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5 Common Reasons Why Women Lie, According to Science

Do you know the reasons behind why women lie?

We all consider honesty a virtue, and in society, lying is seen as something horrible. However, what if we told you that not all lies are the same? In today’s article, we shall explore why women lie in particular and how that has nothing to do with what society considers appropriate.

Generally speaking, everyone you know lies. Research has shown that everyone lies on average about two to three times a day, so it cannot be said that people never lie. Yet, the reasons why men and women lie are varied and oftentimes done for the same reasons.

While men and women are socialized differently, thus subjected to different societal conditions and pressures, each of the genders ends up developing different reasons as to why they would feel the need to lie.

And while at times they are similar, there are certain situations where men and women lie for completely different reasons!

Research and studies have been done to try to find out why women lie and what the logic behind it is, and we have brought you some of the most interesting reasons here.

Of course, they are going to be generalized, as not every woman lies for these reasons, much like men lie for any number of reasons too!

Yet, we find it fascinating to take a look into the science behind lying, so keep on reading to discover what cultural conditions have made women lie and in which ways!

Why do you think women lie? Do you think women lie more often than men? Let us know your answers in the comments below!

women lie
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1. Women lie to protect themselves.

Lie example: “I have a boyfriend, sorry.”

Or any similar iteration of our lie example is one of the most common lies used by women. But why is that?

In the U.S., studies have shown that one in ten men ends up feeling unsettled about walking alone at night, while for women, it is about four in ten that feel unsafe.

The feeling of not being safe is common among women, especially when they are by themselves, and it is a trend and phenomenon that has been observed all over the world in both developed and developing countries.

Women, in general, end up feeling way less safe than men, and when you factor in the possibility of them being victims of physical and intimate assault, it is no wonder that many women end up choosing to lie to preserve their well-being.

It may seem like women lie about being in relationships to refuse unwanted advances, but in reality, this is just one of the moments when women use lies for protection.

In male-dominated industries, many women end up lying about their expertise to avoid sexist remarks, the work environment becoming hostile, and even being sabotaged professionally.

So studies point towards women using lying as a defense mechanism to avoid any issues.

2. Women lie to appease someone else’s feelings.

Lie example: “Don’t worry, I am not too tired to cook tonight. I’d love to.”

One study has revealed that female participants would end up lying in situations when they were trying to help someone else. But they are not as hasty to lie when it comes to trying to meet their own needs.

This is not always done out of selflessness but also due to the social conditioning that is done to girls when they are young; they are often encouraged to think about others, to not create a fuss, and to be the better person, which creates pressure to be perfect.

This is where the idea of being a “perfect wife and mother” stems from, as women are encouraged time and time again to tend to others first and, in the end, to themselves.

Thus, women lie to keep the peace or to keep up the appearance that nothing is wrong, even if they are not as pleased or enthusiastic to do something they said they would do. It is often why you can remember your mom eating last or putting off resting until everything and everyone else was okay.

women lie
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3. Women lie out of compassion.

Lie example: “Oh, no! The dinner was great, really tasty.”

The idea of compassionate lying is one that our society has a hard time adjusting to. This is because not everyone can grasp the idea that you would lie to spare someone’s feelings and are trying your best to not make someone else feel bad.

This type of lying ties in with our previous one, but it is more so done with the specific reason of not making someone else feel bad.

Research on this particular type of lying has shown that women are more likely to lie for someone’s benefit than men are.

It suggests the idea that this stems from empathy and that women are more empathetic and careful of others’ feelings.

The compassionate lie is not bred out of a desire to create platitude but rather out of kindness and a desire to support the other person.

Yet, it can also come from a place of wanting to avoid the conflict of being honest, as in when women lie and tell a friend or acquaintance that their cooking or baking was good, even when it was not.

Women lie out of not wanting to upset others, especially when it comes to those close to them.

4. Women lie out of politeness.

Lie example: “Oh, I love this gift; it’s just what I wanted.”

Research done in focus groups suggests that women are more expected to adhere to norms of politeness than men are. This does not mean that society does not expect men to be polite, but rather that if they break the rules of politeness, it is more likely to be excused, whereas women will be critiqued and blamed for it.

This is why women lie out of politeness, and they are generally the harmless, white lies that all humans are prone to making; they are born out of a need and instinct to avoid rudeness and general societal expectations of women.

The types of white lies you can expect that are born out of politeness include accepting gifts she believes to be useless or she does not like with a smile and a thank you, or conceding to listen to a boring conversation when she is not interested.

It is not that women want to lie in these situations, but rather that they feel like they should be graceful and accept the gift anyway since it is the thought that counts.

This is the area where everyone could learn to accept honest reactions about situations or gifts that are not positive but expressed in a non-offensive way without feeling at fault, while also growing more comfortable expressing such feelings regardless of gender.

women lie
Image By pathdoc From Shutterstock

5. Women lie to pretend that everything is okay.

Example: “I work amazingly under pressure; the anxiety motivates me.”

This is obviously a lie, but many women have gotten very good at saying this to others and themselves, so as to not recognize the fact that they are struggling. This has been observed in studies as a fear that women have to be perceived by others as ineffective, not efficient, or struggling.

The picture-perfect woman that society strives to create is not attainable, but many women grow with the idea that they should strive to be one. This oftentimes leads women to lie in order to cover up any unhappiness they may feel or struggles because they are scared they will attract stigma or judgment from those around them.

Mental health struggles are the ones most commonly hidden by these types of lies.

Yet, women lie in order to pretend that everything is okay due to extreme social conditioning; society expects women to manage difficult times with grace without showing any cracks in front of stress or any imperfections.

In the end, everybody lies! Yet, if you want to know more about lying from a neuroscience perspective, make sure you check out this book on the matter: Lying by Sam Harris.

Women are extraordinary, and they do not lie more than men. It is good to not only focus on things we do not like about someone but not generalize. In women’s cases, more often than not, the world (including the scientific world) forgets their wonderful achievements! Women made these important inventions, and many do not even know!


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