Nearly any adult will tell you that lying is wrong. But when it comes to avoiding trouble, saving face in front of the boss, or sparing someone's feelings, many people find themselves doing it anyway. In fact, more than 80 percent of women admit to occasionally telling what they consider harmless half-truths, says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Little White Lies, Deep Dark Secrets: The Truth About Why Women Lie (St. Martin's Press, $15, amazon.com). And 75 percent admit to lying to loved ones about money in particular. The tendency to tell tales is "a very natural human trait," explains David L. Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at the University of New England, in Biddeford, Maine. "It lets you manipulate the way you want to be seen by others." To pinpoint how people stretch the truth from time to time and the potential fallout from it, learn the six most common ways that people mislead.
Why Do We Lie?