A new survey shows the average person tells four lies a day, or 1,460 a year for a total of 88,000 by the age of 60, and the most common is: “I’m fine.”
The unscientific assessment of Britons by the Daily Mail of London, in conjunction with the WKD brand name drink company, concludes men and women don’t lie the same.
“It’s men who tell the most fibs, coming out with five every day compared with women, who lie three times,” a spokesman for WKD told the newspaper.
“For the past two weeks, it seems, I have been telling Britain’s favorite fib at least 20 times a day,” concluded writer Philip Norman in the Daily Mail. “That cough of yours sounds really terrible,’ my wife will say. ‘You really ought to see a doctor.’
“‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous,’ I splutter in the intervals of barking like a demented seal. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me – I’m fine!’”
“We are speaking of what are known as ‘white lies’ … those small, generally harmless falsehoods which oil the wheels of almost all human relationships and which can spring from good motives as much as bad,” Norman continued.
According to the survey, “There’s nothing wrong with me … I’m fine” comes in first, with 28 per cent of those surveyed admitting to using it habitually.
Others on the list include:
- “Nice to see you”
- “Sorry I missed your call”
- “I’m stuck in traffic”
- “Our server was down”
- “The train was delayed”
- “The check’s in the mail”
- “I’ll phone you back in a minute”
- “This tastes delicious”
- “Of course I love you”
The study revealed most lies are told to work colleagues, followed by parents, partners and spouses.
“One in five men interviewed said he would lie to his girlfriend to go to a pub or watch,” a report said.
“Worryingly for women, ‘No, your bum doesn’t look big in that’ is [among the lies],’” the report said.
Norman said he ordinarily regards himself as truthful, “which the great essayist Harold Nicolson defined as ‘someone who, when they tell a lie, is careful not to forget they have done so, and who takes infinite precautions to prevent being found out.’”
“I plead guilty to saying it’s ‘nice’ to see people I detest, telling female acquaintances they look gorgeous … and reassuring fellow authors that I’ve enjoyed books I found unreadable.”
He suggested that fibbing has become a routine part of life.
“Look at the arrant untruths which seep out of our TV sets during every commercial break – that faceless, avaricious international banks really ‘ care’ about their small depositors; that constantly price-raising energy companies are only concerned with saving the planet; that factory-produced pies and cakes are really handcrafted by kindly old gentlemen in country villages,” he continued.
“Our very language has been corrupted. … When we say ‘security,’ we of course mean ‘insecurity.’ When we say adult,’ as in adult entertainment, we mean infantile smut.”
However, he said while most people stick to the small stuff, there are the others.
“It takes foolhardiness on an almost heroic scale to tell porkies big-time and in public now that electronic media can replay it for ever and ever, like Bill Clinton’s: ‘Ah did not have sexual relations with that woman … Miss Lewinsky,’” Norman said.
“U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently fell into the same trap by falsely claiming he saw his father march with the great Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King,” he said. “Later he explained he used the word ‘saw’ only in a ‘figurative sense.’”
The survey revealed two-thirds of those polled said they do not feel guilty when they tell lies, and four in 10 believe they are good at lying.
It said the most common lies told by women are about how much new clothes cost and how much drink they have had.
A reader identified as “Dave,” however, commented on a forum that he was suspicious of the results.
“So they found out the number of times men and women lie via an interview/survey … does anyone else see the inherent irony in this?”