“Your new haircut looks fantastic”
“What a beautiful baby”
“Of course I don’t mind..”
Interestingly, research by University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert S. Feldman revealed that 60 per cent of people lied at least once during a 10 minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies.
Felman’s study also found that lies told by men and women differ in content, though not in quantity. Men do not lie more than women or vice versa, but men and women lie in different ways. “Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better,” Feldman said.
The way we learn about truthfulness is full of mixed messages and loaded meanings. We teach our kids that honesty is the best policy but at the same time it’s polite to pretend you love a gift you’ve been given.
In her recent book, Why We Lie:The Source of Our Disasters, Dorothy Rowe argues that while we might think that these type of white lies are for the benefit of others, in truth we lie for our own benefit. “Every lie we tell, no matter how small and unimportant, is a defence of our sense of being a person,” says Rowe. We lie because we don’t want to be disliked or humiliated. We lie because we are frighted of uncertainty and losing control.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes lying is much easier than telling the truth. While absolute honesty sounds good in theory, I think it’s overrated. Sometimes a little falsehood is needed to keep the cogs of friendship ticking over.
Over to you – What do you lie about? Do little white lies do more harm than good?