liar liar pans on fire Recent events have led me to wonder why liars lie and why some people cannot see through those lies. So, I did a little digging.


AccOrding to Pamela Meyer, we are lied to from 10 to 200 times a day. And while lying can be harmful when it damages trust, hurts others, or leads to a breakdown in cooperation of individuals and groups, sometimes it may be the best course of action. We may tell a white lie to spare the feelings of another individual. “I love the Christmas sweater you gave me,” or “That dress does not make you look fat.”


Learning to recognize the 10 Types of Lies and Deception can help you analyze what you hear.

 Error. They believe they are telling the truth or providing information they believe to be correct.

 Omission. The individual tells the truth but fails to put it in context. “John shoved me.” However, the person neglects to explain the context. He left out that he yelled profanities and blocked John’s exit.

 Denial. Denial occurs when someone proclaims they don’t know the truth. This is often done to protect themselves or others from hurt or to stay out of a situation they don’t want to be involved in.

 Falsification. Falsifying information to get more attention or sympathy, or to purposefully hurt another person. An example is spreading false rumors.

 Misinterpretation. Misinterpretation is when someone misinterprets something that occurred and shares this information with others. They believe it’s the truth but may not have all the pertinent information.

 Bold-Faced Lie. Everyone knows the person is lying. A child says he/she did not eat the candy, but it is smeared all over his/her face.

 White Lie. A white lie is harmless and usually done to protect someone’s feelings.

 Exaggeration. When someone exaggerates, it’s usually based on some truth. “My fish weighed 25 pounds.” This is frequently done to get attention or sympathy from others.

 Pathological Lying. Pathological lying happens when people constantly tell lies for no apparent reason. Those who are known to be pathological liars can often not be trusted.

 Minimization. After an event or action, we may lie about the severity of, say a car wreck, so we do not scare the person we are telling.



 Psychologist Paul Ekman says that individuals lie for the following reasons:

 To avoid being punished.This is the most frequent reason for falsehoods.

 To obtain a reward not otherwise readily obtainable.You may, for instance, falsify your resume to get a job. This is the second most common motive.

 To protect another person from being punished.

 To protect oneself from the threat of physical harm.A child who is home alone may say their father is asleep and to come back later.

 To win the admiration of others.Telling lies to increase your popularity can range from “little white lies” to enhancing a story being told to creating an entirely new (fabricated) persona.

 To get out of an awkward social situation. Examples include saying someone is at the door to get off the telephone.

 To avoid embarrassment.The child, for instance, says his clothes are wet because of spilled water rather than wetting his pants.

 To maintain privacy without notifying others of that intention.For example, a couple may justify eloping by saying that weddings are too expensive when the issue was they did not want to invite their families.

 To exercise power over others by controlling the information the target has.Adolph Hitler was a master of this technique, which is potentially the most dangerous motive for telling lies.



 Some people, even when presented with clear evidence of a lie, continue to believe the liar. We want to believe in a person who is emotionally or psychologically important to us. If we do not, we must endure the pain brought about when confronting the truth.

 According to literature published by the Mayo Clinic, “Refusing to acknowledge that something is wrong is a way of coping with emotional conflict, stress, painful thoughts, threatening information and anxiety.”

 This tactic is a way to convince ourselves that everything is okay, even when it is not. The reassurance can give a frightened psyche time and space to work on practical solutions.

 However, continued denial also has negative consequences: If we don’t recognize a problem, we cannot solve it. 


 The liars are—and will always be—with us. As individuals, it is our responsibility to discern the lies and the harm they are causing and deal with liars appropriately.


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