March 9th, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


According an expert on lying (not that she is an ace liar, but that she studies the phenomenon of mendacity), Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, the average person lies three times in the first minute after meeting a stranger. And the same average person lies between 10 and 200 times every day! (These are the times I wish wasn’t so average.)

Another way of looking at it is that not only are you, Mr./Ms. Average Person, lying 10–200 times a day, you are also being lied to at least as often.

10–200 times a day? Wow! Even if they are mostly “white” lies? Wow!

We lie more to strangers than we do to colleagues. Extroverts do it more than do introverts. The more intelligent the person, the more he/she will lie. Men lie more to protect themselves. Women lie more to protect others. An average married person lies to the spouse in one out of ten interpersonal interactions.

(Another reason to be single—you’ll lie less!)

Lying! “It’s woven into the fabric of our daily and our business lives,” says Ms. Meyer. “We’re against lying, but we’re covertly for it in ways that our society has sanctioned for centuries and centuries and centuries. It’s as old as breathing. It’s part of our culture, it’s part of our history.”

Even babies. Those fake cries. Concealments. Bluffs. Deception. And once you get into college, you’ll even lie to your mother once in every five of your interactions with her!

“By the time we enter this work world and we’re breadwinners, we enter a world that is just cluttered with spam, fake digital friends, partisan media, ingenious identity thieves, world-class Ponzi schemers, a deception epidemic—in short, what one author calls a post-truth society.”

A “post-truth” society? Wow!

And it takes its toll. Prof. Anita Kelly at the University of Notre Dame, looked at the health of a hundred adults, half of whom were told to stop lying throughout the study period of 10 weeks. The health of this half actually improved! And when more lies were told, health status declined. Even three fewer minor lies a week translated into four fewer mental health complaints and three fewer physical complaints.

Kelly thinks it is because truth-telling improves one’s relationships, which in turn improves health. But quackery, imposture, guile, and hypocrisy also trigger the release of stress hormones, cranks up the pulse rate and blood pressure, diminishes the efficiency of the immune system, and causes a myriad problems, from insomnia to infertility.

Lying takes a lot out of you. Linda Stroh, of Loyola University, and author of Trust Rules: How to Tell the Good Guys From the Bad Guys, warns: “You would spend a lot of time planning the lie, executing it, and maintaining it.” And then, of course, you’ll need to remember the lie you perpetrated for the rest of your life so that you can never be caught. That’s a lot of pressure. In fact, lie-detectors, polygraph machines, rather than detecting a lie, actually catch the physiological responses to lying, as it monitors your pulse, blood pressure, respiration, skin conductivity, etc.

Jesus was blunt: he declared that lies were of Satan.

Whenever he [the devil] speaks a lie,
he speaks from his own nature,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44

And God is Truth.

… it is impossible for God to lie.
Hebrews 6:18

So the mandate of a child of God is clear:

Do not lie to one another,
since you laid aside the old self
with its evil practices.
Colossians 3:9

Away with mendacity!


  1. Eric March 10, 2013 at 6:52 am

    “(Another reason to be single—you’ll lie less!)” …now is that really true? 😉

    I am especially thankful for this post. Here is why. Since I started working for a consulting firm, the pressure and temptation to bluff have greatly increased. My colleagues seem to do it a lot more than in a regular software team. This post reminds me of Jesus’ command to “simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No'”. No spinning. No bluffing. My personal experience matches the experimental results stated here; all things considered, it is so much easier to stick with being honest. And that brings to mind more words from Jesus, “…learn from me, …for my yoke is easy, my burden is light.” …He is the truth!

    Thanks Abe, for another interesting and encouraging read. May God bless you for writing it and bless others for reading it!

    • Abe Kuruvilla March 10, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Unfortunate, isn’t it, that we have become a “post-truth” society?

      Instead, we Christians are called to be “truthing in love” (i.e., “speaking/doing truth in love,” Ephesians 4:15).

      Thanks for your comment, Eric.



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