I don’t know how widely spread out this fable is, but it is well known in more western cultures like the UK and USA. The moral of the story, as you probably know, is to never tell lies because eventually no one will believe you. And yet, despite this story being present in a large percentage of childhoods, we all know people who consistently refuse to tell us the truth.
If you can’t think of someone, then it must be you… Or maybe I’m lying?
So why do people try and hide the truth from others? The classic example is that we were ashamed and are using it as a form of protection and self preservation. For example “I didn’t steal the last of the milk!”, “My stupid driving teacher didn’t tell me that!” etc. We don’t want to be judged, so we try and protect ourselves. This is seen most commonly in situations when you are with people you have only just met, where you are still conscious of their impression of you.
Another obvious reason for lying is that you are trying to avoid the consequences of something. This is where most of your arguments with your mother and other half come into play, as well as teachers and bosses.
However, why would people lie to their friends? One reason could be that you don’t believe you deserve to have those friends. The typical Mean-Girls syndrome. You feel you have to change who you are so they’ll like you…
That has never gone wrong. Ever. Seriously, just watch Mean Girls… Oh wait.
The other reason is that you simply don’t trust your friends. I’m sure there are those of you out there frowning at that last sentence. It’s not that, it’s because you just don’t feel you have to let every one around know every little thing right? Or rather, it’s up to you what you divulge, and if your friends can’t handle that then you don’t need them in your life.
No. It’s because you don’t trust them. You don’t trust them to accept you for all your flaws and irrational emotions therefore you don’t expose them to all of you, only the bits you like.
You’re like that 44 year old on a dating site. We all know what I mean.
I’m not saying that you should trust them, as I do not know your friends. And obviously there will be some secrets that can end friendships, like being racist or a murderer or something. But the point of this post is not to tell you what to do in these situations, but simply to highlight the fundamental cause of most lies. The relationship between the trust you feel and the lies you tell.
By putting it into these terms, it should be easier to try and figure out why you are lying to whomever and whether you are willing to risk the consequences.
After all, no one ever trusts the boy who cries wolf.