When do you lie?

A colleague of mine was recently involved in a minor car accident. (Nobody was hurt, thank goodness.) She was aghast to discover today that the other driver lied in her report to campus safety. Not a little white lie, or a distortion of the truth, but a flat out, big, fat lie. It was a premeditated one, too, damn it. My friend is, naturally, infuriated. My first reaction was, my god, the guilt! If I told a lie that big, on an official accident report, no less, I’d develop an ulcer, I’m certain. Maybe that woman isn’t wired that way; perhaps when she thinks about her lie she’ll just feel a bit of a twinge–or maybe she thinks she’ll get away with it (fat chance, babe!) and she thinks she’ll be able to look back on it in triumph.

I’m too damn honest to live down something like that, even if I got away with it.

Which is not to say that I never lie. It usually doesn’t even occur to me to lie–I just try to come up with the most attractive way to put the truth. If I’m asked a question and I know that my response is going to hurt the other person’s feelings, I try to sidestep and change the subject rather than lying outright. However, I’ll tell a little white lie to squirm out of an invitation, sometimes. And sometimes, for no reason that I can really fathom, I will exaggerate a story, or invent details, to make it more interesting. I know at the time that I do it that I’m being stupid, and I’m going to feel bad about it afterwards, but I can’t stop myself.

How often do you lie? Do you feel guilty afterward? What stops you from lying: knowing you’ll feel guilty, or just being a basically honest person?

Just curious.

I only feel guilty if lying to people I like/respect (I can’t remember the last time I did)

I have no problem lying to people I don’t respect at all.

When my boss asks why I like working nights I say “It means I get to spend my evenings before work with my family” which is esentially true, but it’s not the main reason, the real answer would be
“I can’t stand you so I work nights to avoid you”

Well… put it this way. I’ll rather ‘save up’ my credability for serious misunderstandings rather than white lies about who ate the last chocolate biscuit.

I try not to lie because you usually end up getting caught, but sometimes there are no other choices. If it’s to draw attention away to save, what you perceive to be at the time, a greater cause other than yourself - then so be it.

It’s justified lying for what I think is a ‘greater good’ but sometimes the truth would just be cruel.

I’m lying right now.

Anyone read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars? There’s a scene in which the scientists take shelter in a heavily shielded part of the ship when they encounter a radiation burst while on the way to Mars. While waiting for the danger to pass, they discuss how they were chosen to be a part of the mission. Several, it seems, lied in order to get a spot. One scientist (sorry, it’s been a while so I don’t remember the name) was claustrophobic. NOT a good thing when you’re on a cramped spaceship for six months. She was so determined to be a part of the mission, she forced herself to live in the tight spaces despite the horror she was going through.

Several other scientists shared similiar stories. They put their own wants and desires ahead of the mission knowing quite well that any of them could endanger everyone else.

When people ask me about my sexual history. I’m not exactly proud of it, and I feel absolutely wretched afterwards. They are generally harmless because I’ve never ever used someone’s actual name but they do give people a false impression of me (which is what I feel bad about)

I don’t lie anymore. I used to lie all the time. Hell, I would lie about something that there was no reason to lie about!

Lying fucks up my kharma so I don’t do it.

when my lips are moving

Podkayne - my basic attitude is like yours.

However, a lot of times, many times in fact, if I am telling a story and worry that people might be able to figure out who the story is about, I will change enough details to throw them off the sent.

Even then, sometimes I’ll feel guilty about gossip.

Sometimes you can put people in their place with an anecdote about… child abuse or working an HR department or being a cop or whatever, but I don’t want the person who told me the story or the subject of the story to be revealed.

Lying on the campus safety report! I agree that’s shocking.

I have this weird superstition thing about lying. I’m convinced that whatever you lie about (big lies with intent) will come true. I’ve heard of people I know lying about things like “I can’t come into work today because my grandmother is sick” and my reaction is “ohmygawd, just KILL YOUR GRANDMOTHER while you’re at it!” Stupid I know, but it’s a gut feeling and at least it keeps me honest.

That said, I do lie when I feel it’s a little white lie to spare someone’s feelings. Just recently in another thread I mentioned that I have lied in the past about liking Mr. Del’s grandmother’s cooking. I only have to eat it once a year, so I feel okay about saying how much I enjoyed it. I do try to fudge and imply I enjoyed the whole experience of spending time with her over dinner, but if my back was to the wall, I’d still lie and say I liked the actual food.

I should add that when I was a little kid, I lied ALL THE TIME. I think I was so much in my own little kid fantasy world that I had a hard time distinguishing between what was true and what I wanted to be true. But I so remember quite suddenly getting the concept when I was a bit older, maybe 12 or so, it was practically an epiphany and I was shocked and horrified when I thought back on all the times I had manipulated the truth in the past. I think in some ways that’s why I would feel so guilty about lying now.

Oh wait, I just thought of another situation where I will sometimes lie (maybe guilt isn’t as big of a motivation as I thought it was!) – when I’m lying to save time, and then I go back and correct it later, for example telling someone I have to work late because I simply can’t go into a huge long story at that exact moment, but then later on, when I have time, explaining the thousand and one circumstances that were going on.

The biggest lie I told recently is that I told my parents I wasn’t in downtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11 (when I actually was). I don’t feel guilty about this at all.

Never. Never see a reason to, and I prefer not to.
Makes life too complicated, plus I like having a clear conscience. Cos yes, it’d be on my mind.
The only person I need to justify myself to, in the end, is myself.

I am the World’s Strongest Trillionaire & I have more insaneley Gogeous Girlfriends & awsome cars than I will ever know what to do with! I’m also rediculously famous & worshiped wherever I go! And, I can have sex like fourteen times a day and Never get Tired or Sore (Just like all my Insanely Gorgeous Girlfriends who don’t bother me about commitments, And know how to make good use of a Hibachi!) I also have the worlds fastest computer…with T3 internet access.

…Finger are Mega Crossed now!!! Please, please, please, please!!!..

I rarely tell a huge whopping lie - first of all, I’m not really good at it (I suck at playing poker, too). But I also believe in the end you have much more trouble maintaining the lie than you would have had if you had just told the truth.

However, it happens that I sometimes utter little lies. (Like: Why didn’t you come to my party? - I was sick cough) I’ve discovered, though, that those also have a tendency to come back and bite you on the ass when you least expect it. (Like: I went snowboarding the other day - I thought you were sick??)

It’s just become such a habit of not telling the truth sometimes that it just happens without thinking. But it’s really not worth the trouble.

When I was a kid, I lied all the time. Mostly to escape the wrath of my parents, who could be a bit…brutal. As a teenager, I moved on to never lying to my friends, but not caring about lying to anyone else. Now, as an adult, I only lie to my employer (ie: “I can’t come in today cuz I’m sick.”- When I really just don’t want to get up yet.), or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. (As in, “Actually, now is bad, because I have a ton of work to do.”- When, in actuality, I just don’t want to hang out.) Exaggerating the truth when telling a story about something I did/said/experienced in the past is something I sometimes do. But I don’t consider it lying, as long as it enhances the listeners enjoyment of the story and I’m not outright making things up.:wink:

I lie because I can!

Actually, I feel so dirty when I lie. It’s not worth it to me.

When do you lie?

I lie only while on my back, really I do.