The Lying


Lying denies reality.

Even worse, what you desire may be destroyed by lying.

For instance, a salesperson that needs to make quotas for their commission each month becomes desperate.  He promises delivery times that cannot be met.  Over time, his credibility is destroyed and he not only misses his quota and commission, he loses his job, he loses job references, and he loses repeat business.

Or the person on a dating website that declares themselves to be richer or taller or younger than they really are.  When they finally meet someone of interest face-to-face, the lie comes out (sooner or later).  Wasn’t the goal to meet someone to build a relationship?  What kind of relationship lasts on a foundation of lies?

Many people lie to themselves.  They create mental filters that create a false view of the world.  From that point forward, they make decisions based on beliefs that may be fundamentally flawed and even self-destructive.  They may personalize blame, based on inaccurate beliefs that either all problems are their fault… or that no problems are their fault.

There are several versions of an old joke about a man that says, “Do you know how I can tell you are lying?  Your lips are moving.” 

Talk about a total loss of credibility.  The problem with people that create lies is just that: total loss of credibility.  Survival becomes a chase to find a new target for the lies.  Often the lies become refined with each telling.  However, sooner or later the lies usually come out and the better the liar has been, the greater the fall.

Other people will tell a lie because they are insecure.  They are uncomfortable with the answer they believe or because they have no answer.  However, they feel they must have an answer.  What do you do if you must have an answer and don’t have it?  You either lie or admit your situation.  The latter can seem impossible for those that are insecure.  What will people think?  Will they think I’m stupid?  Will they think I don’t belong?

Sometimes the insecure will even create a lie even when no answer was needed.  They felt uncomfortable, so they create an answer and blurt it out.  I’ve seen this in job interviews where unsolicited information was volunteered… and clearly wrong.

I find that most people that I’ve caught lying were, in my opinion, very insecure.  Their self-esteem was low and they were trying to either impress someone or con them out of something (instead of working for it).

Effective communication and effective relationships both REQUIRE trust.  Period.  Destroying that trust may provide a short-term benefit but rarely a long-term payoff.

If you are uncomfortable, it is okay to say so.  I believe one of the best answers can be an honest, “I don’t know.”  Even better is, “I don’t know but I will find out and let you know,” with a genuine follow-up.  No one knows all the answers, so being honest when you don’t know can often gain you respect and trust (as long as “I don’t know” is not always the answer).

If your tactful and respectful candor is unappreciated, then it is a reflection of the other person, not of you.  That is important to remember.


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.