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rebbel's avatar

Is there a name for this kind of lying?

Asked by rebbel (35471points) September 28th, 2011

…..and are you (sometimes) guilty of it?

I’ll give an example: You have an appointment with your dentist and you fear that he/she will have some critic on your maintenance.
You haven’t flossed as much and as regularly as you promised him/her, half a year ago.
You decide to tell him the following:
“Well, I have to be honest and say that I flossed 8 out of 10 times in reality it was 5 out of 10 times…., no, make that 7 out of 10 times.”
The correction no, make that 7 out of 10 times functions (you assume) as a making-your-statement-more-honest-sounding tactic.

Is there a name for this phenomenon (if it is at all a phenomenon)?
Do you do it? be honest :-)
Why do we do this?

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23 Answers

janbb's avatar

Depending on the state of your teeth, it might be considered a “white lie.”

rebbel's avatar

What wit.
Nicely done, @janbb !

janbb's avatar


Neizvestnaya's avatar

White lies or plain old fooling yourself.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Grabs popcorn, sits in corner and watches rebellious penguin porn.

I would just call them white lies, too.

rebbel's avatar

@janbb The day I’ll reach 30.000 lurve, I will consider having redacted with you :-)
@All Thanks!
I guess it must be white lies then… although I am not 100% convinced yet.

janbb's avatar

@rebbel You haven’t been redacted until you’ve been redacted by me.

However to get back to the subject at hand (ahem!), you might be thinking of rationalization.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Of course I do it, I’m actually famous for it… LOL Mostly while telling stories concerning myself, I have a tendency to make things either slighty worse or slightly better than they actually were. Always completely based on total truth however… I believe it is called embellishing, or exaggerating or the ever popular “Fish Story.”

I don’t believe this actually is lying unless the information is untrue or falsified to a detrimental effect on the person recieving the information.

“Most men will tell you stories straight true. It won’t be complicated, but it won’t be interesting either.” Big Fish.

Zaku's avatar

Spock might call it, “exaggeration.”
Vulcans never lie…

bea2345's avatar

My brothers call it “weaseling.”

gailcalled's avatar


janbb's avatar

I think @gailcalled nailed it. Quel surprise!

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s called being a man or exaggerating

Sunny2's avatar

Maybe you’d call it ‘avoidance’, but why lie? Who do you think you’re fooling? Lots of brushing, toothpicks and drinking lots of water can do a pretty good job. The minor lecture is probably good for your soul. The last time I was scolded about not flossing, the hygienist asked how much I thought she really cared. I said, “Not at all.’ She said, “Yup.”

Coloma's avatar

I’d call it lying by minimization.
I’m in the same boat, I need to floss more, but, my teeth are in good shape. I just joke about I only floss the ones I want to keep. My dentist is cool. haha
I just had a cleaning and xrays about a month ago and am all gung ho for the first few weeks, then, I slip up.
I really DO have a hard time getting to the molars. in the very back, it’s like my fingers can’t figure out the right angle, I’d be a candidate for the special flossing olympics. lol

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma: Keep, as I do, a container of floss next to the computer, the TV, in cup holder in car and at my real-paper-work desk. Then I can floss often. Sometimes I put my phone on speaker which frees up both hands. If I try to wash dishes, my caller can hear me clank around. Flossing, however, is a quiet hobby.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hm. Useless lying?

Coloma's avatar


I have a post it note on my bathroom mirror that says “FLOSS”. I do every night before bed, but I need to do it more.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Yeah, sure. It’s pointless. I might think that because the dental hygienists I see seem to just know somehow how often I’ve brushed and/or flossed without me saying a word.

josie's avatar

Your dentist doesn’t really care since you are not neglecting the dentist’s teeth. But I would not lie, since a clean mouth is healthy and a dirty mouth is unhealthy. Dental professionals can see the difference. You would simply be making a fool of yourself.

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