How To Stop Lying: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part Three

In our first article in the series, we learned how we ever so subtly try to maneuver the truth (or simply tell a bold-faced lie).

The second article provided the reasons why we are motivated to stop short of the full truth.

In our final article in the series, we’ll learn how to stop lying and how to start being truth tellers. I’ve included the summary reason why we are tempted to lie along with realizations that help us not succumb.

How To Avoid Breaking Trust: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part Two

In our previous article, we looked at how we lie. Sometimes is not outright or bold-faced, but a subtle maneuvering of the truth, which is still a lie. Today, we shift to the root reasons of WHY we lie.

Why We Lie: The Main Reason

The main reason we lie comes down to a single word: FEAR!

We are afraid that the truth will damage us, our cause, or our case in some unfavorable way, so we exchange the truth for a lie.  Fear is one of the greatest motivators of all time. (Note, I am not saying it is a positive motivator, simply a powerful motivator). Fear drives us to do irrational things.

One author states, “In short, fear is a motivating force arising from the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it.”

Lying is typically a flight mechanism attached to fear. We don’t like what is presenting itself, and so we attempt to manipulate the truth for our own protection or gain. 

How To Avoid Breaking Trust: The Subtle Dangers of Lying Part One

The story is told of a country store owner who was in the back of his store. He saw his young clerk at the front talking to a customer. He was horrified as he heard the young man tell the woman, “No, ma’am we don’t have any of that and looks like we won’t for quite a while.”

The store owner ran to the front frantically and blurted out, “Yes, we have it on order, and it’ll be here next week. Don’t you worry about it.”

As soon as the woman left, the owner reprimanded the clerk. “Don’t you EVER tell a customer that again. You have to cover up the fact that we are out of it with the statement that it’s on its way, even if you know it’s not on order.”

“Yes sir,” dutifully responded the young clerk.

“By the way, what was she wanting?” asked the store owner.

“Rain,” responded the clerk.

Telling a small or large lie has become second nature to many of us. We are even encouraged by our superiors or co-workers to stretch the truth. While lying may serve to offer a short-term relief, it ultimately breaks long-term trust, something that is much more problematic than a short-term problem fix. As one of the Seven Influence Traits™, lowering our trustability lowers our integrity AND our ability to influence.

We don’t often see that we are lying because we simply maneuver the truth, obscuring areas we don’t want uncovered.

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