“What did you get on that math test?” “Uhh, I got a 90 on it,” I said as I glanced at a math test with a score of 61% hanging out of my backpack. That was the first lie I remember telling my mother. “You can’t tell her, you’ll get in so much trouble,” my conscience screamed at me, “you have to lie. it’s the only way out.” Was it the only way out? What might have happened if I owned up and told her the truth?
Yes, I lied, but I didn’t mean to be dishonest. If someone were to ask me if I considered myself an honest person, I would tell them yes. Was I being honest when I told my mom a false score I received on a test? No. Am I an honest person? Yes. So, how does that make sense?It is extremely unlikely for there to be a person who has never lied before. “So to live a life where you never tell a single intentional lie, you would need to unlearn behavior that is as ingrained as talking and walking. Possible, perhaps, but incredibly difficult.” Said by Jan Lustro, an expert dissembler on Quora.com. Seeing as the majority of the human population tells lies, how are some of us considered honest and genuine? What makes the honest people different from the dishonest? Is it the amount of lying they do? Is it the severity of the subject they lied about? We categorize the honest as people who are willing to tell the truth no matter what outcome. They are people who will give you genuine advice if asked, even if you don’t like what they say. We categorize dishonest people as one thing; liars. Dishonest people are known to never tell the truth and be completely unreliable.
So, what really is the difference? Although honest people are known to be so absolute, they lie. But, it is not about the fact that they lie that puts suspicion on their candor, it’s what they lie about. People of virtue, as sincere as they can be, are still human. They still have feelings, so when it comes to telling someone something they might not like to hear, there could be some hesitation leading to, in some cases, a disservice.
According to Brandongaille.com, “the top six reasons for lying are lying to save face, shift blame, avoid confrontation, get one’s way, to be nice, and to make yourself feel better.” Most of these reasons are used by those who live a more deceitful lifestyle. Those who use any of these reasons as an excuse to lie are have self-interest at heart.
Unfortunately, there is no law that states “a person cannot lie to another,” unless sworn under oath. A person convicted of perjury under federal law may face up to five years in prison and fines. But, in reality, you could be talking to someone feeding you a thousand lies and you would never know. We value honesty in others but ignore any dishonesty in ourselves. Some people are compulsive liars and are likely to lie without any apparent reason and need. For example, a compulsive liar would lie about something they had for lunch just for the fun of it. Some people are not obsessive or regular liars but wouldn’t mind lying if the situation calls for it. They would most likely lie if, for example, they were about to get in trouble and lying was their only way out of it. Very few people do not lie at all but, unintentionally, do conceal facts and make misleading remarks or statements. An even fewer number of people do not lie usually but have lied at certain points in their lives. Some people just feel uncomfortable lying, which is good! It means they have a stronger conscience than most.
Some statistics on statisticbrain.com showed that twelve percent of adults admit to telling lies “sometimes” or “often.” Eighty percent of women admit to occasionally telling harmless half-truths. Thirty-one percent of people admit to lying on their resumes. Thirteen percent of people lie to their doctors. Thirty-two percent of people “stretch out the truth” to their doctor. Forty percent of people lied about following a doctor’s treatment plan. Thirty percent of people lie about their diet and exercise regiments. Sixty percent of people lie at least once during a ten- minute conversation. The average number of lies told by men per day are six and the average number of lies told by women per day are three.
The fact that so many statistics show that everyone lies is somewhat troubling. I surprised myself when I searched for the data on lying and saw that information. Lying will always be viewed in a negative light. It seems as generations come and go, a person’s word means less. Maybe by putting much more value on telling the truth, honesty would occur more often.