Of course men lie.
But here’s a news flash…
You do, too!
Before you jump all over me, let me ask you a question:
Are you a nice person?
If you said yes, then you are basically guaranteed to say things that aren’t true.
Lying for Good Reason
Every day, we say things that aren’t true without realizing it.
If someone says, “Hey, do you have time to do this?” we say yes, even if we don’t have the time to do it.
If a friend is talking to us about their dream to open a business and asks us, “Do you think it’s a good idea?” we say, “Of course!” even if we think it will be a complete failure.
This is called prosocial lying, and it is essential to social harmony.
You know what you’re supposed to say if a friend asks you, “Do you think he loves me?” or, “Do you like my new haircut?”
You have to answer in a way that supports your friend, regardless of your true feelings on the matter.
Our social rules compel us to lie.
Now, maybe we don’t say outright falsehoods. We get creative with the truth, or we lie by omission. But we do that in order to make people feel good.
We are even taught to lie as kids.
Our parents tell us to hush if we’re inappropriately honest. They tell us to say sorry even if we’re not. They tell us to say we loved a gift even if we didn’t want it and don’t like it. What does that teach us?
It teaches us that there’s a time and a place to lie.
So the first thing I want you to know is stop expecting people to tell the truth all the time.
They’re not going to, and in many cases you don’t want them to!
The world would be a pretty harsh place if we all blurted out our honest opinions without a care for other people’s feelings.
Lying for the Wrong Reason
But there’s another kind of lying:
This is lying to serve your own ends.
This is what we think of when we hear that word lying. We think of someone deliberately telling us an untruth in order to take advantage of us.
And chances are, when you think about men lying, this is what you’re thinking about.
So let’s look at why men lie and what you can do about it.
Why Men Lie
Men lie for the same reasons most of us lie.
They lie to avoid disappointing someone. This is when a guy says, “I love you, too,” even though he doesn’t mean it.
They lie to make life easier, like pulling a sickie or lying to save money on a deal.
They lie because they accidentally let slip something that wasn’t entirely true, and now they have to stick to that lie because everyone believes it.
There are two curious cases where men lie because they actually believe that their lie is the truth, or they believe that they can influence the truth.
Have you ever heard a man say something happened when it didn’t really happen?
Several things could be happening here.
He could actually believe that what he said was true.
Our minds do funny things. Memories aren’t reliable.
Just as any police officer trying to get a consistent story from witnesses at a crime scene!
We can swear up and down that the suspect was wearing, say, yellow shoes. We can see those yellow shoes in our minds’ eye. And yet that can be a completely fabricated detail. Maybe we saw those yellow shoes on someone else, and our minds mixed up the memories.
Another thing about our minds is that they’re meaning-making machines. They will make up stories about other people and confuse those with facts.
Someone sees another person hurrying into the office with red eyes and a sad expression. They turn to the person next to them and say, “Looks like Jane had a fight with her boyfriend.” Now it’s all over the office that Jane fought with her boyfriend, when all she did was walk into the office looking sad.
That’s how gossip works.
Gossip takes some small observation and hangs this big story over it.
Gossips will swear up and down that what they’re saying is true—after all, Jane did walk into the office with red eyes. Gossip is hard to fight, because a good story goes viral a lot faster than the bare facts.
If you’ve ever broken up with a guy and heard his version of events come back to you through the grapevine, you’ve experienced this for yourself.
He’s taken one or two things you did and built this entire story around it. Everyone believes him, because he has evidence: you did do those one or two things. What’s not true is the interpretation he spun around it.
It’s hard to fight this kind of lie, because people will believe what they want to believe.
Lying to Ourselves
Now, another reason that a guy says something happened when it didn’t is because he wants it to be true.
We are masters at self-deception. We believe what we want to believe about ourselves. We ignore all evidence to the contrary.
And self-deception often works.
If a guy describes himself the same way to everyone he meets, and he tells the same stories about himself over and over again, they will take what he says as fact. They won’t question him. What reason would he have to lie?
This is why it’s so hard to out a liar. Everyone believes him.
We tend to believe that people are telling the truth unless there’s overwhelming evidence suggesting otherwise.
Lying for Effect
There’s a final reason that men say something that isn’t true, and all of you who know and love men will have to laugh when I reveal it…
Men love bullshitting.
Know what I’m talking about? 😉
When men are talking among themselves, they boast, they lie, they tell tall tales. It’s just part of male communication. They’re trying to one-up each other. They swap ever more outrageous stories, and it’s all in good fun.
Sometimes men believe their own bullshit. You’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt.
So now you know some of the reasons men lie. What does this all mean for you?
4 Ways to Deal with His Lies
The first thing I suggest is changing your mindset.
Instead of assuming that everyone you meet is telling the truth 100% of the time—and anyone who doesn’t is a liar—assume that most people don’t tell the truth from time to time, and that they’re usually do so for good reason. They’re trying to preserve social harmony.
Second, assume that anyone you meet is going to bullshit you to a certain extent.
We all try to present ourselves as the perfect person when we meet someone for the first time. We hide our flaws and exaggerate our accomplishments. That bullshitting is just part of the game.
Don’t assume you know who someone really is until you’ve been seeing each other for a while.
You’ll know you’re finally getting to the truth when he starts to disappoint you and you start to see his bad side. This is called the reality check phase of a relationship, and it’s where your relationship will (hopefully) turn from an infatuations into something real.
Third, never believe his words. Always believe his actions.
Human beings evolved to deceive each other. We use words to make things happen. Language was never intended as an accurate description of reality.
So your job is to assign a lot less weight to his words. Words are just words. Focus the bulk of your attention on his actions. How we act is who we are.
Finally, if a man isn’t telling the truth to you, ask a second question. Ask why.
Is he not telling you the truth because he doesn’t want to hurt you, or he doesn’t trust you yet, or he doesn’t feel he can?
Or is he not telling you the truth because it suits him? Is he doing it to further his own interests?
Self-serving lies aren’t acceptable, but sometimes men lie because they don’t feel they have any choice. Always find out why. Dig deeper. He may not be telling you the truth because he cares too much.
We live in a world where deception is part of everyday life.
Today alone, you’ve probably been lied to 10 to 200 times.
What I hope you see is that some of those lies can and should be welcomed. We don’t want to hear that our dream isn’t possible, we look fat in that dress, and our career is going nowhere.
But some lies aren’t okay, and those are the lies that people tell to serve their own ends. People are remarkably good storytellers. They’ll believe the story they made up over the weight of contradictory facts.
That’s why you want to pay attention to what people do, not what they say.
Actions don’t lie.