How do you like being called a “good liar? ” A new book portrays women as better liars than men – more clever and successful. How does this feel to you? Is it an accomplishment or a criticism? Does it seem to be true or a sexist stereotype? Is this just another hit on beleaguered Sandwich Generation Boomers?
Women have several reasons for lying according to author Susan Shapiro Barash. Some lie to protect themselves – for example, to better their financial position or to cover up taboo behavior. A variation of this is the “competitive lie,” through which a woman seeks to rank herself and her family on a higher level in terms of accomplishments. Others say they lie to benefit others – not telling their children about their own wild teenage behavior or not confessing to their husband that they had an affair. Women may even lie to themselves when it seems too painful to admit the truth.
The author had an unusual manner of recruiting interviewees for her study – she placed adds on Craigslist. Perhaps because her respondents were drawn from a shopping site, she found that the subject women lied about the most was how much money they spent. She also found that more than half of her sample cheated on their husbands and lied about it. Many stay-at-home mothers told her they were not always honest about the satisfaction they experienced due to their choices.
Does this all sound like some other manipulative woman – or have you been in a situation yourself that brought out a little white lie? Do you think it was justified? What was the effect of the lie? How would things have turned out differently had you told the truth? If you could go back and change your behavior, would you? How?