I recently wrote a post about dating app profiles. https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2023/03/08/is-lying-on-a-dating-app-the-norm/

I meandered around the topic of how you should word your profile: straight up truth, play with words a bit, or straight up lie. So let’s explore the differences between these three:

Per our friends at Oxford Languages:

Truththe quality of being true: In accordance with fact or reality: accurate or exact

Exaggeraterepresent (something) as being larger, better, or worse than it really is

Liean intentionally false statement

Look at the definitions of these words.

How do you think people explain themselves on a resume?

How do you think they explain themselves on a dating app?

If we look to definitions as being theoretical, how do we utilize them in the practical or realistic setting?

If someone posts a super flattering picture of themselves, the lighting and angle are perfect, but it’s not how they “look” on the daily…is that a lie, an exaggeration, or the truth?

If someone says they managed a team, but the team was only one person, is that a lie, an exaggeration, or the truth?

If someone says (on their resume) that they attended college, but didn’t actually graduate, is that a lie, an exaggeration, or the truth?

If someone says that they are 6 feet tall, but are really 5 foot 10 1/2, is that a lie, an exaggeration or the truth?

Hair is blonde in a picture, but they color it?

Say they are 39 but are actually 40?

Say they are proficient in a language but really can read a menu and ask for directions?

Has only taken one course in excel, but says they are highly proficient?

How often do we tell the truth when we are communicating with someone, whether it be for business or pleasure?

How often do we tell the truth to ourselves, or do we lie or exaggerate to ourselves as much, if not more, than we do to others?

Are our lives built on exaggerations both big and small?

In my questions above…are they truths, lies or exaggerations?


54 thoughts on “To Tell The Lie- or Maybe Exaggerate a Little

  1. People lie more than they think they do, but rationalize it by using some overarching goal that they believe is justification for the lie so they use a different word to describe their lie. We live in a world of phonies and half-truths.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we do stretch way more than we think we do, and we rationalize it, but I also can’t imagine a world where everything was exactly as it is…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think people get comfortable with innocuous embellishments! Believing our own sh*t. I love the range you’ve offered, LA – from fibs about hair color (LOL) to grandiose “embellishments” on resumes…I suppose everyone’s guilty of something. I think I end up constantly fact-checking when I might be impacted by the fabrications, or the stakes/decision-making are high. Sizing up someone and getting a ‘truth vibe’ is something I do without thinking about it. 😎

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think the more we rely on algorithms to sort things the more embellishing we will do…we are going to try to include the words that people want to hear

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Scary…and I’m hating the prompting that comes up lately…feels like more of it…when I’m doing THIS…just typing a comment. Some algorithm somewhere is anticipating what I’m about to say when I haven’t even formed a thought yet. LOL! 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally I think the truth is always best. But what is truth? I remember as a teenager when I was modeling for Jordan Marsh, and the fashion coordinator told the girls on her teen board to be truthful on our resumes, however the truth was sometimes “bendable”. For instance, the average height of a model in the mid 1960’s was about 5 ft 6 or 7. (Today models are much taller). I was only around 5’4”. She had us put on the standard two inch heeled pumps that everyone wore back in the day, and measured us in our heels. That way we all were the right height. Lol. And if the clothes were too long she would use masking tape before our runway shows. Since mini skirts were just coming onto the fashion scene, for affect, they’d tape up our skirts super high making our legs look endless and thus visually we all looked taller, especially on a raised stage. Was it all a lie? I suppose if the question asked how tall in your stocking feet then it would have been. But, in the entertainment field it’s all a lie.. at Disney world Minnie and Mickey Mouse are not real rodents! They are people. Pluto isn’t a dog. The little mermaid doesn’t live underwater. In movies CGI isn’t real. Snow is fake, etc. why? Because fashion shows and films aren’t real life.. entertainment is different.
    Alice Cooper isn’t a girl.
    About a year or so after my husband died I did go on J date briefly. I told the truth about everything. However most of the men lied about their age. My feeling is that’s different. However, posting a good picture isn’t wrong. I remember I posted a couple photos so people could see it was recent and just not one fake glamour shot. ( up until I got cancer I was fortunate that I was pretty photogenic so photos were easy). I wrote truthfully.
    And I’m not a real outdoors kind of girl so I mentioned that I enjoyed theatre, art museums, etc. and had no interest in hiking or sailing around the world. And I mentioned my liberal politics. My feeling is that why would I lie? I wanted to meet people who had similar interests so why would I lie? What is the point? I did meet quite a few nice men. I just was not particularly interested romantically in any of them.
    I think it’s nobody’s business if you color or don’t color your hair. I wear makeup when I have chemo. It makes me feel better. It’s still me, just with blush and eyeliner.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Agreed. I know someone who joined a club with a specific activity, and that person didn’t do the specific activity…she just wanted to meet men who did…


