Encouraging isn’t it? But is it true? Does EVERYBODY lie?
Or is it one of those things in life were nobody even cares? It has become so common place it no longer registers on our radar screen. It has become ingrained in who we are.
Maybe it is something in between the two. We sort of pick and choose when we lie. We all know the famous, “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” dilemma. Or the, “What do you think of my new haircut?” We have all experienced the outspoken co-worker who is either out in left or right field ranting for ten solid minutes about the latest government folly, who then asks, “So what do you think?”
Perhaps we get cagey about our definition of a lie. Mark Twain said, “There are white lies, lies, and statistics.” Do we think there are white lies that smooth life’s paths, lies that we know are lies, but we say them anyway for a variety of reasons, and whoppers, which we all know to be wrong, but have probably said anyway, also for a variety of reasons.
Today, I read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal (Saturday/Sunday, April 14, 15, 2012) on page C4, just south of the Guns & Roses article (weird huh?). It was entitled, Psychology: The Business of Lying and this was the opening paragraph:
Have you ever been tempted to lie to a company? Consumers who fib are more satisfied than truth-tellers when a dispute with a firm works out to their advantage–more unhappy when it doesn’t.
This is the rest of the article:
A study involving nearly 600 people put many of them in situations where they were prompted to lie to a “service provider,” in order to gain a prize, or invited to do so. They leapt at the chance. In one scenario, students had the option of lying about computer habits to someone on the phone, in order to receive a USB flash-drive key ring; three-fourths chose to do so.
In these lab scenarios, confirmed by interviews about real-world behavior, liars showed more polarized reactions than people who pleaded their case without embellishment.
Lying demands substantial cognitive effort, the researchers explained, and that makes it harder for liars to notice cues about how a negotiation is going. So the resolution comes as more of a (pleasant or unpleasant) surprise.
“The Labor of Lies: How Lying for Material Rewards Polarizes Consumers Outcome Satisfaction,” Christina I. Anthony and Elizabeth Cowley, Journal of Consumer Research (forthcoming)
So the bottom line is (according to this article) it requires more effort to tell a lie than the truth. And while, we are telling the lie, it requires more concentration on the telling, so we miss little clues that would normally alert us to the outcome. In short, we tend to get blindsided.
When tackling this type of subject it is easy to get wrapped up in all the various aspects and I don’t have the inclination nor the space for all that. I want to conclude by encouraging all of us (myself at the top of the list) to consider telling the truth more. It gets messy, I know. But in the long run, isn’t it better?