From an early age, we’re encouraged to tell the truth. The problem with telling the truth is sometimes it can get us into trouble, or can make us feel inadequate.  Whereas a lie can be a shortcut to joy, safety and a timely ego stroke.

So why do we lie?

We lie to:

Escape being punished

Avoid embarrassment

Win admiration

Obtain something that’s not otherwise available

Protect another person

Defend ourselves from threats

Get out of a difficult situation

Maintain privacy

Exercise power over others

Defend our core beliefs

Not all lies are bad; we accept little white lies. Lies that are made in order to safeguard children or create a surprise.

Then there’s lies told purely to get elected to the highest office. Not so good.

But what if you think someone is lying, but it’s actually just opinion?  This could be seen as challenging someone’s beliefs and that’s dangerous.

A powerful mantra to have when you think someone could be telling a ‘belief lie’ is, ‘True for you but not for me’.

This can be used internally with self-talk and externally (at the right time) when dealing with a potential or real conflict.

My list of ‘why we lie’ is certainly not complete. Why else do we lie? I’d love to hear your ideas and your thoughts on today’s blog. Please leave a comment below.

Be Brilliant!


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  1. February 27th 2020 by Alan Rafferty

    Because it is expected of us either by our employer or our society. Like in most people’s response to ‘how are you?’

  2. February 27th 2020 by Heather MacMillan

    My sons have been estranged from me for almost 8 years because of a lie my oldest told. He said my husband (his step dad) grabbed him during a heated argument while I was at work. Because I didn’t automatically take his side they left & went to live with their Dad. Lots has happened since but we are no further forward. I know in my heart of hearts my husband didn’t touch him. It made a better story for his dad that way tho. It’s gone on so long he couldn’t possibly tell the truth. He believes it himself.

  3. February 27th 2020 by Sir Peter Vardy


    If the leader lies he / she gives everyone permission to lie. Your team watch everything you do. Little white lies soon get darker. Best to “do the right thing” set the right example

  4. February 27th 2020 by Hamish

    You are quite right that we lie to cover up our own failings and get us out of “tight corners” Occasionally, we will lie to gain advantage over someone else (the ball was out. In reality it was clearly in.) Sometimes, we will let someone believe something to be true when it is not. This is an unsaid lie. It often causes huge confusion and is easily denied. ” I did not say that. You misunderstood me.” The psychopath will lie simply to inflict pain and suffering upon the unfortunate victim.

  5. February 27th 2020 by Adriana

    I agree that sometimes we lie in order not to be embarrassed, or even to cover up our fault, a mistake perhaps, but far beyond that is when we lie to appear interesting to someone, and when the lie is discovered it becomes beyond shameful it becomes frustrating .

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