The keynote speaker at one seminar I attended made this statement – “We all wear masks”. As I pondered on what possible meanings that statement might have, I realised that this is a general summation of humanity. Regardless of whom we are and at different times in our lives, we all wear masks.
What, then, is a mask? Generally speaking, a mask is a covering for the face. It is a covering for part, or all, of the face, worn to conceal a person’s identity. It is a grotesque or humorous face worn at carnivals, masquerades, etc. Anything that disguises or conceals (e.g. pretense), is a mask. A person might be hurting badly, and conceal it with a great big smile – Masks! Psychologists say that if a person tells you several times during a conversation “I’m not lying”, he usually is lying. Masks!Lots of people have different masks for different days, and perhaps different occasions. Masks are those things that allow us to assume that we are different from other people.
I read an article in Psychology Today titled “The Truth About Lying” written by Peter Doskoch. In it, Peter quoted a study of psychologist and lying expert Bella DePaulo, Ph.D, who had carried out research and concluded that “occasionally a person will insist that he or she can be entirely truthful for three or four weeks. But no one ever succeeds.” “Everyday lies are really part of the fabric of social life,” says DePaulo, a university professor. He thinks its “because people want to be accepted, and because, sometimes telling things as they actually are, can be damaging to people’s hearts and relationships, so people stretch the truth a little, some more often that others.” The problem arises though, when the liar starts believing that he is telling the truth. He becomes seriously deluded, while people around him, except him, can see that he is being untruthful, and perhaps, crafty. Usually, it wont be very long before the majority of people discover the masks. While some lies damage relationships and destroy trust, other fibs fulfil important interpersonal functions, like smoothing over awkward situations or protecting fragile egos.
But how often do people lie, and when do they do it? DePaulo and colleagues asked 77 college students and 70 community members to keep a diary detailing each lie THEY told. The students, it turned out, admitted to lying, an average of twice a day, while local residents lied half as often. Among the study’s other findings:
* Community members lied in one-fifth of their social interactions; students, one-third. * Lying was more common in phone calls than in face-to-face chats. * One lie in seven was discovered–as far as the liars could tell. * A tenth of the lies were merely exaggerations, while 60 percent were outright deceptions. Most of the rest were subtle lies, often of omission. * More than 70 percent of liars would tell their lies again.
No one has ever succeeded in telling the absolute …