In a society where networking and business relationship building is vital for progress and success, it is unfortunate that there is NO ONE that does not Lie at least once in a general conversation.
Author Susan Spira said, “White lies are the common decency holding us together”.
This statement is sad but true, whether we tell a lie, a half-truth or withhold information, we all tell lies. Consciously it is not our intentions to harm or discredit any interaction with the people around us, yet our perception of others, projects to others and that propels us to make a decision to lie or not.
The psychology of most humans is wired in such a way, to please others and to be accepted in society as being normal. This need forces us to tell people what we expect they want to hear, and camouflage it with half-truths and sugar coat it to soften the blow.
Research shows that nearly everyone cheats a little if given the opportunity. Dan Ariely of Duke University and author of the new book, “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty,” said. He and his team have done several experiments and it was significant that humans reminded of their morality, prior to action were less likely to lie than those promised more money or different rewards and tokens.
Some researchers are convinced that we have only two reasons why we would lie and that is Pain versus Pleasure. If the gain of the Pleasure or the Pain/loss is unbearable we will lie, again giving a half-truth, withholding information or telling a white lie, is still a Lie.
A good example here would be the little boy, being caught taking a cookie out of the cookie jar, if he is afraid of the spanking he would most probably lie about the act, if it is just a reprimanding, he most probably will acknowledge it.
Ask any man if he would tell the honest truth when his curvy wife asks if she looks fat in an outfit, he will surely answer with caution and with limited information, only a brave man will say: “Yes darling you look like a whale!”
On a more serious note, a cheating spouse will definitely lie if confronted, if facing the humiliation and loss of material possession is at stake, his choice of integrity and morality will override the truth, thus the Pain here is far greater, hence enforcing a Lie.
It is important to understand that lying is not an obvious acceptable sociable trait, yet unconsciously we determine at the moment, based on our background, culture, values, and perception, how we will communicate and interact with our fellow human beings.
Whether we are telling a white lie, have the need to be psychologically accepted or living according to our values, the Pinocchio within will always linger to grow the nose or shrink it to reality.