Why do people exaggerate?

@kalav56 (11504)
India
September 23, 2009 7:14am CST
I have seen this quality in selective number of people who always exaggerate any fact.Be it anything, you can be sure of the fact that whatever they have said ought to be taken in with a pinch of salt. How do you react to this type? I was not even aware of this fact till I became 25 years old and would take in all that a person said. I never thought that there was cause to disbelieve some things.But over a period of time I have seen many more people behave like this.Now I am used to this though earlier I used to wonder how people can resort to such lies.[embellishments of facts] Waht are your experiences and thoughts ? Please share.
9 people like this
26 responses
@balasri (26577)
• India
23 Sep 09
I like this discussion because enjoying watching people as they talk is one of my involuntary reactions. I always find it entertaining how people exaggerate things with words and gestures as they speak. Well the primary reason must be that these people want to paint a picture of themselves as a very interesting persons to listen to and very lovable adept with the art of narration not realizing that the people listening to them often are looking for a chance to scoot and never to face them again. Exaggeration of anything is nothing but narcissism.
2 people like this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
AH! The last sentence said it all.And you are absolutely right in saying that they want to paint themselves as very interesting people and the second part of the statement about the listener wanting to run away is a perfect judgement.It is pathetic how these "intersting " people delude themselves.Thanks for the great response Bala.
@balasri (26577)
• India
23 Sep 09
Thanks.And it is a great discussion Kala.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
Thank you.I was just about to write out my esponse to your discussion when I peeped in here first.
@ayenacsi (911)
• Philippines
23 Sep 09
People mostly exaggerate because the simple truth can be at times boring. They want to spice things up a bit by adding a few more details just to liven things up a bit. When people get that way with me, I just smile and keep saying yes, and keep nodding while inside my head I know that not all of it is true.
2 people like this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
Simple truth would be boring ;so spice is added to it eh? It is very wise of you to keep smiling and nodding and also saying "yes".I would find it difficult to do the last two things htough smile is alright with me.THanks for sharing.
@Archie0 (4599)
23 Sep 09
Hello kalav yes even i have seen that there are many people who will just exaggerate their facts may it be any silly thing to be told to, they will just make it so much surpirsing adding a pun to it, that i get irritated when i actually know what the exact fact is. The example i got is my sister for this thing, she will just make a smallest thing such a big issue that everyone will be cared of, i call such people as attention seekers, they do it only for this purpose as far as i know.
2 people like this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
Excellent-"attention seeker" -nice way to put it.I am sure we are going to read many more people coming here with examples because I have realised that this is not an uncommon trait.Everyone seems to need that extra pep in life.As long as it does not affect us then we do not feel the impact, but as you pointed out when it is a direct distortion of some fact that we know otherwise then it irritates us a bit.
@dawnald (83889)
• Shingle Springs, California
23 Sep 09
people who always exaggerate any fact Is that an exaggeration? Seriously, use of certain words such as "always" is an exaggeration in itself. But yes, some people do exaggerate a lot, and you're right, after a while you just tend to roll your eyes, think "whatever" and forget about what they said. If everything (there's another word to avoid lol) is always an exaggeration, it's kind of like the boy who cried wolf...
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
Point taken. Actually I had two people in mind and one can be hundred percent sure that these two can never say any truth wihtout colouring it[they are in a fairly close circle of relatives and I know this for a fact].And my reaction is exactly whta you said-However, not all people are like that.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (83889)
• Shingle Springs, California
24 Sep 09
Thank goodness not all people are like that as my eyes would be permanently in the rolled up position!
1 person likes this
@dpk262006 (41806)
• Delhi, India
23 Sep 09
Hi Kala! What a fantastic topic and post!! I also wonder why some people exaggerate. In fact I have 2-3 very good close friends, whom I see exaggerating every time they narrate some event or happening. They would make the description of an event in such a manner that you will get attracted towards them and if by the way if they happen to be on the receiving end or the victum, you will immediately start sympathizing with them. I am not an exception, if I have to settle some scores with someone in office (who has done wrong to me), I highlight his mistakes to the super boss and make him believe that the person actually did very wrong (Pl. do not laugh or scold me on my confession.... ). However, I use the exaggeration thing when I feel it is necessary to use. I think those who exaggerate want to draw others' attention towards them and may be some sympathy from others.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
Thnaks Deepak! I have also seen people do this and earlier I used to get perturbed by this. Nowadays, I just am quite careful and do not take them into confidence[otherwise my story [if any] would reach my own ears as a totally strange one to me].THese people are not trustworthy and would spread unnecessary tales. I believe you have exaggerated what you would do in your office. Drawing another person's attention is definitely a motive. Now, symoathy can also be anothe r important factor.Come to think of it , I believe this is a high possibility. Excellent response./Bala's response was also very good. Did you read that?
