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06/07/2022 | Porträts und Geschichten

What drives me - Nina Reinhardt

Kassel doctoral students and their topics

Image: Sofie Althoff

Nina Reinhardt (29) Lies in romantic relationships

"The food tastes particularly good today!" We've probably all heard sentences like this, and whether it's true or not - praise makes us feel good. Lies, whether in romantic or close friendly relationships, are therefore nothing abstract. They can be observed in real life and are an important aspect of our life together. My doctorate brings established findings from research on human lying into the relationship context. Based on self-report questionnaires answered by people in established relationships, certain patterns of behavior can be identified. However, statements that people make about themselves can always be a little distorted, as nobody wants to portray themselves badly. In the (online) dating context, it is particularly important to convince potential partners of your worth, which often leads to so-called "impression management lies". The lies differ in that men tend to lie about their salary, status and height, for example, and women tend to make themselves look thinner and younger. So stereotypes are clearly being served here. In existing relationships, both partners know much more about each other, which is why the type of lie changes. The closer the relationship is, the more likely it is that "other-oriented lies" will occur, which can even have a positive effect. For example, if you praise your partner's food even though you didn't like it, you can avoid arguments, which leads to mutual satisfaction. It seems paradoxical, but lying (which doesn't harm anyone) can have a positive effect on relationships. Studies show that we lie one to three times a day in romantic relationships. This is interesting, as many people would say of themselves that honesty is important to them. Absolute honesty would lead to dissatisfaction and arguments in some places, although it is generally assumed that it is the lies that cause arguments. So if we are honest with ourselves, we find that some lies also positively influence social interactions.

This article was published in the university magazine publik 2022/2. protocol: Sofie Althoff