People lie as a way to gain pleasure or avoid discomfort. Below are seven examples of little white lies and the reasons behind them.
1. To save face
You blame being “too busy” for being behind on a project rather than admitting you are unorganized.
2. To avoid taking responsibility
You tell the sales person to call back next week because you don’t want to take responsibility for saying “no.” When he does call back we tell him it’s “not in our budget,” or “the committee said no.”
3. To avoid confrontation
The fired employee is told “we are just moving in another direction” instead of telling him his work didn’t measure up.
4. To gain a benefit without paying the price.
You call in sick just to have another day off with pay.
5. For self-protection
You look in the mirror and say to yourself, “of course you don’t look fat in that outfit” and you say one more helping won’t hurt and I’ll start my diet tomorrow.
6. To influence others
You compliment someone so that they will like you or buy from you. Or, you agree with their point of view even though you secretly disagree.
7. To please others
You laugh at a disgusting joke even though you are offended. You justify your lie by the belief that if they knew you were offended they would have ammunition.
To live honestly in the purest sense of the word may be more of a journey than a destination, and the first step is awareness and introspection. One reason people lie is that they have not developed the delicate communication skills required to live honestly and still keep the relationship in tact. The way we apply honesty in our lives is a mirror to our character. Derived from the Greek, the word character has come to mean the constellation of strengths and weaknesses that form and reveal who we are. Honesty that is absent of the other character traits such as courtesy, kindness, integrity and self-discipline, can be toxic and truth telling must be delivered with kindness, integrity and with regard to the relationship.