@dpk262006 (41806)
• Delhi, India
24 Sep 09
Yes, you are right that those who exaggerate could be dicy and we tend not to believe them. Drawing others' attention and sympathy are two important factors, I suppose. Bala also wrote very good response. I have seen that one.
1 person likes this
@arthi_88 (1518)
• India
25 Sep 09
Well I guess they do it for gaining interest or attention to what they are discussion..Like my Kid brother has this habit of exaggerating every little story he says..Its interesting to hear those from him because we know its not true but he loves the fact when we enjoy what he is saying..When grown ups do it they are just forced by their bad habit and I have learned to ignore this people who embellish without thinking about the consequences..Real bad rumours spread from such lies and it hurts to hear something like that..May be its their way of feeling powerful or all important..
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
25 Sep 09
Your last point of people doing things for being all powerful and important is absolutely right Arthi.This simple discussion has brought forth many points and yours is a new addition.THanks for the input and sharing.
@amijor (234)
• Philippines
24 Sep 09
I usually exaggerate to state the obvious. I also use it to be sarcastic. Of course funny stories aren't funny by themselves if the story teller does not make SOME exaggerations. That is why people exaggerate when telling stories.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
Just now while I waas writing out my previous comment I was thinking about how we exaggerate stories to hold the attention of kids.THis ploy is used for adults too. Thanks for the resposne.
@drannhh (14680)
• United States
24 Sep 09
Some do it because they are insecure and want to draw attention to themselves, but others I think do it just out of natural embulience. It is like the joke about the size of fish that a fisherman caught. Of course, sale people do it to try to sell something.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
That is also true.Even people who are not too insecure make it a natural habit because theyw ould love to tell stories. Thanks for the response.
@paula27661 (15900)
• Australia
24 Sep 09
My guess is that, although everyone may have done it every now and again, some people are really adept at exaggerating everything! My daughter’s dance teacher is like that; you can guarantee that although he may not necessarily be lying he will be sure to embellish a story to make himself look better. It is a way for some people with low self esteem to make themselves feel more worthy by coming across smarter, more interesting etc.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
"More intersting" is a very valid point Paula .They want to capture the attention of the audience and so they believe in painting a picture where there is only a sketchy outline.Thanks for the clear response and sharing your thoughts.
1 person likes this
@happy6162 (3011)
• United States
23 Sep 09
I have some family members that exaggerate and I think they do it so they can be the center of attention. There are times that I know they are exaggerating but I usually just let them talk because I am sure that most of the other people that are listening already know that he or she is exaggerating. I do not want to embarass that family member so I figure it is better for me to keep quite.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
THis loyalty is what the family member counts on.I can well understand this.THanks for the response.
@delkar (1716)
• Romania
23 Sep 09
I really think that people love to exagerate the fact, just because they wanna be the best , i mean that they wanna make others to be amaised about what they did or some of their friends . In that way , the person that`s telling the story , it`s winning something like respect or just the attention of the one that`s listening the story . They wanna be always in the front, and they want to make others to listen them every time .
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
Very valid point and as someone had rightly said in thsi forum these are attention seekers.This nature makes them behave this way.Thanks for sharing.
@venshida (4840)
• United States
23 Sep 09
They sometimes do it to make them self look good. I was just asking myself this same question recently. I know two people who is always exaggerating. I don't believe 90% of the things they said. I have to see proof before I believe. My friends are usually talking about how well they did something or their kids did. After awhile, it comes out they add a substantial amount to the story.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
True.Parents tend to exaggerate far too much abot children.THis at least harms o one.But , when people distort some facts and pass on stories thta have an effext on tarnishing aname then the matter gets really severe.Thabks for sharing your thoughts.
@scheng1 (21390)
• Singapore
23 Sep 09
Hi Kalav, I think for some people, it's a matter of self esteem. When they do not have as much as other people in certain areas, they make up by exaggerating in other areas. For some persons from sales profession, it's a matter of training. That's how the sub-prime crisis caught many people. They bought the toxic products because the sales persons from the banks or investment companies told them the products are "perfectly safe". The fact is that in investment, nothing is safe, not even the so-called risk-free government bonds. I think exaggeration in sales persons is a costly and dangerous habit to the society.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
23 Sep 09
Your first view of "selfesteem' being the cause sounds absolutely right to me Scheng.I do remember people talking like this.It is to prove something to the other.But ther are instances when gossip gets spread with all embellishments. And of course it si an accepted fact thta salespersons are bound to exaggerate.They are paid for it..THanks for the addition.
