- Nearly all Brits (91%) admit that they have told a lie at some point
- Nearly one in five (19%) youngsters (aged 18-24) admit to lying on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook to make their lives seem more interesting
- More than two-fifths of Brits (43%) think it is sometimes necessary to lie
- A quarter of Brits (25%) say they will happily tell a lie if they think it won’t hurt anybody
The average Brit tells more than 10 lies a week, according to new research from Confused.com. Whether it’s a tiny lie about how much they drank in the pub on the weekend, or a whopper about how much they spent on a new handbag, more than two-fifths (43%) of us claim it’s sometimes necessary to lie.
While most Brits admit to having told a lie at some point in their lives (91%), one in 20 (5%) say they don’t think lying is ever acceptable. People also seem to have a gradient of lies; over half (55%) say they sometimes stretch the truth, whilst just over a quarter (27%) say they think white lies are acceptable. Though some have a blasé attitude when it comes to telling the truth, a quarter of Brits (25%) are considerate liars, admitting they would only lie if they know it wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Whilst some people don’t have a problem with little white lies, the most common thing Brits lie about is their vices. The most common untruth told relates to how much something costs, with over two-fifths of people (41%) admitting to dishonesty in relation to the price of things. A quarter of Brits (25%) also lie about how much alcohol they drink whilst just under a quarter (23%) bend the truth about their eating habits.
Relationships are also a cause for deception, with more than one in seven (16%) saying they have been untruthful about a past relationship, with a similar number (14%) admitting that they lie about who they were with last night. Some salacious Brits (7%) even lie about their relationship status.
Britons Top 10 Lies
How much something cost 41%
Whether something was wrong 33%
Reasons for missing someone’s call 32%
Reasons for lateness 31%
How much alcohol you drink 25%
Eating habits 23%
How much a person smokes 18%
Past relationships 16%
Where a person went last night 15%
Who a person was with last night 14%
As social media has increased in popularity, a small proportion of Brits (7%) have taken to lying on sites such as Facebook and Twitter to make themselves seem more interesting. And the younger generation are the worst culprits for this, with nearly one in five 18-24 year olds (19%) admitting to doing this. Interestingly, one in seven (15%) Brits have noticed their friends and family lying on social media, whether it be to make themselves look better or to simply join in with ‘trending’ topics.
When it comes to the most honest gender, women are more likely to tell white lies with over two thirds of women (67%) admitting they sometimes tell white lies compared to less than three-fifths of men (58%). The most common lie for both sexes is how much something cost but females are more likely to lie about it; three in seven (45%) women lie about this compared to just over a third of men (36%).
Men are more likely to lie about how much they drink with more than a quarter (28%) lying about this compared to just over a fifth (23%) of women. And men (17%) are more likely to lie about where they were the night before than women (12%). Women are more likely to lie about their eating habits with more than a quarter (28%) fabricating this compared to just under a fifth (18%) of men. Women are also more likely to lie about why they missed your call with over a third (38%) lying about this compared to a quarter of men (25%).
And it would seem that British parents have the most reason to be distrustful, with over half of the population admitting that they lie to their parents (54%). Friends may also have to be fearful of some falsification, as nearly half of Brits (48%) say they lie to their friends, with partners (46%) also having to see through some lies.
Many Brits also don’t see a problem lying to their boss with just over two-fifths (41%) saying they have lied to theirs. And when it comes to dishonesty in the workplace, the lies clearly start early as nearly one in seven (13%) say they have lied on their CV with nearly one in seven (13%) saying they have lied on a job application.
Nearly one in seven (13%) Brits even admit to lying when they take out an insurance policy. Of those who say they have lied on their application forms, more than two-fifths (44%) say they did it to save money on their insurance policy. Nearly a third (31%) did it to make themselves sound better and a quarter (25%) did it because they were embarrassed about something – over a fifth (21%) did it to ensure they were accepted for the policy.
People may think that saying they don’t smoke when they do or claiming that they drink less alcohol than they really do isn’t a big deal, however they may not realise that it could cause problems with their policy in the long run – particularly when it comes to life insurance. A little white lie to a friend might not cause any trouble on a day to day basis but a lie on an insurance application is incredibly serious in comparison and they could have serious repercussions further down the line.
Top five Insurance Application Lies
How much alcohol I drink 26%
Any past illnesses 24%
How much I smoked 21%
My age 18%
Relationship status 11%
According to research by the Association of British Insurers research, the most common reason for life insurance claims being declined is non-disclosure of information2. Non-disclosure of information is when a policy holder withholds information relevant to their insurance policy. A customer lying on their life insurance application could result in a claim being denied or their loved ones only receiving a percentage of the pay-out. When it comes to life insurance, this could mean your loved ones missing out.
Matt Lloyd, head of Life Insurance at Confused.com, said:
“It’s not surprising to see that the majority of Brits (91%) have told a lie at some point – little white lies are part and parcel of daily life; whether it’s about what a person had for lunch or how much something cost. However, it’s alarming to see that nearly one in seven (13%) have lied on their insurance application.”
“If lies are told whilst applying for life insurance it could have very serious consequences. If insurers prove a claimant has lied or withheld information on their application, they could reject a claim or only pay a percentage of it. This is because the terms of acceptance offered may have been different if the applicant provided accurate information when they took the policy out.”
“Life insurance provides financial protection for your loved ones in the event of your death. By withholding or misrepresenting information you could be risking your loved ones’ chances of benefiting from your policy. That’s why it’s important to answer all questions in your application truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.”
Notes to Editors
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults. The research was conducted between 3rd November and 5th November 2014.
1. The average Brit says they lie 1.45 times a day; this is multiplied by seven to get the average weekly figure. 1.45 x 7 = 10.15, which is more than 10 times per week
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