Why Do Men Lie? 21 Reasons & Best Reaction (2024)

Sadly, “why do men lie?” is a question that many people ask themselves. This guide will outline 21 potential reasons, plus how to react when a man lies.

Why Do Men Lie
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In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients better understand themselves and those around them. 

That’s why I’m keen to share this guide with you. 

So, let’s dive in. 

What Causes A Person To Lie?

Put simply, people lie because they judge the consequences of lying to be better than the consequences of telling the truth.

Some make this judgement hoping they’ll never be caught. Others believe they may eventually be caught, but still consider the short-term benefits to outweigh the long-term reputational harm. 

Anyway, this is a very broad answer, so we’ll consider some more detailed examples of why men lie below.   

Why Would A Guy Lie To You?

A Guy Lie To You
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1. He Doesn’t Want To Face The Consequences Of The Truth

This is almost always true whenever a man or woman is lying.

Indeed, if someone was comfortable with the consequences of the truth, they would usually be honest.   

2. He Has An Intense Longing For The Desired Outcome Of His Lie

Have you ever wanted something so much that you’d do whatever it takes to get it?

Well, most men have felt that way at some point and this is another reason why men lie.

3. He Chooses Instant Gratification In A Moment Of Weakness

The problem with instant gratification is that one almost always has to pay for it in the long run.

Often, we know that but we’re too weak to choose delayed gratification.

That can be the case when a man lies too. 

In a moment of weakness or foolishness, he can decide to choose the instant gratification of lying over the delayed gratification of being seen as an honest man.   

4. He Tells A Small Lie To Enforce A Bigger Truth

This stems from the idea that most people make wrong assumptions based on the data they have.

Want some examples?

“If he doesn’t love my new T-shirt, he must think I’m ugly.” 

“If he thinks that woman is attractive, he must not be attracted to me.”

Do these ideas sound familiar? Many men and women will experience assumptions like this, even if they logically understand that there’s no evidence to back these thoughts up.  

A man could choose to explain the flaws in this line of thinking. However, he’ll often find it simpler to tell a white lie to reinforce a more important truth.     

This idea is explained in more detail in the video above.

5. He Desires Harmony In The Relationship

Honesty doesn’t always make the recipient happier, in the long-term or short-term.

Sometimes, it’s better to tell little white lies to avoid conflict and keep a relationship harmonious. 

6. He Doesn’t Have Time To Explain Himself

Sometimes, a man senses he’ll have to explain himself if he tells the truth.

While he may be willing to do so, there will be occasions where he doesn’t have the time nor the patience.

If he senses a lie will save him time without hurting anyone, he’ll often be willing to do so.  

Related: Why Does He Keep Me Around If He Doesn’t Want A Relationship?

7. He Feels Like Lying Is The Only Way To Save A Relationship

If a man feels like the truth is unforgivable and will surely end a relationship, he may see lying as his only option.

8. He’s Ashamed And Insecure About The Truth

Guys lie to protect themselves from potential embarassment, especially when they’re surrounded by people. 

If he’s ashamed of being a virgin, he might tell you he had sex in his past relationships. If he’s insecure about his earnings, he might tell you he made six figures last year  

9. He Thinks He Can Get Away With It

Ultimately, if no-one discovers a man’s lies, there is no downside.

So, a man may consider lying just because he believes no-one will find out the truth.  

10. He’s Trying To ‘Fake It Until He Makes It’

“If you tell a lie often enough, people will start to believe it”.

This idea has been quoted by some questionable people, but there is evidence to back it up.  

Indeed, if you tell the same lie often enough, you may start to believe it yourself.

These are the ideas behind the “fake it until you make it” trope. 

So, maybe a guy is telling a lie to try and bend reality in this way. 

11. It Doesn’t Hurt Anyone

By definition, a “white lie” doesn’t hurt anyone’s life nor their feelings.

If a man believes a lie will make his life easier without hurting anyone else, he’ll go ahead and tell it.  

12. It’s Considered Polite

Many white lies are considered polite.

For example, it’s accepted by the vast majority of people that you should always compliment your host’s cooking. 

Indeed, many guys lie about certain things to avoid being deemed as rude.

13. He Doesn’t Feel Guilty For Lying

If a man doesn’t feel guilty about hurting someone with his lies, there’s little stopping him from lying. This is a telltale sign of a sociopath though.   

14. It Saves A Lot Of Effort

Humans are genetically programmed to get what they want using as little energy as possible. If a man believes lying will create a shortcut to success with little risk of long-term consequences, he’ll often go ahead and lie.  

15. He Wants To Impress Someone And Create Time For Himself

If a man feels that lying is the only way to get your attention, he may do so just to give himself a chance to impress you.

Perhaps he’ll lie about his job to women, knowing he’ll eventually be found out, but hoping it gives him enough time to win them over anyway. Indeed, you’ll often find men lie on their online dating profiles just to get their foot in the door on a date. 

As well as lying to the opposite sex, you may also find men lying to land a job, hoping they can impress the boss so much before being found out that they’re forgiven.   

16. He’s Backed Into A Corner

If a man is in danger of having his lies exposed, he might lie even more to try and get away with his original story. 

17. He Feels Like He’s Being Lied To

It’s said that you can’t con an honest John.

This phrase implies that you can con someone who is trying to con you. 

Indeed, many men may feel comfortable lying to someone who they believe is trying to get one over on them.

18. He’s Too Stressed

As we’ve explored, it can cause a lot of hassle when you tell the truth.

If a man doesn’t feel emotionally ready for the stress he believes the cold hard truth will cause, they may lie.

In such cases, he’ll often promise himself he’ll tell the truth when they’re in a better mental state.   