@Sreekala (12531)
• India
26 Sep 09
Hi dear, I do, but an innocent way to make my kids happy. My younger one is not easily stops his cries when fight with his brother. I have to say something like about a dog (he is fond of dog)s so usually I am explaining something so it will become a colorful story. But this is only for my kids …. Otherwise I am not at all smart in this field. I have a colleague who is doing the same always… he can say the same in a simple sentence but will take half an hour explaining so many things and adding his own stories… Happy Dushera and have a great weekend.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
1 Oct 09
Thank you Sree and here is wishing you a happy weekend.DUssehra is over and I could not respond earlier because my desktop had crashed.Exaggerating to make children enjoy our stories is bound to happen.This ets serious only when adults exaggeate things amongst themselves, moreso about other people.
@Theresaaiza (9446)
• Philippines
25 Sep 09
HI kalav I am guilty of this. I do exaggerate my stories to make it more humorous and appealing. And it helps because most people that I share my stories to will really laugh and tell me that I made their day. I don't really twist the facts too much, I just exaggerate the facial expressions, or the dialogues of the funny situations that I have witnessed.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
25 Sep 09
Your intention is very simple and you are exaggerating facial emotions and enacting dialogues to add colour to your story.Exaggerations about other people give rise to some hurtful tall tales and that was what I was really concentrating on Theresaaiza.tHANKS A LOT FOR SHARING.
@carolbee (16245)
• United States
24 Sep 09
I have known people who exaggerate to the point I'm almost laughing. We have a neighbor who does this and has since I've known her. I think it's done for attention because anything totally bizarre can be an interesting conversation. Atleast the person doing the exaggerating thinks this type of behavior makes a good conversation. I handle it by simply listening. Will wait for an opening and then make every attempt to change the subject without being totally rude. It generally works very well.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
THat is a good strategy.I also have come across one person who tells tales with all embellishments .SHe does it with such flourish that it almost is comical.And she is an excellent conversationalist too.So, their way of holding attention is to exaggerate.Thanks for sharing your views on the subject.
@SQD444 (679)
• India
24 Sep 09
there are many reasosn to why peoeple exxagerate about things... main reaosn behing all the exxagerations are to get attention from otheres... they might wanto get attentions f others so that they can turn things against some one or in favour of some one they like... some people have the natural tendency to axxagerate what ever they say ...at the same time some people exxagerate things purposefully...
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
Very true.WHile some people just do it by force of habit others do it for some purpose of their own.If the outcome is bad then we really get affected by such lies.THANKS FOR SHARING.
@riyasam (16583)
• India
24 Sep 09
ya,i have also seen people exxagerating,i think they are insecure people,they tthink they wont be accepted by their friends unless they brag.but i would say such friends are fair weather or false who donot like the reality,so some people show off.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
True Riaya.What sort of friendship is it if one need to prove one's superiority or prove some other point ?But, shpwing off is just the tendency of some people and I do realise that it is also a sign of insecurity.
@Hatley (115346)
• Garden Grove, California
23 Sep 09
kalav56 hi I have known some people who exaggerate and I always' thought this was called oneupsmanship, sort of like from an old'song, anything you can do , I can do better, I can do anything better than you. endof quote. my p oint is that maybe they actually feel insecure so they add and embellish the truth so that if their moms were listening they wouldnt recognize their own young people at all.When you are with a person like this, you get lost if you tell them about something you did accomplish and are proud of.they will always have done more and won more prizes, and got more acclaim than you ever did so you just fold your tent and steal away. you cannot outdo them so dont even try.
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
What a splendid response! And this is exactly a particular person would behave ; I also have heard thta thsi person is avery insecure person.you seem to ahve brought this example live before me in your description.Thanks for sharing and for the practical observation.
23 Sep 09
Hi Kalav56, i never really take any notice in what people say as they can be very hurtful, when I was younger I used to go to a quiet place and cry but then i just toughened up and not listen to them, also I used to hear people spered gossip which don't take any notice because it always ends up in a bigh lie. Tamara
@kalav56 (11504)
• India
24 Sep 09
That is sad and even now I tend to boil over when I hear some blatant untruths.I ahev heard so many of them thta of late I am getting more philosophical about the whole thing.When there is a repetition it becomes the expected after all and it affects us less. Thanks for the response TAMARA.