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Dina Kaplan Quits Lying For Two Years

Be honest -- could you last a whole day without lying? What about two years?

In 1997's "Liar Liar," Jim Carrey's character struggled to stay honest for 24 hours, which included everything from trying to lie about the colour of a pen, to letting his boss know she wasn't the greatest in bed.

But, New York City entrepreneur Dina Kaplan took her truth-telling vow even further, and it wasn't even intentional.

According to Kaplan's account for Medium magazine, her choice to tell the truth stemmed from a 10-day silent meditation retreat. This challenged her to "see how my life would change if I lived without lying on matters both small and large," with no exceptions for "white lies or lies to comfort someone."

"It’s almost like I had a reflex to lie only about things I had no reason to lie about," wrote Kaplan, in Medium magazine. "Stamping this out was primarily logistical, like learning a new language. It wasn’t ethically challenging but more like focusing on conjugating verbs properly in Italian or French."

"A typical lie I would say, almost unconsciously, would would be an explanation for why I was late. I might blame the subway when my ride was smooth, and it was my fault for leaving late. At a restaurant I might say I was allergic to fish, when I simply don’t like seafood. I might say I had been to London 30 times when the reality was more like 20. I have no idea why I did this. It was a bad habit but not insidious. I knew I could fix it."

Before taking this pledge, Kaplan described herself in her magazine entry as "pretty honest." Within two months, she was "barely lying." By the end, she had built more confidence through the use of shorter, more honest excuses, but this also came at the expense of one of her friendships.

"A good friend once asked why he wasn’t invited to a dinner party I was hosting, and for this, I had to pause," wrote Kaplan, according to the TODAY Show. "At first, under time pressure, I said that I didn’t think he was a good match for the rest of the group. It was ugly. I had clearly optimized for truth over his feelings."

Kaplan insists she built more social elegance through her honesty as her 24-month journey continued, which strengthened most of her relationships.

"It's all gain and no loss," wrote Kaplan, once she concluded her vow. She also told the TODAY Show that others are reaching out to her with plans to start their own honesty-only policy.

But Kaplan's message may be harder to implement than it sounds.

A 2010 study entitled "The Prevalence of Lying in America: Three Studies of Self-Reported Lies" found that 40 per cent of Americans admitted to lying within a 24 hour period. The same research, commissioned by Michigan State University, also discovered most Americans tell 1.65 lies each day.

Lying isn't limited to Americans, either. A 2012 Express News poll asserted those in the United Kingdom told an average of seven lies per day in January, making it the most dishonest month of the year. Similarly, a June 2014 study by the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria discovered Canadians underestimated, or misreported their alcohol usage by up to 75 per cent.

Would you ever take a vow of honesty?


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