Most people have lied, been lied to or both, but at what age do we learn what a lie is and how to lie? Are there any advantages to learning this trait?
Well, think about this, your little one comes to you and tells you a joke that they think is the best thing ever, but of course you’re sitting there thinking that the joke is not funny at all. Do we lie and tell them we thought their joke was funny or do we tell them the truth? What about if you have been sitting on the computer all day shopping online, spending money that you can’t really afford to on clothes and things that you don’t really need, do you tell your partner what you have been doing when they ask or do you lie to them? In today’s society it can sometimes be very hard to decipher what is real and what is fake. When it comes to social media and the internet it can be especially hard as there is a lot of doctored images and fake news.
Lying is thought to have been developed shortly after humans gained language skills but what role does it play in our individual development and our evolution as a species? Does it always create hurt for both the liar and the person being lied to or is there actually any cognitive, emotional, or social benefits? It is not hard to think or reasons as to why people lie, as there is quite a few.
Some of these reasons can include to maintain a relationship. This could be to avoid telling a difficult truth or to attempt to avoid relationship consequences due to our actions. We may lie to gain power, or to cling to it. People lie to gain something such as money – for example scammers. Also, someone may lie to cover up bad behaviour, e.g., cheating spouses or drug-taking athletes. Other reasons could be to gain fame or to enhance their image.
Some reasons for lying that are not necessarily hurtful can include: telling someone that may have gained a couple of kilos and are feeling very low about it, that they look great, or telling your children that Santa is watching them so they had better start behaving, or telling someone you’re only going to be 5 minutes when in reality you will actually be a little longer.
So, when it comes to lying yes there are lies that can be hurtful and damaging to everyone involved when the truth does come to light, but there are also some lies that we may tell that serve a purpose in picking up someone who has been having a bad day. The questions that you need to as yourself is how far do you intend to go with lying? The line needs to be drawn if you are going to say something that will unwilling hurt someone you love.
(photo thanks Sarah Pflug Burst)