Lying detrimental to all aspects of life

Sophia Comas, Sports Editor

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The truth hurts. That’s a simple fact of life that a lot of us are just now figuring out. It’s why we act the way we do around our peers and normalize lying. It’s why we constantly sugar coat scenarios to the people we see on a daily basis out of a false sense of protecting their feelings. It’s why we choose to dumb down our real thoughts into something less meaningful because we feel as if we need to spare our audience. But, as someone who has lied and has been lied to, I can say with full certainty that what we think we achieve through a lie is really the most detrimental aspect of what we do.

I would like to think that I’m an expert at detecting when a person is lying to me, but to be truthful — keep in mind the topic of this article —  I really can’t know. I have no idea if a person is lying to me until I take the time to follow through on my doubts. If I discover that I was right to be suspicious, then I’m hurt ten times over. It’s not because the truth is more hurtful than the lie but rather because they bothered to lie in the first place.

In a research study conducted by the University of Massachusetts in 2012, 60% of Americans said they were comfortable with telling a lie. They ranged from white lies like “your baby is cute” to massive whammies like “I’m not on birth control.” Still, more than half of our population finds it acceptable.

“The five least serious lies feature two key traits: They spare their recipient’s feelings and, for the most part, they cause no harm,” the survey authors said.

Saying that the lie causes no harm is in-and-of-itself a lie. What happens when the recipient finds out the truth? Are they touched you tried to protect their feelings or just more hurt by the fact that you lied to them about it? Every single lie comes with risk, whether it’s being caught by the person you told it to or realizing it becomes easier to do after each one.

Behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely proved this claim in his 2016 study where two people were put into a social situation in which one is a liar and one is not. After scanning their brains throughout the activity, he found that not only was the liar in an eased state of mind but felt rewarded when they got away with it. The amygdala — the part of the brain that produces fear and anxiety —  doesn’t function properly because the now normalized behavior is already engraved within the liar’s emotional response.

When lying goes unpunished, it alters a person’s brain to the point where they are no longer capable of feeling guilt for what they’ve done. The negative signals the brain produces are literally turned off and instead of feeling shame, the liar is elated.

“We are our own judges about our own honesty,” Ariely said in “The Washington Post.” “And that internal judge is what differentiates psychopaths and non-psychopaths.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean all liars are psychopaths but the concept behind what creates them still applies. When bad behavior becomes the new standard of how people act, we just enable actions that ultimately set us up for distrust, miscommunication and hurt feelings. Even if the lie is well-intentioned, the person hurt by it is now in a position where they can’t fully trust what people tell them.

It doesn’t matter why a lie was told or who it was told to. If someone doesn’t trust you then how can you feel the same toward them? How can anyone really believe in the people they associate with when everything they hear is potentially a lie that serves no purpose?

I don’t know how anyone could be happy with that way of life because lying is a clear indication of a lack of trust or a lack of respect. Without those two fundamental qualities that are the foundation for any and all relationships, lying is the easiest task to accomplish for some people, which is the saddest thing to me since lying is the most common form of betrayal.

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