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Ugochi V. Ukah: Why You Always Lying?

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There is a common saying that, “all liars go to hell”. Personally, I doubt it for various reasons – including the fact that I don’t believe that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, (who lied about laughing when she was told that she would bear a child in her old age) ended up in hell. That aside, lying is a bad habit and if not controlled, can turn into a disgusting character.

People pick up lying habits from different places – sometimes from television, friends, teachers and even their parents! It could begin from simple things like one asking his or her child to tell a visitor that he or she is not in the house. They become more complicated lies like denial after stealing.

The environment in which one is brought up has a lot of do with shaping one’s moral virtues. I never felt like I had a reason to tell a lie until I got into a boarding secondary school. After being bullied for a whole term, I had to report to my parents, who handed me over to a new guardian. I remember the first words she told me “Don’t you see your mates? You have to be sharp! You must learn how to lie and how to zap!” (zap was a slang for evading people especially senior students, errands and punishments). After that day, I believed that I had received authority from a higher place to lie. So my lies started with excuses like “I’m not feeling fine – I’m having asthma, chest pain, menstrual pain, vertigo, measles, chicken pox, broken ankle…” the sicknesses were unending. Initially I felt bad after each lie and sometimes I would cry and run straight for confession immediately, but after a while, my heart became hardened and my confession periods were cut down dramatically. In fact, I almost did not see lying as a sin anymore or I just assumed that it was one that could easily be forgiven as long as I was not hurting anybody directly.

My environment was a huge contributing factor because almost everyone in my school told lies, especially the junior students to aid survival. For every big lie I thought I had told, I would hear an even bigger one from someone else. I had heard a girl say that their grandparents were into juju (voodoo) and so if a senior student punished them, evil will befall them; junior students always claimed that they had spat into their bucket or bottle of water to prevent seniors from using them during water scarcity (I can’t say for sure that this one is exactly a lie though); some would lie about their provisions being stolen (the seniors especially) so that others would contribute and give them more; some had self-diagnosed allergies to toilet bacteria (don’t ask me what this means please) so that they would not be given a toilet cleaning duty; a few always claimed that they went abroad for summer and then came back with fake accents. One time, a classmate of mine claimed that she had suddenly been touched (I have no clue of what/who touched her) and then started preaching afterwards. When I asked her about it a year later, she laughed, winked at me and then whispered “You know every”; I could only shake my head. So basically, lying was important to get you out of trouble or to make you popular in my school.

My favorite ‘liar’ was a girl called Esther, who was in the same dormitory as I was. Back then, my school had a policy of fining students for returning late to school at the beginning of a term unless one had a good excuse as determined by their house-mistress. Therefore, the house-mistresses for each dormitory would sign each student in and if one were a day or more late, she would be fined.
Esther was a sharp babe; the first term she returned to school late, she told our housemistress, Mrs. Bassey, that she had just lost her beloved grandmother. Mrs. Bassey was very sympathetic especially as Esther began to wail and talk about how close she had been with her grand-mum.

I did not believe her but she was not fined. I got to find out later that her grandmother was actually late but the event had happened many years ago. The next term, Esther was late to school again; this time her grandfather had died because he could not bear the loss of his beloved wife. Again, Mrs. Bassey showed empathy and did not fine her. She continued with these stories until one term something happened. Once again, Esther was strolling in shakenly as usual, four days after the actual resumption date. I smiled to myself, waiting to hear what she had to say since she had lost all her remaining grandparents. It was almost as if Mrs. Bassey had read my mind because the moment she saw Esther, she shouted “Ehen! Who has died this time?” People around burst laughing and even Esther was so embarrassed that she could not think of anything to say; she paid the fine for the very first time.

After that episode, Mrs. Bassey launched into a preaching mode where she told us about the power of the tongue and the disadvantages of lying as you could end up cursing yourself. For instance, if one always claimed that she were ill, she might actually end up being ill e.t.c. She also expressed concern about us leaving school with such a bad habit and taking it elsewhere.
This was also a worry to me as I was becoming addicted and sometimes found myself lying unnecessarily at home during the holidays. Therefore, I made a promise to myself to quit lying (or at least try to) once I graduated, because I did not think there was any other way to pass through my secondary school.

I have since reduced the trend, although occasionally, I am compelled to say things that I don’t really mean like “You look good”, “I will think about it” or “I was just about to call you”, depending on the situation but I continue to try my best to be an honest person. Inasmuch as I think that adults should have fewer reasons to lie, I still meet a lot of people who tell so many white lies that I cannot help wondering if they have always been this way. Some lie in a more subtle ‘humblebragging’ manner e.g. ‘I almost bought a Gucci bag but there was no place for me to change my pounds to dollars and so I could not pay.’

For me, lies are more annoying when they are completely unwarranted; (especially if the liar was not even asked any question) or in situations that have a long-term impact – such as one’s sexuality or disease status.

Regardless of what may be, one has to be cautious about lying, because it can grow on like a disease and often requires more lies to be sustained.

As the year is drawing to an end, let us review our bad habits and try to be better. There are many ways to get around uncomfortable situations without lying; ‘Honesty will always remain the best policy’.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Paul Hakimata

Ugochi V Ukah is a student and loves writing in her spare time; using sarcasm, humour and wit to relay her thoughts. Visit her blog for more stories at: www.ugochivukah.blogspot.com and follow her on twitter @vivio_gogo and IG: @ugochiukah

11 Comments

  1. XXXX

    December 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I didn’t even read the article just the title. I lie a lot a whole lot. It saves time, energy and money It also saves me from heartbreak and lazy broke ass!!!! L.I. has got nothing on me.

