A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

12 Things You Should Never Lie About

You might think that lying is a gracious way to address a situation or avoid awkward discussions. In reality, lies can jeopardize finances, health, and much more. Here are the top 12 things to never lie about—and why.

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Don’t lie about your income on tax returns

Who doesn’t want a refund at tax time? Just don’t get carried away thinking that a fib here and there could land you more money. Take it from the noted tax gurus at H&R Block: They say that telling lies on your return could lead to being audited, losing out on future tax credits, and spending time and money for legal assistance.

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Don’t lie about your assets during bankruptcy

If you end up in this unpleasant bind, says Debt.org author Bill Fay, don’t hide assets. “If you purposely leave out assets or income when trying to help your qualification, your case could be dismissed,” he writes. In short, he suggests being honest, noting that bankruptcy deceptions rarely go unnoticed.

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Don’t lie about career experiences on your resume

Workplace writer Alison Green notes that lying on a resume is not a wise move—problems can emerge during your interview. When the interviewer wants to delve deeper into your exaggerated career experiences, you risk getting caught in the lie. Green explains that there’s “a good chance you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you’re having to build on the lie, spin more details, and generally weave a more complicated web.” Here are some ways to write a resume that will get you hired.

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Don’t lie about how easy your work ideas flow

When someone asks how you seem to work with such ease and you lie by saying that ideas always come with minimal effort, you end up putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Be real about how easy (or challenging) some tasks are. It’s what entrepreneur Peter Shankman does, the founder of the Faster than Normal ADHD podcast. He says he’s sometimes tempted to lie—to himself and those who ask—about how easily his writing flows. “Then when I can’t keep a straight face anymore,” he explains, “I tell them that writing is hard, coming up with ideas is hard…And that’s OK!” He encourages people to see lulls as welcome breaks.

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Psychotherapy session, woman talking to his psychologist in the studio

Don’t lie to your therapist about your actions or feelings

“Why would anyone pay good money and make the commitment to go to psychotherapy only to lie during their therapy sessions?” asks Julia Breur, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist who owns a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton, Florida. She says that people lie usually because of shame, denial, or the belief that the truth isn’t relevant to their situation. This will only hinder personal growth, she warns. Check out these telltale signs you should start seeing a therapist—and if you see one, be truthful.

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Don’t lie about drug and/or alcohol use

Another thing you should be honest with your therapist about: How often you use drugs and/or alcohol. You could be setting yourself up for serious problems. Among them, according to Dr. Breur: Job loss, divorce, and permanent health conditions.  Telling your therapist the truth can help you work through these addictions.

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Don’t lie about your sun exposure and tanning habits

If you play down your tanning bed time to your dermatologist, you won’t be fooling your doctor, but you could be putting yourself at risk, says Richard Torbeck, MD, a Mohs and cosmetic dermatology surgeon at Advanced Dermatology PC in New York City. He hears these lies often and explains that the obvious change in your skin’s hue reveals the truth. These behaviors can lead to skin cancers like melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma and by lying about your sun exposure, you could lead your doctor to overlook serious skin changes. Check out these common sunscreen mistakes.

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Don’t lie to your doctor about treatment

If your doctor prescribes a treatment—whether it’s a pill, physical therapy, or diet change—it’s for good reason. “We give patients the tools to help them heal,” says Dr. Torbeck. However, he says that some patients who are supposed to apply a steroid cream have lied about usage, so it’s no surprise they still itch in affected areas. “It’s important for patients to help themselves too,” he says.

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A woman is taking off her wedding ring from her finger.

Don’t lie about your feelings to your spouse

“Even if you think your lying is ‘innocent’ to protect your partner’s feelings, it will only harm them and the bond you both have in the long run,” says Aniesa Hanson, a licensed counselor at Aniesa Hanson Counseling in Tampa, Florida. “Trust is the primary pillar of love and connection. Lying only puts cracks in this pillar and you can’t afford that to happen.” She suggests learning to be more assertive rather than avoiding or lying about difficult topics in your marriage. Otherwise, trust between partners can fade over time.

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Don’t lie to your close friends about your true thoughts

If you want to maintain a solid friendship, don’t lie about your thoughts. “Just like all other relationships, friendships are based on authenticity,” says Hanson. “You can’t be authentic if you’re not being honest.” She explains that authenticity creates the vulnerability and trust between friends that ultimately establish a deeper connection. Keep things honest to strengthen your friendship.

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Don’t lie about your weight loss efforts

Saying that you’re exercising and shunning junk foods while you’re really trading the bicycle for a burrito five days a week can be problematic. Doctors take your weight gain as a reason to start looking for an underlying cause for your weight gain—such as cancer or thyroid trouble. The deeper probing may leave you with more bills, on dangerous medications, and put your health even further at risk; don’t lie to your physician. Instead, ask about these 50 weight-loss breakthroughs doctors wish you knew.

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Patient's hand explaining for doctor

Don’t lie to your doctor about your hobbies

If you’ve told your doctor that you really don’t have hobbies when you’re really an avid skier who experiences occasional knee pain, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Come clean about your hobbies, advise the experts at WebMD, as your activities may provide your doctor with health-saving insight. For example, your posture while writing a book or bending over a woodworking bench could contribute to neck issues. Or, if you love oil-painting, you could be exposed to headache-inducing fumes your doctor should know about. Now, try to stop telling these little white lies everyone is guilty of telling, too.