Have you ever been in a situation where you know somebody is lying and they don't budge? Like you know, a glassware has been destroyed and there has been only two people in the house all day and you know fully well you didn't do it and still the other person is saying he didn't do it? It can be quite confusing right??
Interestingly, lying is now a common thing nowadays. Growing up, we were taught to be honest even at the cost of been punished, something you can easily avoid, we still were loyal, but these days honesty is a virtue. In those days, you weren't rewarded for honesty cause that was the expected default setting, but today honesty is a very rare commodity that's now priceless.
Lying is now so rampant, that we now live in a world where people earn money off of fact-checking what others are saying or claiming. I mean think about it for a few seconds; people now have businesses that solely specialise on fact-checking; that's how much lying has become, that it has created an entire semi-industry in itself.
People lie for a plethora of reasons, ranging from important ones to absolutely unnecessary ones. We have people who lie what they call 'white lie's and we also have some that are compulsive liars, who seem to lie without cause or purpose.
I have tried wondering why people lie and there are a numerous reasons that people have highlited over time.
1. Influencing Others: In the world we are today, information is everything. It is even said that information is power. The fact that what we do and our convictions about things are driven by what we know of and about them is a given, hence it's easy to predict what a person can do about a thing depending on Te information they have access to. This has created a situation where people deliberately misinform other people just so they can influence their actions and decisions to suit personal or selfish ambitions. A classical example of this is what the politicians do, trying to curry our favours and be in our good books through blackmailing opponents and staging elaborate propaganda campaigns to impress on our minds what they would have us believe.
This is also seen in the way governments and dictators try to control what their citizens see and know, so as to make them compliant according to the set standards. It makes for manipulation of other people and it's rampant today, even the television and social media and advertising industries are no less guilty.
2. Awkwardness and Embarrassment : Humans are a species that constantly seek the approval and acceptance of their fellows. This necessitate keeping to the norms and expectation of the social group they fall into as well as beholden societal norms such as politeness, courtesy etc.
As a result, when we find ourselves in situations that will make us look bad, we lie to get out of it, and when the truth will probably result in an awkward atmosphere, we can just tell a lie to save the situation (or so we believe ).
3. Punishment and Reward: sometimes, the sole reason we lie is to either unjustly receive a reward we are not qualified for or to avoid been punished for our wrong or misdeed. These are the two most important reasons people actually lie, with the avoidance of punishment for self of for others (friends, families, colleagues, playmate etc), been the number one.
4. Admiration: Due to our constant need for approval and acceptance as stated before, we cab easily tell a lie if it will make us look good and earn the admiration of people whom we admire or would like to impress, like say our boss or crush.
5. Maintaining Another Lie: One of the funniest things about telling lies is that for every lie told, more lies will be needed to maintain that lie, this effectively results in a dominoe effect where we keep telling new lies to back up and shore up the lies we've already told. Sooner or later, it all comes crumbling.
6. Privacy: This is also a very common reason why people lie. They do so to prevent anything that will result in an intrusion of their privacy.
These are the most common reasons people lie. I'm sure this list is nowhere near to being exhaustive. Interestingly, compulsive liars sometimes believe the lie that they tell to be the truth. Sometimes they don't even know they are lying. I know you're thinking how's that even possible, I ask myself too.
One thing I can actually deduce from all this, is that lying is a very intentional and intelligent act. Majority of liars are people whose mind are quick. Lying is a social construct premised on the human desire to believe he's been told the truth, hence rendering it impossible for him to catch a person who's lying. That's what people who lie capitalise on; the fact that you expect and believe they will tell the truth.
You can easily tell if a person is lying from their facial cues. A person who's lying will most likely have two set of facial cues, one that gives away the truth and is only visible for split to few seconds and the other that's meant to hide the truth; THE LIE.
There was this American TV series that I like before wherein the detective is so keen in reading faces and expressions particularly when the person is lying. He is far better than the lie detector lol!