The average rate of lying is three lies for every ten minute of conversation.
Seems incorrect, right? Wrong.
There are two types of categories of lying: there is the intentional dishonesty, and then there are benevolent lies, which is a lit that is deemed unmalicious and intentionally helpful. The separation of these lies are the ethics that are associated with them. Because either way you spin it, it’s still dishonesty.
Research has determined that two out of three lies are told for selfish reasons of the liar, rather than benevolent reasons of the recipient. Why so much lying? Because most intentional communication behavior is designated towards achieving a goal.
Five major reasons are associated with why people slip lies:
• Saving Face: to prevent the liar from embarrassment, or to cover up mistakes. Examples of these include pretending that you have not forgotten someone’s name, and telling someone they don’t look terrible that day when really they look like a mess.
• Avoid Tension or Conflict: telling someone that something is fine instead of telling them that it is not in order to not result in an argument.
• To Guide Social Interaction: Sometimes we lie to make our daily relationships run smoothly, like pretending to be happy to see someone you dislike or faking interest in a boring story to not be impolite.
• To Expand or Reduce Relationships: This tactic is used to help us befriend others that are different from us. A study has shown that majority of college students do this in order to improve chances of getting a date with an attractive person.
• To Gain Power: People who tell lies do this to receive the upper hand in a situation, such as turning down invitations in fear of looking too available. These types of lies can also be used to gain confidential information.
Although lying may be easy, the effects of lying, depending on the relationship, can be irreversible. In some situations where lying is used to the advantage of the recipient, such as attempting to guide social interaction or avoiding tension, it is deemed “acceptable” to lie because the liar is attempting to be benevolent and make things appear better than they are. Usually when these lies are told, no hurtful and damaged reactions and effects come from it. In other situations, this is not necessarily the case. When lying is told for more selfish reasons, such as to gain power, argumentation and confrontation may occur, because with closer relationships our expectations are higher for honesty. Discovering when one tells a lie creates a lack of trust in the future of relationships, and it’s harder to build to regain that trust, especially when it makes the recipient doubt messages given before as truth.
Lying threathens relationships, and although it’s possible to adapt to 100% honesty throughout all of our actions, honesty is truthfully the best policy when it comes to respect and importance from others.
The Disney Lesson
Pinocchio is probably the most obvious examples of lying in Disney films. Pinochhio was a puppet that was promised to be a real boy by the Blue Fairy if he proved himself to be brave, truthful, and unselfish. Naïve in his ways, Pinoochio was easily persuaded by others and continually disobeyed what his father Geppetto and Blue Fairy told him, leading him to lie to save face and not seem at fault. Every time he lied, his nose grew longer, demonstrating by his “curse” that a lie would keep growing until it was as plain as the nose on your face. Pinnochio demonstrates to us that lies are not simple—usually they result in a lie being built upon another lie and another lie to cover up the lie before. They get confusing. Lying also had consequences tied to them. It may not necessarily mean our nose will grow in size for every lie we tell, but instead we turn selfish and dishonest, and we are not trusted by others. Instead of being rewarded, in turn we become reprimanded in different ways. It’s important for our character to remain truthful.
Meg from Hercules sold her soul to Hades, in turn making her an accomplice to all of his deeds. Hades goal was to bring Hercules down, because Hercules was what was standing in his way of ruling over the gods. His way of doing this was by having Meg seduce and lie to Hercules to get him attracted to her, thus causing him to have a weakness and distraction that would work in Hades’ favor. Meg plays the role in this plan, continually lying to Hercules to appear as if she liked him when in reality she was lying in order to create and expand a relationship to her advantage, or at least to Hades’. In addition, her lies were based on the idea of gaining power and control, because if she could get what she wanted from him, she could relay that information back to others. When it is revealed that she was lying to Hercules the whole time, he is devastated and refuses to believe her when she admits that her actions were genuine. When we lie to others, we lead them to doubt what we have told them previously, and it labels us to not be trustworthy. All other good intentions get dismissed, and instead only the bad trait on which the intentions were based on, lying, are focused on and taken into account.