You probably think that if you decide not to say something, it’s not a lie.
When you don’t say something important to someone, you’re not lying, right?
Why is not saying something the same as lying? Because it aims for the same things as direct lying and has the same consequences.
As much as you think that if we use some white lies to do no harm, it is not true.
You may have noticed that you are losing credibility with people at work or that people close to you do not trust you.
How is that possible when you don’t tell lies directly?
The fact that you decide to tell partial truths and remain silent when asked about something does not mean that people have not already recognized this way of your behavior.
In this article, we will explain why not saying something is the same as lying, as well as the consequences of it.
Is Not Telling Something to Someone Lying? 6 Reasons
When we don’t tell someone something, hide the truth, or make it too complicated for someone to understand, we do the same thing as lying.
For these reasons, not telling something to someone is the same as lying:
1. You Avoid Responsibility
Lies are a common choice for avoiding responsibility, and it’s probably even better for many when they don’t even say something they could be held accountable for.
Let’s say there is a huge malfunction at work, and the safety inspector is looking for who caused the malfunction.
You are the one who did it, or you know who did it, but you don’t want to say it.
Why would you tell when you can have consequences for it later? You choose to remain silent.
It’s not good to give away what others are doing, but what if you’re hurting everyone at work by hiding it?
Withholding the truth does not mean that you are not lying and not doing something wrong.
Here’s an example: Your wife suspects you’re cheating on her with a female colleague from work.
That’s not true, and you tell her that.
But you’re cheating on her with a girl you met at the gym.
You didn’t lie to your wife when she asked if you were cheating on her with a colleague, but you covered up the truth that you were cheating on her with someone else.
You do all that because you don’t want the consequences, such as arguments and divorce.
2. You Achieve Benefits
If when you decide not to say something, and you get the same benefits that you would get from lying, it’s the same as if you lied.
Let’s say you decide not to say something about yourself to get a job.
You may not be qualified enough and may cause damage because of it.
But still, you decide to keep quiet just to achieve your goal, regardless of the outcomes.
3. You are Hiding Something For Someone
Nobody likes blabbermouths, and you shouldn’t be one.
But you are doing him a counter favor, and that person can also drag you down when his lies are revealed, and you are hiding those lies.
It’s okay that people find you trustworthy, but make sure you don’t suffer any consequences because you hide the truth from others.
5. You Convince Yourself That it is Normal to Withhold The Truth
If lying is not a problem for you, then this is not a problem at all.
You may also think you’re not doing anything wrong when you don’t say something.
No one asks you anything, so you don’t have to say anything. Don’t ask, don’t tell, right?
We must also mention how normalized lies are in today’s society.
According to the survey, about 75 % of respondents told zero to two daily lies. Lying comprised 7 % of total communication, and almost 90% of all lies were little white lies.
These white lies seem to have become a part of everyday life for many of us.
The plain truth can cause us to hurt that person, so white lies seem like a better choice.
That’s why, for example, you don’t want to comment on your wife’s weight because you know she’ll get angry.
When she asks you about it, you decide to keep quiet, change the subject, etc., just to get out of the situation.
And you don’t consider that she may have health problems that caused her to gain those extra pounds, and she may even be depressed.
6. Withholding The Truth Has The Same Consequences as Lying
You know how it is with lying: you have short-term benefits but usually long-term consequences.
Unless you are some mastermind of lying, or nobody catches you in a lie.
And even then, maybe your conscience is kicking you because of all you achieved by lying.
Finding out that you withheld the truth or didn’t tell some crucial information that you know can lead to the same consequences as if you said straight lies.
Those consequences for you can be:
- Loss of trust by close persons;
- Loss of credibility at work;
- Nobody takes you seriously anymore;
- Restless mind and anxiety because you are troubled by information that you have withheld, which could mean something to someone;
- Guilty conscience if you harmed someone with your silence;
- You can have financial consequences or even end up in prison.
As you can tell, the consequences are the same as if you told outright lies.
You may not lie directly, but you can easily become the boy who cried wolf so that no one believes you, even when you tell the truth.
How Do Others Know That You Are Not Telling The Whole Truth?
When you withhold the truth, you behave similarly to when you lie.
This is logical because we have already established that withholding the truth is a form of lying.
Unless you’re an expert at lying, these signs usually give you away:
1. You Change Your Body Position Quickly
Behavioral analyst Dr. Lillian Glass writes: When someone lies, “The head will be retracted or jerked back, bowed down, or cocked or tilted to the side.”
People who lie have a habit of changing their body position when they lie.
2. You Touch or Cover Your Mouth
There is clear symbolism here.
What bothers you is that you don’t say or that you are going to remain silent.
In this way, you try to protect yourself from further communication.
3. It is Difficult For You to Maintain Eye Contact
“The eyes, chico, they never lie.”
The eyes are the mirror of the soul, and when someone looks into our eyes, we feel they are looking into our soul.
We don’t want them to see that we’re lying.
Also, when you hide some information, you blink too frequently.
4. Your Voice and Breathing Change
Both result from excitement and increased adrenaline when you don’t tell the whole truth.
Your voice may be raised, and your intonation may change.
Breathing becomes heavier because you get too excited. You can’t catch your breath.
5. You Give Too Little or Too Much Information
Both too little and too much information are ways to protect yourself while hiding the truth.
Maybe you are not very creative, so the information you provide is limited.
And maybe you give too much information, hoping to confuse the interlocutor.
6. You Can’t Keep The Flow of The Story
You will likely get confused if you try to make up and hide something.
Imagine that someone asks you to repeat the whole story from the beginning. Then you would just get totally lost in your own lies.
How Do You Stop Not Saying Something and Always Tell The Truth?
Do you want to stop lying, hiding the truth, and telling half-truths?
Try these steps:
- Ask yourself how your lying affects other people – Just put yourself on the opposite side. How would you feel if someone hid the truth from you and kept something important from you?
- How does lying affect your coincidences – You probably feel like you are manipulating and doing bad things to other people. All this can negatively affect your conscience and make you think you are bad.
- Accept responsibility for your actions – It is better to stand behind your efforts than to accumulate lies that can hit you like a boomerang when you least expect it.
- Work on yourself – When you have to lie about something, you are not satisfied with something in your life. Work to change that.
There is an equal sign between lying and not saying something.
As hard as the truth can be, it should always be your choice.
“Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.”
Do not allow yourself to hurt others, for them to lose trust in you, and to overload yourself with lies.
“Hidden truths are unspoken lies.”