Even if you don’t care about the morality of lying, from a purely utilitarian, functional perspective, you will have an easier life if you tell the truth and refuse to lie.

(If you “accidentally” tell a lie, immediately correct yourself to the truth, and make some joke about it. “Wait what? Why did I say that? No, I haven’t done that task yet. I’ll get on it, though.” Take it from me: Sometimes a person can get so used to lying that it becomes a habit difficult to break. If you slip up, immediately correct it.)

Eventually, people will figure out that you’re a liar. Nobody will trust you, ever again. I still feel a little uneasy about people that I knew almost 10 years ago that were frequent liars. Actually, they were only suspected liars; there wasn’t ever any proof. That’s how strongly people think negatively of liars. And I was a compulsive liar.

It’s less stressful. Instead of spending so much time crafting an intricate story, figuring out every small detail to ensure nobody catches you in a lie, just be honest. Stress averted.

A really subtle difficulty with lying, is that you’re constantly putting yourself down without realizing it.

You’re going to break up with your girlfriend, but you don’t want to tell her the real reason. So you tell her something that’s easier to swallow.

You are saying to yourself that your own reasons for not wanting to be with her anymore are not legitimate reasons. That you have to invent a different reason. That your desires are not valid. That your desires are shameful, and don’t fit into society.

No. Be honest.

If you refuse to lie, you can gather the reputation of an honest person, who will always tell it like it is. And you can feel good about that reputation! Because it’s true!

My boss asks me if I’ve completed Project Whatever yet, and I haven’t, I say that I haven’t done it yet.

One of my bosses (I have about eight), after I admitted I hadn’t done any work to a certain project all day, said this:

“Always trust a junior enlisted member when he tells you he didn’t do work. That’s a man who’s telling the truth.”

Maybe I get a little bit of flak in the short term for not being The Best Worker There Ever Was, but over time, the reputation of “This guy isn’t going to lie to me” is so much more useful, it’s easier on you, and very appreciated by others.

I’ve previously written about how “being good” is actually the best form of manipulation. I hesitate to use that word, because it’s so negative, but it’s true. If all you care about is getting what you want in life, your best course of action is to be honest with everyone:

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