A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

10 Most Common Things Men Lie About

Whether they tell white lies or real whoppers, everyone bends the truth. Experts reveal the things men are most likely to fib about—and why.

1 / 10
12 Silent Signs Your Lungs Could Be in Trouble

Their height

A study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology assessing 80 online daters rated the accuracy of their dating profiles and found that men tended to lie about their height, saying they were taller than they actually were. A full 55 percent of men in the study fudged at least a little about their height—the average American man is about 5’9″. Of course, we all fudge the truth now and again: Check out these 15 little lies people tell every day.

2 / 10
back to back male couple in casual wear, holding hands together, close up

Their feelings

Most people struggle with being vulnerable, but some experts say men may have an especially complicated relationship with vulnerability because of the cultural emphasis on male “strength.” One way this self-protection shows up in relationships is a guy saying nothing’s wrong when he’s actually struggling with something, says Sara Stanizai, a licensed psychotherapist and the owner of Prospect Therapy. “Men often feel they should be able to handle something on their own and don’t want to ‘bother’ their partner will the inconvenience of their feelings.” Or they may be trying to avoid an argument: “I work with people of all genders, so I have seen this across the board,” says Stanizai. “One of the most common reasons people conceal something—intentionally or not—is to avoid conflict. Ironically, most partners say ‘I wish you had just said something sooner,’ and the conflict ensues anyway because the other person feels kept in the dark.”

3 / 10
Top view. Close up unmade white bedding sheets and pillow, Messy bed after night sleep concept. textile background.
Elvira Koneva/Shutterstock

Their sexual performance

Up to 30 million American men under age 65 have erectile dysfunction, but many of them don’t want to admit it, Los Angeles urologist Dudley Danoff, MD, told Fox News. Often these men will come into his office for some other reason, says Dr. Danoff, and then casually ask for erectile dysfunction medicine samples on the way out as if it’s an afterthought. “Something can be done about it, but men have to fess up and let their doctor help them,” he says. Find out more lies everyone tells their doctor (and why they shouldn’t).

4 / 10
side view of depressed young man leaning on wall and looking away
LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Their mistakes

No one likes to let people down, and covering up failures is something folks of all genders are guilty of doing. Sometimes they’ll lie—even to themselves—to shift the blame. “They don’t want to disappoint you,” clinical psychologist David J. Ley, PhD, writes in Psychology Today. “[Men] are often worried about losing the respect of those around them. They want you to like them, be impressed, and value them. And they’re worried that the truth might lead you to reject or shame them.” But, notes Stanizai, friends, families, and lovers want to know the real you, “the sides you’re proud of and the sides you’re not.” Check out these weird lies that people tell each other.

5 / 10
Mind and I/Shutterstock

Their fantasies

“Everyone fantasizes about someone other than their partner now and then—lots while they’re actually having sex with them!” British relationship expert Tracey Cox writes in the Daily Mail. But men don’t want to admit that because they’re afraid that it’ll hurt or anger a partner. But, “what happens in his head really is his business—and same goes for you,” says Cox.

6 / 10
Handsome Afro American man wearing casual clothes in modern city sits near the building
Anastasiia Moiseieva/Shutterstock

Their mental state

“Men are less likely than women to express emotional vulnerability,” Will Courtenay, PhD, a psychotherapist in Oakland, CA, told Fox News. And men with depression are more likely to try to convince themselves they’re okay and deny what’s going on, says Courtenay. Another reason it can be tough for men to recognize or admit they have depression is that their symptoms may be different than expected. Men with depression may be angry or aggressive, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.

7 / 10
Man and woman,quarrel

Their past relationships

In a poll of 2,000 people, the British dating site Illicit Encounters found that 44 percent of men said they had lied to partners about cheating in previous relationships. Why? Because they didn’t want to scare off a potential new love, according to the UK newspaper the Metro. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of lie that can erode trust from the very beginning, and ultimately doom a relationship. On the other hand, check out these signs you can totally trust your partner.

8 / 10
Asian businessman professional failed or upset in his job and sitting on staircase. Business problem concept.

Their anger

“[Men] are afraid that they don’t have a ‘right’ to be angry about certain things,” says Stanizai. “Or that their anger is their own problem and they don’t want to bother their partner with it. They tell this lie because they fear judgment, [that] a conflict will ensue, or that it’s not a big enough deal, and that it will pass.” But anger that you deny or push away doesn’t dissolve, it just fades for a bit then comes back stronger—often when you least want it to. “What they don’t realize is that a loving partner wants to know their inner world, their likes and dislikes. They don’t want to be kept in the dark because sooner or later, the issue will reveal itself and the partner will be blindsided. Better to bring it up before it’s a big deal.”

9 / 10
Senior couple dancing

The fact that they need you

One of the most destructive lies that men tell—themselves, and others—is that they can go it alone, writes former journalist and book author Tor Constantino for The Good Men Project. “This is the lie of ‘rugged individualism’ most often foisted upon us via the media in the form of movie characters, fictionalized novels, pickup truck commercials, certain genres of music, cigarette ads in magazines…just to name a few,” says Constantino. “This is the most ludicrous lie of them all because we all need somebody—we’re social creatures that crave connection above almost everything else.”

10 / 10
Hundred dollar bills
Olena Bloshchynska/Shutterstock

Their income

In a survey of more than 1,300 single adults by Body LogicMD, nearly one in five men admitted to lying about their income to prospective dates. Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering how often people fib to impress potential lovers—87 percent of male online daters and 75 of female daters lied about at least one thing in their profiles, according to one study. But if financial lies—also known as “financial infidelity”—continue into a relationship, they can seriously undermine trust and cause long-term problems, according to research by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). “Sadly, financial infidelity can lead to more severe outcomes—for 10 percent [of the couples in our study], the infidelity ultimately led to divorce,” NEFE spokesman Paul Golden told The Week. “It’s a little like sexual infidelity—even something that seems benign can become a gateway to larger deceptions, like lying about debt.” And unfortunately, it’s one of the lies that can destroy your relationship if you don’t stop telling them.

Sunny Sea Gold
Sunny is a veteran health science and wellness journalist with more than 20 years of experience. Her work has appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Health, Eating Well, Parents, Fast Company, WebMD, TeenVogue, Redbook, Glamour, Seventeen and Men's Fitness.
She's held staff editor positions at Glamour, Seventeen and Redbook, been a contributing editor for Parents and earned three prestigious National Magazine Award nominations.
Her book Food: The Good Girl's Drug is about binge-eating disorder in young women.