Deception in Relationships is Natural

By Ange Fonce

YES! We ALL lie to each other ALL the time. 

It is True!

I was recently posed a question on Facebook by a very intelligent woman who asked me this question...

"I have a question for you Ange. How do we know if our attitudes about anything are really ours or if they are conditioned by the media and the corporations that are trying to sell us concepts in order to sell us stuff?" ~ Robin Wethe Altman USA

Now I sat and thought about how to answer this very good question?

Now if you consider Robins question she is asking about the BIG GAME of life, which to be honest WE are ALL players in so I have decided to answer this question not with a BIG LIFE answer, by starting where all human relationships start between TWO people. 

Your Relationship Partner, your Lover, your Kids, your Family and even your Customers and you can wonder all the time, if it is true or not.

Are they lying to you?

The answer is YES!

In fact deception is so prevalent in everyday communication that it is a wonder anyone can actually remember anything they said to someone else and, in fact, they often do not because the part of the brain that most often generates a lie is not immediately conscious!

Last year I read up on research that showed that people lie about three times in every 10 minutes of conversation so if you talk for an hour, that is 18 lies and that is a lot of deception including self deception and how you can ultimately understand "why" we all deceive.

Why people do this including you and me and who is mostly likely to not deceive others or themselves remember that is about 18 times per hour in a conversation!

It turns out that married couples deceive each other more than single people do. It turns out that women tend to lie about different things than men.

It turns out that women lie much more about infidelity than men do.

Women And Infidelity

A fascinating piece of research out recently shows that in large random groups of women who are hooked up to a fake lie detector admit infidelity to researchers more than twice as often as those who simply volunteered to take part in an anonymous questionnaire study.

Do not misunderstand me men lie about infidelity to their partner, simply not to researchers.

The Honour System with Eyes

Ever see those "honour system" candy boxes around your office or in your building?

You know where you can buy a sweet or chocolate and pay 50 pence or a pound into the cardboard container... all on honour?

Turns out that if the vendor puts a poster of eyes watching over the candy box, more than TWICE the amount of money per item, ends up in the box at the end of the week. Cheap investment to induce honesty.

Deception And Children

Now there is a lot of deception in children, too. We teach our kids to become good at deceiving.

On purpose.

"Yes Auntie, that's a wonderful Christmas present...thank you so much."

Auntie is terrible at Christmas shopping, and my son has been instructed well to show kindness....just like yours.

And it goes beyond that. We teach our kids to lie to everyone and then of course demand that they tell us the truth creating a world that the pre-8 year old cannot comprehend as they have not totally separated from you as a parent in their identity, thus making you a "you know what" in their mind too... permanently.

The schema that develops from this is called "mistrust." All for another article.

Are buyers liars?

Buyers are Liars and then there are your prospects, clients and customers. For years salespeople have said, "buyers are liars," and of course it is true. Problem is we are all so good at self deception that we rarely see our own deception of our selves, we only sense it in others until we become painfully aware of how often we deceive in our own communication.

Self Deception

Come on Ange are you not always going on about being Authentic?

Well. Yes I am, and that comes with a real high level of practised personal awareness of human behaviour, now let us continue...

In other words, we deceive ourselves consciously and unconsciously everyday.

What is going on?

Scientists are now studying deception and they are finding out that those who deceive have a big advantage in the natural "mating game" and survival.

For years I thought that lying and deception stemmed from psychological disorders.

I was wrong. It may not be nice, or ethical or right yet it is natural behaviour!

All animals deceive and that includes us as Human Animals. It does not take a human to deceive and it does not take a bad human to deceive.

Primates strategically deceive and are able to misdirect competitors in the group to another location while they eat where the food is. Not always, only when food is short in abundance.

Orchids deceive bees and I will explain this bizarre fact another day, orchids are flowers by the way.

A man or woman will deceive the mate they are with to go mate with another man or woman. Our genes are always on the "look out" for another great set of genes to mate with to ensure the survival of our genetic heritage. I myself have 5 children with different women. Does that make me a "bad" man or a man who has ensured that my genetic heritage is going to survive. And look at the other side of the coin. These women selected me to ensure their children have "good genes" to ensure the survival of their genetic heritage. We may possess this thin veneer of "Society" yet underneath the Animal runs the show.

It is adaptive, natural behaviour. Deception helps insure survival on the level of one and on the level of the group.


And herein is the problem for our "psychology" with all it is morality and ethics. We ALL hate being lied to.

Knowing that everyone else is being lied to is one thing.

"Oh, I figured that the whole time."

Problem: They are Lying to YOU!

Knowing that YOU are being lied to is quite another thing.

"You mean, they are lying to me?! Why?! How?!"

And you feel righteously indignant, even when you realize that you are no different! Because we hate being deceived. And because we are lied to so much, many people recognize cues in the behaviours of others that they think are signs of deception. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are woefully and painfully wrong. And we have evolved to become human lie detectors as well because being able to snuff out deception is adaptive as well. As it makes you live longer, safer, someone is stealing your resources, having sex with your mate, etc.

Unfortunately because of the way the human brain is wired, we are "right" about the deception of others about 1/2 the time. We saw the cue. They were deceiving. It was a biggie. And we got it right, even though they vehemently denied it. And then because there were 10 other non verbal cues happening at the same time, not to mention the words that were being said, we also unconsciously associated THOSE cues with lying too. And the next time we saw them, you guessed it we told them, "you're lying," and this time you were wrong and they were indignant.

Both times they vehemently denied, yet they were deceiving only once. That creates intensely emotional associations and resentments that last a long time of being falsely accused and for the other person strong associations of emotional denial when you know that something fishy has been going on.

