lies, they will lies even when they have nothing to gain from it. Leaving the people on the receiving end confused. They will tell such outrageous lies that you find yourself thinking “no one would lie about that, what would be the point?”

The point is that such people are peculiar, their world view is alien to us. They are often, but not always, malicious creatures. They sometimes gain an admiring audience for the audacity and enormity of their lies. But, more often, they are lonely creatures who only attract other damaged souls.

So, can I recommend that if you find yourself telling lies other than “that was a wonderful meal” when it was only ok, that you ask yourself why you did and whether it’s a habit you want to keep?

If you want to meet open, honest people, the first and best step is to become one yourself.


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