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Why Do People Lie and How to Deal with Liars

Why Do People Lie and How to Deal with Liars

“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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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