By Bunmi Sofola
Most of us will probably admit to the occasional little white lie. But in fact, more than one in three people tell at least one lie every day.
And it turns out that the fairer sex are the biggest fibbers of all. According to a survey, a shocking four in five women tell lies on a daily basis. Some women even admit to doing so as many as 30 times a day—the equivalent of twice every waking hour.
This compares with two out of five men who said they tended to tell lies every day. Fortunately, the picture is not as bleak as the statistics imply. People said they mainly shied away from telling the truth to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. The biggest reason they lied was to ‘make someone feel better’ (55 per cent|). This was followed by ‘to not get into trouble’ (32 per cent) and one in four put it down to the fact that ‘life is complicated.’ ‘Proving a point’ and ‘saving face’ were also common reasons to skirt around the truth.
Around 2,000 people were questioned for the poll commissioned by insurance company Privilege. Ad researchers found a common theme running through people’s lies. No one likes to leave a plateful of food when invited to a dinner party, and ‘saying you enjoyed a friend or relative’s cooking’ when you might not have was the number one reason for lying (42 per cent). People also commonly fib about their job, their salary or their weight. And they regularly pretend to share a hobby with someone they are trying to impress.
However, perhaps fortunately, most of our lies are relatively harmless. Around 80 per cent said they only told a lie when it would not seriously hurt anyone—although one in ten said a small fib they told had ended up hurting someone they were close to. The research also revealed that the most popular place to lie is ‘at home’. Work and job interviews were the next most popular, followed by social media. But the truth is most likely to be told in a court or doctor’s surgery.
As for who we are most likely to lie to, friends are top of the list (30 per cent), followed closely by work colleagues and partners (around one in four) and then children. Interestingly, it is in middle-age rather than in youth that we are most likely to lie—46 was the average age of people who admitted regularly telling lies.’ Dan Simson, from Privilege, said: ‘Encouragingly, this has shown us that even though we can be guilty of telling the odd porky, on the whole, we are likely to tell the truth when it matters.