People will lie to help a friend save face

Good friends will often lie in order to help a mate save face. This is the suggestion of new research from the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia - founded in 1908 - which found people are generally happy to play the 'wingman' and help to protect or improve a friend's reputation in order to assist them in a social setting.

It was demonstrated that pals are willing to bend the truth in order to manage a person's social image, while also being on-hand to provide strategic identity support.

Jennifer Argo, a professor at the Alberta School of Business, said: "This is an instance when you don't have the opportunity to make yourself look good, so somebody else does it for you."

Professor Argo noted individuals tend to put themselves in the shoes of others and decide whether or not they would like somebody to lie for them in order to prevent them from looking bad.

Dr Hugh Koch, Chartered Psychologist and an expert in the reliability and truthfulness of adults involved with litigation, commented: "Being selective with information about friends and their behaviour is understandable.

"Giving reliable information is significantly affected by social desirability effects, so talking about a friend is likely to focus more on the positives than the negatives. However, this is not the same as lying for a friend, which might actually damage a relationship or actively mislead - and is an undesirable activity."