  4. I would definitely post the most flattering picture of myself(if such a think exists) and not consider it a lie or exaggeration.

    Height is questionable but my license says I am taller than I am.

    Listing a different age is a lie. Not sure why anyone would do that.

    I’ve never lied on a resume but I use language that makes my job sound more impressive than it actually was

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s all lies, but I agree with Leslie that visual industries are all about appearances because that’s what people like.

    On dating apps, the problem is that people (women) can sort by certain parameters. So, the short guys don’t even get into someone’s (a woman’s) search if they honestly put that they are 5’10.5″.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ELL, that’s the isssue with ai type stuff. Should a guy who’s 5 11 be grouped with the shorter guys? But then do you really want a woman who will make a big deal out of the inch?


  6. I think Victoria nailed it on the head. Most of the examples you used I consider to be embellishments more than anything else. The truth has many different shades to it: some sunnier, others a bit darker.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I think it’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s true and what’s false or a lie anymore. We all embellish or exaggerate and if we deny that then we are not only lying but I also wonder why- which you know I do a lot of wondering why all the time. Levels of exaggeration- absolutely. We all have our standards don’t we as to how far we’ll go and when we cross the line into an outright lie? Are those based on some individual arbitrary factor or general morals and ethics laid down by society? I’ll go with the individual and bring this back around to the fact that even our social compass is too far skewed to now or adhere to real ethics and morals much anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think there’s a big difference between outright deceit and blurring the edges. Don’t tell me you’re single if you’re married. Don’t tell me you don’t gamble when your bookie is number one on speed dial. To me the big things are what matters

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree, but I bet there are others who would rationalize this level of deceit as okay. People have a way of justifying a lot of things that shouldn’t be

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m against flat out lies when applying for jobs or on resumes. Lying about marital status would be another awful thing if you were in the dating world. I think most of us embellish a little on the edges, for example I have my hair highlighted.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am with E.A. Wickham about jobs and resume, martial status. I think people sometimes think I tell stories about my days in Manhattan in my 20’s but the truth is stranger than fiction. I really did the things and met the people I sometimes write about, also overseas. I have gone down some unusual paths which I might exaggerate sometimes seeing the good side as going through the forest was not always a pretty tale to tell. However, I believe I did inherit my Irish mom’s gift of gab.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Might I add a slightly different view of this discussion. “Puffing is a term in commercial law which means to convey an overstated belief about some good or service to a prospective buyer with the goal of making a sale of that good or service.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my, LA, this little web catches everyone because we all do it to some degree or another. I’ll admit some do it more than others, but we all embellish, exaggerate, and at times outright lie if it suits our purpose or makes a story more palatable. For example, when one of my sons was interviewing for a job, he forgot his notebook in the car. He must have been nervous because that was when he realized he locked the keys in the car too. He quickly called Triple A (a car towing service) and said that he locked a kid in the car. They were there in two minutes, and after apologizing to the car service for the lie, he made it to the interview on time. Some lies are unforgivable, others are understandable, and some are just to make us feel better about ourselves. The truth is always better, but I also realize that’s so much easier when you’re 63 and don’t really care what people think. Such a great discussion LA, hugs, my friend, C. (PS: I once told a long line of women at the bathroom that I was pregnant so they would let me in first, the truth is I looked pregnant, I just had my third child a few weeks prior, and I had absolutely no bladder control, it was worth it)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not going to hold against anyone who occasionally stretches the truth because I think everyone does it. I think there are certain consistent lies which are unforgivable though, like saying you’re not gambling when you are, and stuff like that. But we’re human…


