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Why Do People Lie and How to Deal with Liars

Why Do People Lie and How to Deal with Liars
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“Why did you LIE to me? You tore my heart apart.”

“I had all my faith on you and this is the way you repay me? We are DONE! You lying monster.”

Well, people from time to time encounter similar situations, either being the one to lie or the one to be lied. This is always heartbreaking to discover the cruel truth.

None loves to be lied. But we all lie, don’t we?

Sometimes we forgive the liar. Sometimes we don’t. What makes the difference?

Frequency. And more importantly, intention.

There are lies that aim to harm and to avoid harm. Lying is bad but the intention can be good.

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Simply put, there are two types of lies, harmless and harmful ones.

Not All Lies Are Harmful…

Harmless lies are lies that aren’t intended to cause harm to anyone. Or even for the good of us. They involve distortion or exaggeration of facts. These lies usually come with the following intentions:

Avoid hurting the others

Such lies are told to protect our self-worth or protect us from being hurt by some cruel facts. For example, a mother tells her children their father has gone to somewhere far away and won’t come back for a long time. The fact is their father is a soldier who on his service died in a battle. The mother, in this case, simply doesn’t want their kids to know the death, which is very disheartening, but continue to live a happy life.

Avoid conflicts in social interaction

For this kind of lie, it is told to maintain the pleasantness of any social situation. A good example can be found in a grand premiere. Journalists always start the interview by praising the others’ dressing. It may not be their true opinions but it for sure pleases the interviewees to have a smooth harmonious interview.

Self-protecting by not letting others know our fear and insecurities

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It involves minimization of self-disclosure to hide our fear and insecurities. Personal privacy is usually distorted. Sometimes we simply don’t want the others to know too much about ourselves. Some regretful memories or pitiful past, for example, are usually not disclosed to the others to avoid reminiscence of the painful moments.

Safeguard our pride and self-esteem

This lie is usually told by self-oriented persons but they do not intend to hurt anyone. Instead, they try to boost self confidence or catch attention by exaggerating. It can often be seen on people who rely greatly on the others’ acknowledgement to feel contented or empowered. They will exaggerate on their achievements or experiences to receive a few “Wow” in order to feel good about themselves.

Harmless lies, in spite of its neutral or good intention, may not be actually good. If we never reveal our true self to the others, how are we supposed to establish true friendship? Yet, when compared to harmful lies, they cause much less damage to the others.

Beware of The Poisonous Lies!

Harmful lies, on the other hand, are the true murderers of precious relationships. It begins with evil intentions and manipulates the others. Unreal “facts” are constructed to trick them into doing us a favor. These lies are those we have to be alert.

Gain others’ trust and affection

It involves the distortion of facts to forge an impression that others are of their favor. For example, in this way, we gain trust or affection of the others to have a brighter future in career. This mostly happens in business environment when we want to have more cooperative colleagues or a senior more supportive of ourselves. And this is where flattering and lying begin. Another occasion is when we want an interview or to impress the others in an interview so badly that we have to disguise our true self.

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Evade from responsibilities

We all hate punishments. We never actively look for them but sometimes they just knock on our door. This is the moment we try to lie our way off from them. This is unfair and to be worse, it may lead to an innocent person taking our blame. The most common lie attempts on this occasion has to be in college. When teacher asks for the one who does the bad deeds, we always refuse to confess and point to others.

Take advantage of the others

This harmful lie is told when we want a favor from the others which normally they won’t provide. For example, when we are too reluctant to work and want someone else to share the burden, we will pretend to be in poor condition or to encounter some urgent situations where helps are needed.

There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Deal with Liars

First and foremost, the way we are going to deal with the exposed liar is totally dependent on whether we want to maintain a good relationship with them. In addition, the nature of the lies has to be considered. None wants to be executed on the first trial.

Those who tell harmless lies:

  • Keep it in our heart

Exposing a lie is dangerous. It can put both us and the liar in a very uncomfortable situation. The liar is like a suspect under confrontation. This is harsh to feel and we are sorry for them as they are not intended to harm us.

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Why not keep it secret? Just move on as if we never knew about it. Learning someone’s broken family background? Focus back on the present days and the happy future we will be having with them. If it does not affect us, sometimes it is better not to expose it.

  • Expose the lie but make everyone feel good

Imagine when a friend refused to chill out with us, saying that he/she had to work overtime. Yet, we later found that he/she was at a bar enjoying a beer with another group of friends. In this case, we can try revealing the lie while making the liar feel good.

This can be done by making up a reason for their lies. The liar will then be aware of the fact that we know about the lie but we are trying to smooth everything. More importantly, this may actually promote friendship, knowing we try to avoid the embarrassing confrontation and they are likely not to lie again.

  • Expose the lie but show understanding

The last way is to show understanding to the liar. Tell them how we find it reasonable to tell lies and accept it. Sometimes, lies are told just for self-protection and they want our acceptance and affection rather than a favor or two. In such sense, we should express our understanding and forgive them.

Those who tell harmful lies:

Justice has to be served. Expose it and don’t be afraid of direct confrontation. Bear in mind that they are taking advantage of us and this has to be stopped. In addition to revealing their lies, we should distance ourselves with the liars and be more cautious next time.

More by this author

Jeffrey Lau

Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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