All People lie. Lying is a part of the human condition. People who say they don’t lie are lying. We lie an average of 10 times a week. In fact, when we meet and have conversations with total strangers, we lie to them about 3 times on average. We lie without being conscious we’re lying.
Lies can be roughly broken down to three categories:
- Lies to get what we want.
- Lies to avoid punishment.
- Lies to maintain social and communal relationships. Also known as “Fake-Positives” (“I love my present!”).
Category three is the most socially acceptable form of lying, considered by most as “white lies”. These lies tend to grease the gears of society, and actually hold some level of importance.
“To keep society running smoothly, we need to tell white lies. If your partner comes home with their latest piece of artwork and says, ‘What do you think of this?’, it shows they want support. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to say it’s nice”, said Dr. Paul Seager, a senior psychology lecturer who specializes in deceptive psychology.
Given all this useful information about lying, Direct TV polled 2,000 people to find out which lies they told most often, which lies they’ve heard the most, and which ones they considered the most serious. Lies were ranked from 1 (least severe) to 5 (most severe).
Interestingly, the top 4 lies considered the most severe all had to do with sex. This is probably due to an implicit trust that’s inherited by being intimate with a partner.
Lie #4) You’re the first person I’ve ever done this with.
With a severity score of 3.23, this lie was the least most severe lie of the group. A rather hefty 74% of participants considered this as a “real” lie as opposed to a “white lie”. Women tend to use this lie due to societal pressures, while men use it as a method to gain entree to greater intimacy.
Lie #3) I’ve slept with (insert artificially low) number of people.
The score of this lie comes in at 3.46 with 79% of respondents reporting it as a real lie. Again, social expectations are more or less to blame. As a whole, women tend to halve the number of partners they had sex with in certain situations. Men tend to over represent the amount of people they slept with, but not by much, surprisingly
Lie #2) I’m not just looking for sex.
People seem to be really put-off by this particular lie. This lie scored 3.56 on the severity scale. Eighty percent of those polled felt that this was a real lie. Though there aren’t any gender breakdowns of where the lies originated, I’m guessing this more of a male related lie.
Lie #1) I’m on birth control.
This is a big one, no doubt. The life-altering consequences of this lie make it the top performer of the group. A score of 5 counts as the most severe lie that can possibly be told; this one garners a result of 4.52. In all, 92% of those questioned think this is a really bad lie. Yes, wearing a condom may mitigate the lie a little bit, but condoms can fail too.
Most innocuous lie.
The lie rated as least severe in the entire survey was – “your baby is cute”. Just so you know.
For more information on the fascinating reasons on why we lie, please check out the video below.