  12. Some people are born liars…just look at Washington D.C.
    Some become liars…read any resume.
    The problem comes when there is harm done as a result of the lie. Interviewers expect a certain amount of exaggeration, having been on both sides myself. But a good interviewer will drill down to the most accurate. Something to think about though and maybe a topic for you would be, when does truth become subjective. When does it become what you want it to be and when does it clash with reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I believe everyone is guilty of lying and exaggerating. But some are professionals at both. The intent is an important factor. If it’s to save hurt feelings or avoid something disasterous, then it may be warranted. When it comes to to portraying yourself, eventually the truth comes out. If you are on a dating app and exaggerate by saying your “average” when you’re really “overweight,” obviously the truth will be seen. But then if you say your “fit” when you’re really “obese,” that’s more of a lie. Sometimes I think there’s a fine line between exaggerating and outright lying. It’s definitely gotten me thinking about this more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m somewhat tolerant of the stretching the truth, because I think we all do it. Now, saying you’re single when you’re married, or something like that is bad


  14. Good questions and I agree with what several people have said. I think we all stretch the truth sometimes and I think its OK . But lying about the big things I am most definitely not OK with! OOps, forgot to mention I was married, Um.. NO! Lying about a toxic habit like drinking, drugs, gambling, etc. NO! There is no “stretching the truth” there. Either you don’t have an alcohol problem or you do, period. My Ex-BIL tried to deny gambling and other habits so much that it was just crazy. His wife would ask when did you gamble last, his response, “I don’t remember, a few weeks maybe? She would show him a receipt from 2 days ago. “Oh, guess it was 2 days ago. ”
    I had to laugh about the height because I am 4’10 and1/2 and I honestly have always told people that. Why should I lie about something that one can easily see isn’t true. A dating app, you will meet the person hopefully sometime and I guess some people won’t notice a difference of a few inches, but still. If someone is going to turn me down because I am two inches less than 5 feet, than why would I want them anyway??
    As far as my profile pic goes, welllll … lets just say its not a recent one. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If someone is going to be mad because I’m five pounds heavier or an inch shorter, I don’t want them either. There’s a point where we can get nuts about certain things that really have nothing to do with a relationship

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t know LA. I’m in a space of telling the full truth, and I hope to stay there, but I understand why people lie and exaggerate. I wholeheartedly believe that most of us don’t want to hear the truth, whatever it is.

    I also think we’re conditioned to lie and exaggerate, and something you didn’t mention, omit parts of the truth for multiple reasons.

    Ultimately, I think it’s up to us to be truthful, AND it’s up to the receiver to ask follow-up questions. For example, if someone told me they attended college, I immediately would ask when they graduated. If you say you’re 5’2″, and I meet your 4’11” self, I wouldn’t condemn you, but I would want to know why you added inches…like what’s that all about?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always truthful on my blog, and if I exaggerate I’ll say ok that didn’t happen….because I think the most powerful stories come from truth. But in real life, I try to figure out if the person actually wants the truth. And when dealing with my husband, I gauge if he’s ready for the truth (this has come up a lot with regard to his parents health related issues…I’ve learned to wait for him to ask me what I really think about something…which seems odd, but if I want him to actually hear me I have to do it in a matter he’ll understand. With my daughter always 100% the truth. But with my mom I will tell her I’m not riding subways even though I do because it’s not worth the aggravation. If I did a dating profile I’d like to say that I’d be honest, but I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

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