What is a lie and who lies? A lie is an obfuscation of the truth. As to who lies, virtually everybody has at least one point in their lives. We do not want to be lied to and yet, that doesn’t prevent us from doing it to others. Lying has become an inherent human trait since time immemorial. In fact, we are the only species in the world, or in the universe for that matter, that does this.
A simple search online through a major search engine using the phrase “why do we lie?” you’ll get close to half a billion related results! Imagine what the collective result would be if we added up all online literature about lying. However, I have yet to come across a question, much less an answer, to a simple question — who lie better, men or women?
Perhaps what needs to be established here is that men and women lie differently. Most will agree that a little lying every now and then is actually quite necessary. This is mainly to avoid making a big issue out of something generally accepted as petty. As such, it is also commonly used to lubricate the gears of a relationship.
Now that we understand that, it is time we categorize the most common type of lies and figure out which gender does it best in those categories. Bear in mind that this is a highly informal ‘study’.
This is perhaps one of the most overused. Common lies heard in here are “You’re so big”, “That was superb”, “You’re the best”, and “It’s alright”. If you’ve heard those lines before, chances are you’re going to think twice now. These are mainly expressed to pacify or assuage a partner’s fear of having performed unsatisfactorily. Perhaps you may have something to add here? Or would you rather keep it to yourself and not comment on anything for fear of being discovered? By the way, that in itself is also a lie.
This is interesting. The widely accepted norm in a modern society was that the men, being the breadwinners, keep all the money and give a certain amount to their spouse for household needs, children, schooling, food, clothing and so on. Now, however, that has changed. More and more women are out and about doing what used to be male-only jobs. Many are breadwinners while their partners, men, stay at home. Before, only the men have to lie about their paycheck and expenses outside the family circle. Now, women also feel that same pressure. Perhaps, they even have it lighter since men do not normally voice out baseless accusations. When they do get caught, they are generally forgiven more readily since men have this weakness to the tears and pleas of their respective partner.
Men take the lead in this particular setup where white lies abound. A white lie is a lie that is not intended to harm the person being lied to – indeed it’s often intended to benefit them by making them feel good, or preventing their feelings being hurt. The foremost example of this is in dressing up. The wife gets herself decked out in her best dress for an occasion and asks her husband for his opinion. The man says it looks really great. What the woman doesn’t “hear” is “What?? You want to show the whole world your deep cleavage??” or “Don’t you have any shame showing off so much skin??” This is hardly a revelation and women even have a lot to say on that issue. And then there’s food. There’s hardly a man out there that’s going to say anything bad about his wife’s or partner’s cooking. In an attempt to stop from lying, he might go as far as suggesting ever so politely that “maybe a little salt could be added?” When that doesn’t work, its “Ummmm, this is delicious, honey!” and then tries very hard to keep his face straight as he swallows.
Women most likely reign supreme here mainly due to the fact that they are by nature closer to the kids than the father. Lies told to them are generally classified as white and in response to questions more than anything else. For instance, a child asks why grandma doesn’t visit anymore and the normal reply here is “because she went to stay in heaven.” Another question, which many a parent actually dreads, is about sex. This is where the ‘bird in the nest’ story usually comes to play, which only serves to confuse the child more (“How can a bird in the nest make me? Did I hatch from an egg?”).
Have you ever heard “I would rather have a friend tell me the whole truth than keeping it to himself and let me find out from others instead”? Sounds familiar, right? We all want to know the truth, yet sometimes “Things are better left unsaid” (Heard that too huh?). In all likelihood, it’s the women who dominate the lies here. First off, you have all that juicy gossip about the new heartthrob or some other fabricated story. Then there’s the dress that other woman was wearing yesterday. When in some sort of conflict with another friend, there are lots of back biting and character assassinations before any reconciliation takes place. Oftentimes, there’s a rallying up of forces, so to speak, and goodness knows what can happen next. Men handle things like these differently. They either don’t mind each other and do not talk about it or get together over a pint of beer and settle things right then and there. Hardly any lie happens.
This is the amusing one. You look at yourself in the mirror and make different facial expressions, strike a pose, and what have you. Truth be told, others do not see you like that. Lying to yourself for an extended period of time has the potential to blur the lines of reality. We have a universal scapegoat for this, though. It’s called ‘feeling good about yourself’. Another variation is what we all term ‘confidence’.
So who really lies better?