    • stop lie lie

      December 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      So this your comment is lie then kmt

    • Mamacita

      December 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Ugochi, did we attend the same secondary school? I had a “touched” classmate too, she laid hands on people, spoke in tongues and saw visions. She saw the four horsemen of the apocalypse in 1993 and well, last time I checked, we are still here!

      I felt sad that I couldn’t speak in tongues and didn’t fall like a lot of the girls in my year but at least, in my young mind, I was glad my mom never gave in to “relaxing” my hair so I had a chance at making heaven.

  2. Omotoyosi

    December 17, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    I love what i read especially the third lie Esther was about to tell when the mistress interrupted. I had a good laugh (Who died again?)…. I wouldnt say I lie, maybe i will just say i try to cover up for some of my close friends/family… something happened recently while trying to cover a cousin’s ass and ended up being in trouble. I felt so heartbroken and told myself nobody is just worth the stress abeg. (Person wey dem wan burn before wey go use oil rub body)

    On the second thought, if you are a customer care representative, You MUST learn how to lie very well, especially covering-up for your company. As a matter of fact, the client doesn’t know what is happening back-end, it is what you tell them convincingly that they will believe and also understand.

    The only thing i intend to change in 2016 is lying… most especially lying to cover up for people that already have themselves in trouble…

    Thanks for this piece… it was worth the reading

  3. The real D

    December 17, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Lmso @ the Gucci bag lie. Do I tell small small lies, yes I do and yes i feel guilty after wards and be confessing. Like I will tell my hubby ” I am not trying to tell you what to do” just giving my 2 cents, the choice is ultimately yours kinda deal but I am telling him what he had better do and if he doesn’t i go vex and be forming “my opinion does not matter to you.”
    All the same, yes i believe has one becomes independent the need to lie should begin to diminish. One thing my former co-workers knew for sure was that if I ever told you “you look good”. The were definitely on point, because if you were looking ok or not good, I will not say nada!!! and incident happened once when a co worker told another colleague that her outfit was not it, she really did look a bouquet of flowers and it was not werking at all. She came to me and bfw (best friend at work) then to ask our opinion. BFW was still trying to do Ms. diplomacy. when co-worker turned to me and said you always tell me when i look good so do you think i look good today. I told home girl….naaahhh that floral business is not doing nothing positive for you right now. That was the last time she wore that hideous outfit.

  4. Honeycrown

    December 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I’ve always had a big mouth so I’ve always said it like it is which made lying kinda not my forte. Not because I didn’t even want to lie but if you’re like me or understand what I mean, I just can’t help it. I even plan out the lie so well and when faced with the situation, I just tell the truth and because of this I got into more trouble than necessary. By my 3rd year in boarding house after I’ve gotten into so much trouble, I learned to lie for survival o! I came back with a vengeance. In dire situations, my close friends and I used to verify eachother lies so tey the Sick bay and guadiance & counsellor had to ban our group from “witnessing”.
    With the other scenarios the writer mentioned, I think every boarding school had at least one repeat offender liar that told “outta this world” stories and funny thing is, rumor has it that those chics back are still telling Irrelevant lies about their social status, career, relationship etc.
    Now as an adult I’m just more tactful. Lying is so irrelevant to me these days because I don’t need it to survive and definitely don’t need it to impress or be accepted.

  5. D

    December 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    So I met this somborri I use to know after so many years and he went all out to impress me with how much he has achieved, how he his now a “big boy” (he still drive pencil, not to brag I try for car department) and offered me a ride as we got to his car n.a. so dude started acting; ye ye ye ah ah ah chai they’ve forcefully opened his car and they stole so so so amount .checked the small compartment in front and was like hmmm at least the cash there was safe. Omo n.a. so I wear poker face o.I just eeyah cause really dude can lie for Africa and I would be extremely surprise if e no lie at all. Did everything to get me to comment more,i just sealed my mouth when he realize that I didn’t believe his story he now stylishly started asking me for cash kikikiki I just shook my head and told him please I wan alight once we get to so so place.bad business for him asked for my number to take me out on a date I told him am married so no show.
    I once told a big 1 to escape cutting grass when I was secondary school.I was admitted in the hospital so when I got back to school told the seniors that the doctor said I don’t have a vein so if I stress my hands to much the soft bone connecting my bones would break and I won’t be able to use my hands again kai N.a. so everybody hands off even my sister believe the story cause she stopped sending me on errands. Still can’t believe I said that but you gats survive boarding house one way or the other.

  6. brown-ice

    December 17, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I have this friend that can lie for her generation, she could say stuffs like “my boyfriend was chilling in my room and I just came out the shower to grab my undies and run back into the bathroom to dress up, I’m so shy” really? For real babe?, I simply call her Linus mba these days.

  7. figah

    December 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    So it was the beginning of a new term in secondary school and as usual I didn’t resume after 2 weeks and when I finally resumed I started hearing stories about a new transferred students who claims to be from a very wealthy home. She had told a lot of lies in 2 weeks. As a professional amebo I decided to get to the root of the matter and I got close to her and started hearing lies about how her dad came from london the previous night and gave her chocolate and cake and went back immediately. I also heard about her rich boyfriend who was suppose to take her to mall on her birthday. She told me about landed properties worth millions…bla bla bla. If you see the cheap sandals she use to wear to school ehn. She couldn’t even afford to buy text books and she begged for money to but food during break time giving excuses why she didn’t bring money to school.

  8. Nammy

    December 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I lied a lot during nysc orientation, I think that was when I lied most, from my head is aching so I cannot double to I hit my leg on the bunk so I can’t wear sneakers, to lying to the doctors in clinic so they could exempt me from certain activities.
    On a general note I lie to get away from trouble or to avoid pple.

  9. Ukah Odichinma Cynthia

    December 18, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    that’s how an Esther in my life said she has swimming pool in her village house……Hiss! She went to your school too, so now i get it

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