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The Lies We Tell

imagesThe previous post focused on pathological lying. This post will focus on the different types of lies people tell. Lying is a bad habit and can be a big and destructive problem. Let’s identify the different kinds of lies and see if you recognize them. Do you or anyone you know fall into any of these types of lies? Do you know any other types of lies?

  1. White lie: We all tell a white lie. It is a lie in order to minimize harm. We sometimes tell a white lie to help others. A white lie is harmless and can be considered to be used for a greater good.
  2. Perjury: “To “perjure” yourself is to knowingly make false or misleading statements under oath or to sign a legal document you know to be false or misleading”( This type of lie is a crime because the person has sworn under oath to tell the truth and testimony must rely on true facts.
  3. Omission: A person either omits certain facts or does not correct a misconception. It is deception and you choose to remain quiet instead of saying the truth which would alter the other person’s decision.
  4. Minimisation: Is a type of deception and is the opposite of exaggeration. It is minimizing or downplaying the importance of an event.
  5. Honest lie: There is no intent to harm and the person is not aware that their information in not true.
  6. Haystack answer: When a person tells a significant amount of lies or irrelevant information with a true fact hidden in the lie. This causes difficulty in detecting the truth
  7. Half-truth: This is considered deception because there is some element of truth. The statement may be partly true or totally true but play part of the whole truth. The purpose is to make something that is a belief appear as knowledge which can lead to a false conclusion. An example, is “You should not trust David with your child. I once saw him smack a child with his open hand.” In this example the statement could be true, but David may have slapped the child on the back because he was choking.
  8. Fib: This is an unimportant lie or a childish lie. It is usually forgiving because it is not meant to deceive.
  9. Fabrication: This is considered a lie when someone says something as being the truth without knowing for sure that it is true. An example is giving directions to a stranger without knowing the actual direction.
  10. Exaggeration: Making something appear more meaningful that it actually is.
  11. Deflecting: Not giving attention to the lie. Choosing to not respond or ignore the subject the lie is based on.

So, which lie do you tell?


 image taken from
The Lies We Tell

Helen Nieves

Helen Nieves is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Attention Deficit Consultant Specialist. She teaches ADHD on line and is on the Advisory Board at The American Institute of Health Care Professionals. She also received advanced training in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and in Grief Counseling.

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APA Reference
Nieves, H. (2015). The Lies We Tell. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2015
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