There is no single person in this world who has never told a lie. No matter how big or small, direct or indirect, verbal or non-verbal; we all have told a lie. The problem with lying is most of the time your lies comes to light. Knapp and Vangelisiti state, “If acts of omission, exaggeration, vagueness, evasiveness, and substitution are all part of the act of lying, than everybody lies” (2006, p. 248). Whether you wore your sister’s dress, after she said no, only to have her come home with the dress in the dirty clothes and you tell her you did not wear it.
Or you went out to eat with an ex-lover and told your partner you went with a friend, only for your partner to see that same friend at the gas station. It is all lying and deceiving. We live in a society where lying and “sugar-coating”, which is not fully telling the truth, has become more and more acceptable. In our personal relationships lying can have a detrimental effect; whether we accept it or not lying and deception affects our communication in our personal relationships as well. Deception violates both relational and conversational rules is often considered to be a negative violation of expectancies” (Guerrero, Anderson, Afifi, 2007, p. 292). In our personal relationships, deception usually leads to feelings of distrust and betrayal. Deception leads to uncomfortableness whether you are being deceived or you’re the deceiver. I have lied in many of my personal relationships. Many times the lies were intentionally. Most of the time the lies were either to hide something, trying to make myself look better, or just simply because I was ashamed of the truth.
My personal experiences with lying have been nothing but horror movies. Some people who are professional liars or deceptors might say I just do not know how to lie correctly. However, whether it’s lying correctly or incorrectly it is still a lie. A lot of the times lying is actually more work than telling the truth because you must remember you lies, “many liars have a hard time keeping their story straight” (Knapp, Vangelisiti, 2006, p. 251). Lying is nothing more than a technique, or a way to escape a current or past moment.
In most personal relationships lying can severely and/or moderately affect your relationship. In fact, Knapp and Vangelisti conclude, “Lying appears as one of the most complicated relational interaction patterns” (2006, p. 247). This is mainly because the outcomes of a lie and/or being deceived by a love one or someone you care about. However, lying is not the only way partners can deceive each other, “deception includes all communication or omissions that serve to distort or omit the truth” (Guerrero, Anderson, Afifi, 2007, p. 292).
This application paper will discuss, define, contrast and explain lying and deception. This paper will also discuss how deception can affect your personal relationships and how it can affect your communication in personal relationships. But, “baby I had to lie or else we would not have stayed together. ” Is there any appropriate time to justify a lie? Do you really care about me if you’re lying to me? “Many People decided whether to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, based on the possible outcome of that choice” (Knapp & Vangelisti, 2006, p. 47). Lying to maintain a relationship is a very selfish strategy to keep the relationship together. Knapp and Vangelisti state, “lying as a behavior is involved in maintain a close relationship” (2006, p. 248). However, this is primarily a short term solution. Although, many deceptors who use lying as a tool to keep a relationship together it is not. Many times lying after you have deceived your partner, makes the situation worst in the long run; this is mainly because you have to tell another lie to keep the truth from coming out.
Ultimately, no matter how much the truth hurts, the truth is always better than a lie. In personal relationships, honesty is an important trait. It is a trait that most people require when they seek to further a relationship. But, making the decision to tell the truth depends on what constitutes a relationship. So, if lying will temporarily maintain the relationship, than most people will lie. In personal relationships, especially romantic, if you know a person well enough, you know what they can handle and what they can’t, so if telling the truth will damage the relationship, most people will lie.
In fact, “the best predicator of relationship termination as a result of a discovered lie, is the perceived importance of information lied about”. This statement best applies to many romantic couples who are committed to their relationship with each other. In a study comparing strangers, friends and romantic partners, it showed the most lying occurs in romantic relationships (p. 292). Buller and Burgoon (1994) defined deception as “intentionally managing verbal and/or nonverbal messages, so that a receiver will believe or understand something in a way that the sender knows is false” (as cited in Guerrero, Anderson, Afifi, 2007, p. 93). Deception is never expected to happen in relationships. However, in many romantic relationships (as well as personal relationship) it happens with thought, until after. If relational communication “is about how communication affects the personal relationships we create, sustain, revise, and sometimes dismantle” (Wood, 2000, p. xix), than deception has to be a downfall in our relational communication when deception and lying occurs. There are five primary types of deception: lies, equivocations, concealments, exaggerations, and understatements.
I have experience all forms of deception, but the two I have experience greatly are, concealment and Understatement. Guerrero, Anderson, and Afifi state, “Concealment or omission is yet another form of deception” (2007, p. 293). Leaving things out and not including relevant information to your partner is concealment. For example, my ex would go out to night clubs, but would leave out the fact that he was going to a strip club. He knew I would have a problem with it, so he was reluctant to inform me. “Understatement or minimization, on the other hand, involves downplaying aspects of the truth. I often experience this form of deception. A lot of times it is to make myself look better. Why is it so hard to confront a liar when you know they are lying? Someone once told me if you’re not a part of the solution, your apart of the problem. When being a part of the deception, you don’t always realize you are also a part of the problem. However, I believe your mind can play tricks on you and you might not always feel like you’re being deceived, even if it’s right in front of face. When someone is close to you, you expect them to tell the truth.
However, the truth is not always told and you might have to search to detect a lie. When partners suspect they have been lied to or deceived they might take drastic measures to seek the truth. Knapp and Vangelisit state, “Changes in behavior or activity patters often trigger partner alertness if not suspicion” (2006, p. 250). However, many times suspicions and can lead to troubles. “Suspicion can create suspicion to the point where neither person trusts the other and the lie decteor have created the very thing he or she set out to destroy” (Knapp, Vangelisiti, 2006, p. 250).
Your relationship can be easily destroyed by going on a hunt for the truth, because even if you have suspicions it does not always give you the right answer. Your mind could be playing tricks on you. “Detecting deception is difficult, because there are no completely reliable indicators of deception” (2007, p. 294). As a romantic partner, I have been deceived more times in my romantic relationships than in my other personal relationships. I believe in forgiveness, but the hard part is forgetting. I was in a relationship where I was deceived many times and forgave many times.
Every time I was deceived I would trust less and less, but somehow believed the relationship would work and time would heal everything. My communication styles changed, I no longer could speak slowly or without anger. Even if it was about clothing on the floor I had to yell. My love styles changed, instead of the gentle person I was, I became very aggressive. I went from an Agape lover to a Mania lover. The lies and deception changed everything for me. I was not myself. I began to downplay all the positive aspects about the relationship and could only see the negative aspects (the lies and deceitfulness).
We eventually broke up, mainly because of the lack of trust and also confusion of what we really wanted in each other. After we broke up, I attempted to find answers to why my partner deceive me in so many ways. Guerrero, Anderson and Afifi, talk about partner-focused motives, self focused motives, relationships-focused motives (p. 293). I think my ex had a mixture of all three motives. In conclusion, I would like to say lying and deception can lead to conflict and relationship break up. I know first hand on what it is like to be deceived. No one likes the feeling. We have discussed defined, contrast and explain lying and deception.
References Guerrero L. , Anderson P. A. , & Afifi W. (2007). Close encounters: Communication in Relationships (2nd ed. ). Los Angeles; CA Sage Publications. Knapp, M. L & Vangelisti, A. L (2006). In Galvin, K. M. , & Cooper, P. J. (Eds. ) (2006). Making connections: Readings in relational communication (pp. 247-252) (4th ed. ). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury. Wood, J. T. (2000). Relational communication: Continuity and change in personal relationships (2nd ed. ). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.