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Sure, there are probably times in all of our lives when we really wish that the whole ‘being honest’ thing wasn’t so prevalent. Well, on Tell a Lie Day, anyone can get a free pass!

History of Tell a Lie Day

Dishonesty is an art form that is prevalent in some form almost every day of our lives. From the media selling people their version of events to the kids telling their parents that the dog broke the lamp.

This is a day to let all of that have a pass because it’s Tell a Lie Day! Celebrating Tell a Lie Day doesn’t have to be about breaking societal taboos, though. Instead, it’s possible to have a lot of fun with it.

Some people might want to spend the day asking friends and family questions, and seeing who can come up with the most believable or outrageous lie. There is innate creativity required to tell a truly believable and fantastic lie.

This entire day will remind people that there is a danger to lying constantly, this is the day where people will not be able to trust anything anyone else will say–and that is the danger of a lifetime of duplicity.

While people usually tend to believe that most people are honest more often than not, there have been extensive studies showing that the average person tells several lies a day. Everyone has a moment at some time or another when they tend to tell untruths, ranging from small lies to big ones, to get through the day.

Tell a Lie Day Timeline


“I cannot tell a lie” story is published 

While many people believe it as truth, the quote about George Washington admitting to chopping down a cherry treat is actually fiction, invented by biographer Mason Locke Weems after Washington’s death.[1]


The original Ponzi Scheme transpires 

Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant to the US, makes a fortune from lying and deceiving, getting people to invest. He’s so good at lying that the US government names this type of scheme after him.[2]


Pinnocchio is released 

This film, about a wooden boy whose nose grows when he tells a lie, is released this year by Disney.[3]


Watergate Scandal takes place 

Five men break into Democratic offices to spy and when Nixon gets wind of it, he tells a bald-faced lie about it. It takes two more years for Nixon to be discovered and resign.[4]


Pop Duo, Milli Vanilli, is caught in a lie 

When pop stars, Milli Vanilli, perform “live” on an MTV special, it turns out that they are really only lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track–and the track, unfortunately, skipped. Ironically, the song is “Girl, You Know It’s True”.[5]

How to Celebrate Tell a Lie Day

Observing and enjoying Tell a Lie Day can be done in a variety of ways, including some of these fun and silly ideas:

Make Up Stories

It is inherent in the creation of fictional stories that people tell lies and this is a day to tell as many whoppers as it is possible to get out. Go ahead and make up stories about the long ago days of youth, where you accomplished fantastic deeds with amazing grace, and got away with all the things that you really got caught at.

Watch Some Films About Lies

Whether it is a comedy about someone who got caught lying, or a drama that reveals someone trapped in a lie, one way to celebrate this day is to watch a movie about lies. Try out one of these to get started:

  • Liar Liar (1997). This comedy/fantasy film starring Jim Carrey and Maura Tierny shows what happens when a son wishes his lawyer dad would stop lying for 24 hours. Of course, as with most Jim Carrey movies, chaos ensues but (spoiler alert) many lessons are learned along the way.
  • The Invention of Lying (2009). This fantasy comedy tells the story of a world where lying doesn’t exist, until one man suddenly develops the ability to lie. Starring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner.
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002). Based on a true story, this film starring Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks is about a forger and master of deception, Frank Abagnale, Jr. who worked as a lawyer, doctor and co-pilot before his 18th birthday.
  • The Truth About Lies (2017). A clever rom-com, this movie shows how a young man telling a web of lies to impress a girl eventually comes back to haunt him.

Learn to Tell if Others are Lying

Another thing to watch out for and learn about is understanding the signals that the people in life may tend to throw off when they are telling a lie. This can be useful not only on this day but also for the rest of the year when they might be trying to hide things!

Everyone has these kinds of “tells” and they are, in fact, fundamental in such games like poker, where hiding the tells that reveal what’s actually in a person’s hand are important.

Here are some things that might tip off if someone is telling a lie:

  • Vagueness. When someone doesn’t offer many details, it might be that they are making something up.
  • Repeating Questions. When someone repeats questions before they answer them, they might be stalling for time.
  • Overthinking. Someone who is lying might have to work extra hard to fill in the details or leave gaps in a story.
  • Fidgeting. The person who is lying may often seem uncomfortable, whether itching, fidgeting or some other behavior.

Learn More About Lying

One interesting way to spend this day might be learning a bit more about different conditions that tend to result in lying. When it comes to telling lies, there are two types of psychological conditions that can lead to lying to those nearby. These two types of people have conditions either related to the sociopath or the compulsive liar. And the differences between these two are fairly profound.

A sociopath is someone who has a target in mind and their lies are always focused on getting their way, no matter the cost to others. They don’t actually have to lie, they just do it to get what they want. These types of liars are notoriously charismatic and self-centered, but it’s difficult to tell their negative sides because, well, they’re just that good.

Compulsive liars are another breed entirely, having developed a habit of lying as surely as addictive as smoking cigarettes. At first, the habit of lying may start out even in childhood, just to protect themselves from things they may have done. But, as time goes by, they start building a habit out of altering the truth.

Eventually, it becomes impossible for them to stop, the truth actually becomes incredibly difficult for them to tell. This can be true even when the topic in question is something they have no need to lie about. Unlike their sociopath counterparts, they are neither charismatic nor cunning, they merely are incapable of telling the truth.

Remember Some Old Lies

This is the day to reflect on that and ask some important self-reflection questions.

  • What’s the worst lie that ever came out of your mouth?
  • Have you falsified a resume to increase the chances to get a job?
  • Perhaps it has to do with saying you’re on the way when still at the house?
  • Or, like most people, maybe it’s a lie about age, to appear younger or older?

So on this day, take the opportunity to tell a little falsehood, and spread a little creativity around. Tell a Lie Day comes but once a year, but don’t worry, Honesty Day comes a little later in the month. That’s the one to be afraid of.

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