Anyone guilty of ever saying, or thinking, that as long as you don’t falsify information then you’re not really lying?
Hate to disappoint, but lies come in two forms: lies of concealment – where information is intentionally omitted, and lies of falsifying information. Regardless, if your intent is to mislead others by what you say or don’t say, then it still qualifies as a lie.
I’m not referring to the little white lies that everyone tells. And if you truly believe you don’t tell white lies, you are lying to yourself. Rather, I’m referring to any lies that are offered up in an attempt to get something or to avoid some form of punishment.
Consider this: While on a date, you checked your phone because you were hoping to hear from that hottie you started chatting up.
You told the person you were with that you were anxiously waiting for an email about a project at work. Clearly that falls under falsifying information and was a lie. The little project you were anxiously waiting for had nothing to do with work.
But what if you merely told that person you were waiting for an important email? It may have been a true statement. You do have a jobby job. And you were waiting for an important communication.
However, the truth is you omitted, or concealed, the fact that you were eagerly waiting to hear from someone other than present company. You were still guilty of lying because you intentionally wanted the person you were with to think you were looking for a work email. Just because you weren’t ask for more specifics does not give you a free pass.
True, lying about waiting for an email and lying about committing a crime are certainly weighted much differently on the intensity and consequence scale. However the danger comes in when you start to justify when it’s acceptable to omit information, especially when you think it is no big deal. Here’s the rub, if you think it’s no big deal, then why lie in the first place?
Moreover, telling someone their stage performance was great because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, vs. concealing you’re not exclusive because you don’t want to hurt their feelings is not the same thing. The former may not be constructive or helpful, but it will preserve the friendship. The latter, you’re just trying to keep eating cake, it has little to do with not wanting to hurt the recipient of the fable.
To be clear, intentionally omitting, or phrasing it in such a way as to piece fractured factual statements together in hopes the receiver will make certain assumptions about your saga, is a lie.
You may still choose to play this concealment word game, but you’ll now be doing so with the heightened awareness that you’re lying. Also, with this awareness, your body language may now leak guilt which means your change in baseline may give you up anyway.
Lastly, if you’re on the receiving end of a concealment lie, listen carefully that the person you’re speaking with is directly answering your question. If there are gaps in the story, ask for clarification. Some can easily tell lies of concealment, but have a much harder time keeping up the charade when forced to falsify or invent a story.
Listen carefully to what is not being said.
About the Author: Laurie Ayers is the Managing Director of Concealed Statements and is a dating deception coach. She works with men and women who want a better understanding if their date is being credible or likely lying. People mean what they say; use their words to uncover deception. Learn more at www.LaurieAyers.com