Lies by Omission? (Female; Age 14; New Jersey)

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Lies can have many different shapes sizes and forms, but how does one differentiate between the truthand a lie? Here are some questions and answers that may help.

lies Between April and June 2009, Tagged sent tens ...

Between April and June 2009, Tagged sent tens of millions of misleading spam emails like the one above, which falsely states a contact sent photographs to the recipient. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q- When you purposely leave out information from the truth, is that lying?
A – Yes. Lying by omission is when you exclude details in order to mislead someone from finding out the truth. You can lie without saying anything false just as easily as you can by speaking an actual lie.
Example: You spent an hour studying and the rest of the night watching TV. Your parents ask you what you did that night and you answer back that you studied. While it is true that you studied, you are not telling them a majority of what you did, and are therefore, lying by omission.

Q- If you were to just mislead someone, not straight out lies, is that a mistruth?
A – Absolutely. Misleading is still lying.
Example: Your mom tells you to talk to the new girl on the block. You say hi and leave. If you tell your mom that you talked to her, you are
misleading her. While you may have spoken to her, you know that that is not what your mom meant by “talk” so you are purposely misleading her to
think something that is not true.

Q- Is it ever ok to lie?
A – While lying is definitely wrong, there are certain exceptions when it is ok to lie. If you were to save somebody either emotionally or physically, then lying might be ok as long as you do not hurt anyone else.
Example: You eat at your friend’s house for dinner and she serves you meatballs that she made herself. You thought that they tasted awful but you don’t want to hurt her feelings. It would be ok to tell her that they were good because you want to spare her feelings and it would not hurt anyone else. It would probably be best not to go out of your way to say that you liked them, but if she asks what you think, than you can say they were good.

Any Thoughts on Lies?

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  • Your post is right on! Lies of omission are the most common lies, but the easiest to spot if you are paying attention. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dimitry Manousevich

      how do you spot them ?

      • Dimitry, look for what I call “pothole” words. These are words that indicate something is missing. Words like “after that”, “then”, “later”, “afterwards” and so on. These words indicate the speaker/writer is leaving information out (omitting). Of course, these words can be used legitimately, but if you hear one and it sounds like the speaker just glossed over something, then seek clarification. There are two reasons people leave information out- they either don’t think it is important, or they don’t want you to know it. If you’re interested, check out my blog ( for more information on body language and deception detection.