And this is how so many problems in personal relationships begin. Both people are taking part in often unconscious or non-conscious deception. Does not matter. It is adaptive. They are trying to be safe and secure in their environment. So they deceive. They have to because they are human and it is wired in to the brain as much as going to the bathroom is.

The "Natural Born" Deceiver

I have wrote about "will" and whether we have conscious "control" over most of our actions. And the scientific research tells me that the words you just read do not register in your own brain for 500 milliseconds AFTER you have read them. (Read that again.)

This also goes for "speech" when we are talking with each other.

Fact is, there is a part of the brain that has developed in humans that causes self deception that we were not intended (from an evolutionary standpoint) to be aware of. The person who can deceive himself finds it much easier to deceive others.

The person who becomes skilled at deceiving themself is a much more believable and trustable deceiver.

And because of this, people become natural born deceivers and have also adapted to become curious and detective-like inquisitors to normally live in a state of disbelief of others and what they say.

Self-deception happens when? For men? Women? The core reason people deceive is...?

Much self deception happens when we tell stories and leave out the context or key elements in the story where, if told, would change the perception of the person being talked about completely.

KEY POINT: Most deceit, in fact, happens when people are telling stories. And here I smile to myself as I write this line. Because what I am doing... writing an article to tell a story about "deception!"

And stories capture the imagination or can bore the listener to death, and that is another article as well.

The fact is that My Mother, who "says it like it is," often hurt the feelings of those around her. Not intentionally... she was just one of those few people who never cut a corner at least consciously in communication. She told people when their hair looked bad and they were getting too fat.

A behaviour I learnt from her "say it like it is" does not always make me the most popular man at the party yet does make me in one way "highly trustable" for being "authentic" yet also a man to avoid if you got a lot of "deceptions" to hide.

And of course, that "ability" to ALWAYS tell the truth is not going to make life better or easier, as so many saw in Jim Carrey's movie, "Liar, Liar."

Honesty is not adaptive for reproduction in some ways. In other ways it is.

Prevarication, Embellishment, Story-telling is what will get you laid!

Women spend an hour in front of a mirror covering up who they are while men spend an hour thinking up stories to tell that woman so they will find him more interesting. Women know men lie to them. It is how the lies make them feel that matters.

If your a great "story teller" and make a woman feel great about herself. The reward can be sex!

In fact, so much of our conscious behaviour is spent thinking about what and how to cover up for various reasons that the conscious self is very different from the non conscious self in personality.

As I said, self deception is prevalent.

70% of high school seniors believe they have greater than average leadership ability

97% of mutual fund managers believe they are better than average. And their actual numbers are easily available on any financial website!

80% of women think they are above average car drivers

90% of men think they are above average car drivers

1,000,000 college students were surveyed nationally on the same day: ALL million said they were better than average at getting along with others!

60% of those same million put themselves in the top 10% in the ability to get along with others and a full 25% said they were in the top 1% in getting along with others! WOW!

93% of college professors believe they are above average in their profession.

Ready for a big one:

Homophobic men are almost always more likely to be aroused significantly more than non-homophobic men when watching men do it with other men, as measured in the way you can only imagine and I cannot write about.

Who is best at avoiding self-deception?

Self Deception In Public

To take self deception even further, in public when social research is taking place in the real world, here is what can happen. 

An actor is on a side walk having a seizure and he is an actor. When there is no one around except for one passerby, the single person almost always stops and helps.

The more people that are around, the faster the number of people who are willing to even go NEAR the person diminishes. They say... 

"I thought someone else would help him?"

Now I know this to be true from personal experience.

Many years ago I witness an accident which involved a man and women. I was about 500-600 feet away from where the accident happened. What amazed me, was witnessing people walking past these hapless people and doing nothing. I run all the way to the accident site. Physically stopped people to help, ie. Phone an ambulance and help me administer first aid. To this day I am still amazed the amount of times people can "look the other way" and say... 

"I thought someone else would help them?"

Obviously "they" were all watching, too.

Asked later in these research experiments held all over the world, NO ONE ever agrees or knows that the people around them had any impact on their own behaviour or lack of action in helping people in desperate need of help.

Who deceives and experiences significantly LESS self deception of others?

You will never guess.

Those who are clinically depressed.

Fact is that the clinically depressed person not only deceives others significantly less, they deceive themselves significantly less and all research shows they have a far more accurate view of the world in every way than those who are not clinically depressed.

Depressives suffer a deficit in self deception, as self deception is part of human behaviour and depression is one of the manifestations of someone who does not or cannot effectively deceive themselves.

Depressed People Are Perceptive

The latest psychological research shows that the more depressed a person is (Beck Inventory) the more accurate their view of the world and other people's perceptions of them is.

So with all of this going on that we were not aware of yesterday, how do we influence people who are perceived as "normal" and deceive a great deal vs those who are depressed and deceive very little?

There is a BIG difference.

In answering Robins question in this way. The Personal and Deception, you can then scale it up to Governments, Corporations, Religions, Marketing etc, etc.

Concepts or a way of Human Life?

Is it natural, is it a way of Life?

Maybe Nature designed it that way from the beginning?

And practically speaking, that completes this conversation.

Have you any thoughts or comments you would like to share with me on what I have written?

I would love to hear from you.

Thank you and may you enjoy a Loving... Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely

Ange Fonce

Ange is an Dynamic Personal Development, Strategy and Assesment Coach who works with those men and women who want to develop their confidence, influence, relationships, health and wealth! 

To Speak to Ange and arrange a free consultation CLICK HERE

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