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Why do people "bend the truth"? Consider a time you may have "bent" the truth in order to get what you wanted.

Quick answer:

As the question implies, people bend the truth to get what they want. For instance, a boy who doesn't want to go to school pretends to be ill so he can have the day off. Generally speaking, such little white lies are harmless, unless they constitute a pattern of pathological lying.

Expert Answers

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Bending the truth is generally regarded as the least unacceptable form of lying. For the most part, it tends not to have serious consequences either for the liar or the person or people to whom the lie is told. This contrasts with big lies, which most certainly do have a negative impact.

For instance, if I'm about to get married to someone and I tell her that this is my first marriage when in actual fact it's my seventh, then there are likely to be major problems further on down the line, especially if I'm still married to one of my previous wives.

Bending the truth, like all forms of untruth, is concerned with getting what we want. All of us at some point in our lives have been economical with the truth in the hope that we will get something in return.

A common example, and one that comes from personal experience, is pretending to be sick in order to get the day off school. The child in question wants something—to stay at home—and so falsely claims to be ill. This is, generally speaking, fairly harmless, though certainly not something to be condoned.

Where problems arise is when such little while lies form a pattern of lying that can be identified as pathological lying. Pathological lying is most certainly not harmless and can indicate certain personality disorders that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

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