Wednesday 19 May 2010

What a whopper

By a strange coincidence, another survey on lying. It reveals our most common lies, and when we think it's okay to tell them. Women, it seems, are better liars than men.

Some 84% of us think certain lies are acceptable - if you're trying to spare someone's feelings, or protect someone, or pretend you liked a present.

According to 55%, women are better liars, even though they claim to lie less often (but are they telling the truth?).

The most frequent lie by men is "I didn't have that much to drink" while women are more likely to say "Nothing's wrong, I'm fine." And there are the usual lies about being stuck in traffic, bums that don't look too big, dresses that were in the sale, and blinding headaches that suddenly come on at bedtime.

Probably my most frequent lie is "No, that's really interesting, tell me more" when I'm actually bored to death by some interminable ramble about the price of groceries or a pregnant celebrity or the mating habits of kangaroos. Somehow I never have the courage to say "For God's sake, shut up before I do you an injury."

Another culprit is "Oh no, I would have reacted the same way, that's quite understandable" when I'm really wondering how on earth someone could get so worked up over something so trivial. Or so predictable. Or so obviously bonkers. The words "Frankly you're a hysterical old bat" don't come easily to my lips.

And I think lying by omission still counts as lying, if you're creating a false impression. If someone says there's nothing wrong with having affairs, and I stay silent, they'll assume I agree even if in reality I think affairs are selfish and cruel.

No, I only lie if it's really necessary. And that's the honest truth.

PS: I've just discovered the woman in the pic may be prone to steatopygia


  1. Women may be better liars, but men lie more!

  2. Ramana - They say they lie more, but are they just bragging? And do women play down their lies because they feel more guilty about them?

  3. Do fibs count? Even teeny tiny ones?

  4. Grannymar - Sorry, if I said they didn't, I'd be lying.

  5. Yeh the only lies I make are definitely to protect the feelings of others. Except perhaps the ubiquitous response to the myriad of people who say "How are you?" then walk by before you can answer . . I jut say "fine' even if I'm not. So yeh, I'm probably well over my 4 lies a day limit!

  6. Baino - I thought you were going to say the myriad of workmates who ask you how the work's going and you say "Fine. Everything's totally under control."

  7. From the photo, may we assume that the biggest lies are in answer to the question 'does my bum look big in this?'

  8. Jenny - But that's a perfectly normal bum. Surely you're not suggesting it's a bit on the large side?

  9. That picture is pretty hilarious!

    There is a definite culture of lying that goes on in my family - your father doesn't know this so don't say anything - don't tell your aunt about that because I told her this is what happened - it gets pretty crazy at times, keeping track of it all.

    I still can't quite figure out why we do it. It never ends well. Ever.

  10. We all white lie Nick, surely?
    Re: the bum question, no one *NO ONE* wants to know the truth.
    Note to Jenny:
    That is a seriously large booty up there. And there's nothing wrong with it.

  11. Megan - Same in my family. There are things my mum doesn't want my sister to know and vice versa. And my mum is very economical with the truth at times.

    www - Funny how we call things white lies. It's a sort of euphemism, isn't it, meaning a lie that's always justified so it's okay. It's still a lie though.

    No no, that's bum's absolutely normal. What do you mean it's seriously large? Come outside and say that....

  12. If we all told the truth all the time then there would be more rows and spitty fights and no-one would have any friends.
    The other big lie is: 'Tell me the truth, I just want to know, I won't hold it against you'.
    Yeah, right...

  13. Scarlet - Absolutely, a few strategic lies do oil the social wheels. The other big lie indeed. Malice often hides behind innocent curiosity.

  14. Well, as I wizz my way to work, on the cusp of being on time / late every day, I do have several of the 'lots of traffic' / 'ran out of petrol' / 'there was an accident' type scenarios going on in my head! Never used any of them though, so does just thinking lies count?!!

  15. Suburbia - Oh no, they only count if they're expressed. My head is full of brilliant lies I could use in various difficult situations, but usually lack of nerve/ guilt/ disbelief stop me actually using them.

  16. Now that's funny - I will tell lies to spare someone's feelings but I don't ever insist that I'm interested in some boring monologue when I'm not. In fact, I think my eyes glaze over and I stare off into space!

  17. Secret Agent - Just shows how phoney I am sometimes. I must work on being conspicuously bored and not pretending otherwise.

  18. I'm still sticking to avoidance - not of the truth you understand - just not giving a valid comment!!!

    I'm not good with lies at all!

  19. Kate - No need for avoidance, we're all friends here, nothing scares us. Not even the mating habits of kangaroos.