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The Nine Reasons We Lie (outlined by Paul Ekman)

1. To avoid punishment. This is the most frequently mentioned motive and is used to cover up a deliberate or accidental misdeed.
2. To gain access to a reward not otherwise readily obtainable.
3. To protect another person from being punished.
4. To protect oneself from the threat of physical harm. This is unlike lying to avoid punishment as the threat does not come from a misdeed. Ekman presents the example of a child who lies about his parents being home to avoid having an intruder prey on them.
5. To win the admiration of others.
6. To avoid awkward social situations i.e. lying to avoid a boring party, or saying you are busy so you don’t have to talk on the phone.
7. To avoid embarrassment i.e. telling others that you spilled water on your pants, when in reality it was the result of a bathroom ‘accident’.
8. To maintain privacy. Lying to avoid revealing personal matters.
9. To gain power over others, by controlling the information they have, or think is correct.