We are all lying. These lies do not happen once a week or once in a couple of days, they happen each day many times. Even we start analyzing our behavior and cannot see these lies, they still happen on the subconscious level. A research shows that people lie each 10 minutes (Boser, 2009). What is striking, that most of these lies are not to harm anyone and are actually told to improve the situation or someone’s mood. The most well-known and wide-spread lie will be to the question: “How are you?”. People usually say: “Fine!” or “Not bad!” when, in fact, they feel far from fine and not bad; or which happens even oftener – we do not even care how the person feels, but we ask just out of politeness.
For many decades the application of deception has been studied by many researchers across the whole world. It appears that we make up stories for a great number of reasons. Listing just a few may include: Desire to gain certain reward or raise, for instance, to protect our lovers or friends from negative thoughts.
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Surprisingly, but many people also manage to lie to themselves. We do not recognize how much food we really eat when we experience weight problems, or how frequently we go to work out in the gym. Women’s lying about age does not even need to be explained.
Listening to the experts’ opinions, we can see that such small white lies have quite positive effects on our psychological state of mind. The recent research showed that those students who exaggerate their professional skills at job interviews, usually perform much better at work despite the grades they had at the universities. It can be called a ‘self-fulfilling fiction’ which motivates students to keep up their word. Most psychologists agree that higher self-esteem helps people to do better at performing many tasks even if their skills are far from professional, however, their self-deception helps them to do better (Boser, 2009).
Another argument to support the white lies concerns the fact that people who are not afraid to lie from time to time in the sake of maintaining better relationship and their self-esteem, are frequently much happier than those who say the direct truth when it can be avoided. The research shows that those people who are good at telling white lies are more amiable.
However, lying is still regarded as distasteful and immoral. According to the words of Joe Navarro, lying expert and the former FBI agent, “No one likes to be lied to. We feel betrayed. When is it that they are telling the truth?” (Boser, 2009). And most people insist on being told the truth, despite the negative impact it can have on them. No wonder, that a Fox drama “Lie To Me”, featuring a great British expert on deception, has become so popular among people of different ages and statuses.
Many experts do not make a big difference between a big lie and a little lie. Everything which does not correspond to the truth, is a lie. People often argue that they say lies to make others feel better, and because of this, such a lie is minor or is not lie at all. However, everything in our world has an effect on everything. The more we are inclined to tell any kind of lies, the more we go down in our moral values. We can argue with this as much as we want, however, the easier we say white lies, the easier it can become for us to tell any lies, and the less our word of promise would mean.
At this point I would like to refer to the core values represented at the Saint Leo University. The one which refers the best to our topic is the value of integrity. The Saint Leo University is deeply committed to the demands of excellence that its members fulfill the mission of morality and always keep up to their promises. The staff, students, and faculty pledge to be just, honest and consistent in both their deeds and words.
If people could maintain the same point of view as the University does, our world would become cleaner and more faithful; however, it makes me think, whether the world will become happier. Many people just need to be told lies, sometimes. They need to be flattered and told what they want to hear. We cannot deny it, as it is a proven fact, and maybe each of us can remember of such experience. An apt compliment to the boss sometimes can save our job position or raise our salary when said in the right moment.
We should also remember that the truth has to be used to create and not destroy. Direct truth can often destroy either romantic relationship or undermine someone’s faith in our abilities. In such cases, despite the codes of morality and all thoughts on degradation that the researchers reveal, it is worth of thinking whether to destroy or build (McCullough, 1998).
When talking about the political arena, most of people would agree that in their opinions they hear more lies from the government than truths. I would like to mention here a nuclear catastrophe which happened in Ukraine in 1986 when the nuclear reactor burst out in Chornobyl, but people from the city and surrounding territories where not told about it for almost three days, living and breathing the killing radiation without even having a suspicion that something so powerful is threatening their lives. The government decided to keep it quiet in order to fix the problem. However, the problem had such a wide scale that it could not be fixed easily as it affected the neighbor cities and even countries (McCullough, 1998).
To conclude, I would like to add that despite all the positive effects the white lies can have on the psychological well-being of people, I prefer to surround myself with trustworthy people who can stand out and tell any. The more honest we are, the less we will have to remember what we said, and we will be able to pay more attention to the ways of improvement of our communication with each other and not what to hide and what to reveal.