19. He’s Not Ready For Emotional Vulnerability

A lot of men struggle to be emotionally vulnerable and would prefer to tell a lie to get out of it.

If women ask a guy whether he had a good relationship with their parents, he’ll often just say “yes”, rather than diving down the rabbithole of the entire relationship with his distant father.    It’s often easier to lie and hope these women forget the topic altogether.

This type of scenario can happen between anyone, but it’s most common in romantic relationships. Indeed, men and women in romantic relationships will often lie about their flaws when they’ve just started dating to avoid scaring the other person away. 

20. He Feels Physically Unsafe

This is the most unfortunate reason why men may feel the need to lie, but perhaps the most forgivable.

If some psycho chick with a knife asks a man if he cheated on her, the answer will always be no! It’s a matter of self-preservation. 

Indeed, if a man feels like the truth will leave him in physical danger, he’ll usually lie to get himself out of a sticky situation.

21. He Lies To Protect Someone Else’s Fragile Ego

Men lie to boost their own egos, but they may also lie as an ego-booster to someone else.

The classic example is men telling the woman in their lives that they look amazing in their new dress. An honest assessment of her ugly dress would unnecessarily ruin her confidence and cause relationship issues that don’t need to be created. On the other hand, many women will fib to their men about their mind-blowing sexual performance.

In both cases, this story makes both partners feel more confident and affectionate with each other. A win-win for their love lives.  

A man might tell some real whoppers to his boss or other male members of his office for the same reasons.

Ultimately, these are lies told with good intentions that also help men to progress their relationships with other people.   

What Does It Mean When He Lies To You?

It’s not always easy to understand why a man lies to you.

Did he do it to protect you or purely for his own selfish gain? Did he do it out of weakness or spite?

There’s no 100% accurate way to tell – and that’s why it hurts when someone we love so much lies to us. No matter who they are and what they’ve done for us, it makes us doubt their character moving forward.

Perhaps your best bet is to calm your emotions and consider what you know about this guy’s character thus far. 

Has he earned your trust? Is he the type of guy who’d lie to get away with hurting you? Would he only lie to protect your feelings?

These questions can go a long way to helping you accurately decipher the motive of a lie.

What To Do When He Lies To You?

If this man’s lie has hurt your impression of him and is likely to affect your relationship moving forward, it’s always best to call him out. 

Calmly tell him that you know he lied and present the evidence.

Explain why it hurt your feelings and ask him why he lied. 

At this point, he’ll only have three real options.

  • He may continue to lie and lie. This is a foolish move on his part as he’ll surely destroy your trust even further.
  • He may admit it was a completely selfish move driven by lust, greed, ego or some other weakness. This is disappointing, but at least he’s being honest now. 
  • He may try to convince you that he lied with your best interests at heart. At this point, it’s down to you to listen, read his body language and consider whether he’s being honest. 

Now, it’s down to you to consider whether you want to remain in whatever relationship you have with this man.

If you feel unable to trust this man moving forward, it’s usually best to cut ties. This lack of trust will cause so many relationship issues in the future. Trust is regarded as the most valuable component of a relationship, after all.

Of course, it may be that you find the action he lied about to be unforgivable and want nothing to do with him for that reason.

However, if you conclude that this man is generally remorseful, I’d suggest it’s possible to move past this incident and keep enjoying your time together.

Anyway, my guide on what to do when you’re being fooled by someone you love will help you make this decision.    

Why Do Men Lie: Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s round off this guide with the answers to some frequently asked questions around the topic of why do men lie. 

When A Man Is Lying
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How Can I Tell When A Man Is Lying?

The most obvious tells of men lying are: 

  • poor eye contact;
  • stuttering; 
  • stories with holes in them;
  • excessive fidgeting or unusual body language;
  • unusual vocal tone, such as a higher pitch than normal. 

Even great liars won’t be able to prevent all of these subconscious tells during their tall tales. 

If your intuition tells you a man is telling big whoppers, it’s good to listen to that. Most women have a great sense of authenticity. Unless you generally struggle with trust issues, there would be no reason for you to suspect someone of lying unless they were giving you reasons to.

Why Does He Keep Lying?

Here are the most common reasons a man will keep lying compulsively to you.

  • He continues to think he won’t get caught. 
  • He doesn’t value your opinion of him. 
  • He believes you’ll keep forgiving him. 
  • He’s some sort of sociopath or has issues with his mental health. 

Either way, it’s best to distance yourself from a man like this, rather than to keep falling victim to his destructive lies. 

Not all men are good apples and it will be difficult to ever trust this guy or get him to change. 

If A Man Lies To You Does He Love You?

There are two schools of thought here.

It could be argued that a man would never tell a lie to someone he truly loved and respected.

On the other hand, a man could argue that he lies to protect a woman’s feelings because he loves her so much. 

Hopefully, this guide has illustrated how both realities could be true. 

Ultimately, the correct answer depends on what the lie is about and whether it was made for selfish reasons. 

Do Men Lie More Than Women?

If you enter this age-old question into a search engine, you’ll be presented with links to several studies that conclude men lie more than women. One study suggested men lie 4% more often than women lie. Another concluded that men lie twice as much!

With that said, there have been a couple of studies which suggest that women lie more…

So, the truth remains unclear! Perhaps that’s why it makes such a great conversation-starter…

However, a common theme of these studies surrounded the reasons men lie and the reasons women lie. It was generally accepted that most women lie more to spare others’ feelings, while men lie more for selfish reasons. 

Any More Questions?

Thanks for reading my guide on the reasons men lie. I hope it helps to improve your relationships with the men in your life.

If you have a question about why men lie, feel free to ask it in the comments section below. 

It would be great to hear from you – and I’ll do my best to answer honestly ;).

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.