“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Why do people lie” is one of those timeless questions everyone ponders at some point. While some people have psychological issues that influence lying behavior, such as pathological liars and narcissists, there are a lot of less extreme reasons people lie. Let’s explore the less obvious reasons someone might be tempted to lie:

1. They’re intimidated by you or scared of you. People might lie to someone who has a very dominant personality or angers easily to avoid triggering a negative reaction if the truth is something they would not take well.

2. They can tell from your demeanor that you want to hear something specific even if it’s not the truth. They’ll try to meet your needs by lying.

3. They sense you are in a depressed or vulnerable state and fear the truth could cause you additional distress.

4. They admire you and want to impress you. When we admire someone, we instinctively want them to admire us also in return. If they’re insecure, they might lie in an effort to impress you and win your admiration.

5. They know you value them and have high regard for them. They don’t want to disappoint you and risk losing your high regard if they do something or make a mistake they know could tarnish your view of them. They’ll lie for fear the truth would cause you to think less of them.

6. They recognize your high moral standards. Your actions demonstrate your integrity more than words so you might not realize they see this quality in you. Similar to the point above, they don’t want to disappoint you so they might hide the truth about a mistake or shortcoming to avoid allowing you to see them negatively.

You might have noticed that many of the reasons people lie in our list are connected to the other person’s perception of you. That does NOT mean that you are at fault for their dishonest behavior. With the exception of the small percentage of people who have bona fide psychological issues with lying, a great number of people lie to protect the other person or themselves. However, a lie of good intentions is still a lie and honesty is always the best policy.