At a young age, we are taught that lying is deceitful and downright bad. When we are children, the lies are innocent, yet it quickly becomes taboo to be untruthful. As we grow older, we realize that many taboos of our childhood – such as lying, drinking and sex – are simply part of growing up and living life. The idea that all lies are bad no longer applies in adulthood, in fact many times it is wiser to “omit the truth” than to be entirely honest and cause some sort of unwanted trouble.
2. Lying to “Enhance” Yourself
As a twenty-something year old that just recently reached adulthood (somewhat), I completely understand wanting to be successful and wanting to appear 100% established, glamorous and professional to the people around you. No one wants to be that person at a high-school reunion that clearly peaked at 18 and hasn’t done much since. For me, this has always been a fear, which is why as soon as I graduated college, I sat in front of my computer for the next 48 hours and applied to every job imaginable. When I finally began going on interviews, I found myself doing a lot of “enhancing” in terms of my resume and experience. An example of this was when I listed two Freelance Logo Design jobs under my Graphic Design Experience section, while – although I did create those logos – I made them for free for my dad’s company and my boyfriend’s Instagram. To my defense, I didn’t lie about the fact that I was able to do the jobs, I simply made everything sound more appealing, so that employers were more willing to hire me. Whether they were lies or not, we all enhance ourselves in some way or another to give the public eye a more enchanting impression of who we are. This happens every day on social media, especially now with the whole selfie craze and online dating. It happens on Linkedin, when people omit the word “assistant” at the end of their new position, or on Skype meetings, when the top half of your body is dressed elegantly and professional while the bottom half is just you in your underwear hoping you can hang up soon. Lies? Yes, but it’s also survival.
2. Lying To Make Yourself Feel Better
The one thing that describes this type of lying for me is: unrealistic scheduling. Every night I set my alarm to 6:00 am in hopes that I will get up without a problem, go to the gym, make myself a smoothie and go happily to work ready for a day of organized productivity. This never happens. Ever. What does happen is that I snooze until I have five minutes left to get ready, which then causes me to go to work starving and looking… not my best. The same thing happens when I get home and tell myself I’ll just eat a salad and go to bed early. Of course this doesn’t happen either because I end up ordering Chinese and watching Netflix until my pupils dry. In this case, lying really is bad, because it’s not helping me achieve anything! If you can relate to this, the smart thing to do would be to set realistic goals and take steps towards reaching them one day at a time, knowing that your schedule and will-power will allow you do to so.
3. Lying For a Larger Cause
This kind of lying is tricky, mostly because its tough to find the line between lying to protect someone’s feelings and lying to protect yourself. This happens in relationships constantly, but also in friendships and with family. I have an aunt, for example (whom I hope never reads this) whom every Christmas gives me the exact same hand-woven scarf, but in a different color. I have never used these scarves – you can ask my boyfriend who’s tried to give them away to charity about a thousand times – but I keep them anyways and always say I love them, why? Because I’m not a monster and I know she made them with love; after all, isn’t it more important to preserve my relationship with my aunt rather than ruin it with some unnecessary comment about my taste in scarves? Yes, so in this case, I believe that being honest is simply not an option.
4. Lying to Be Polite
While some may call it “being fake”, I call this form of lying “a way to make socializing easier.” It is typical, for example, for acquaintances or colleagues to greet you as you pass by and ask you how you’re doing. We all do it, and while it’s a form of politeness in social settings, you don’t actually want to hear the person’s entire sob story or a day-by-day of how their life is really going, you just want them to say they’re ok and keep on walking. It’s not rude. They feel the same about you. Do we consider this lying? Technically, yes, but there’s really no harm in doing so and were you to tell the actual truth… well now that would be awkward.
Cheers to all the adult liars out there! You’re not alone.