Stories of Men

Why telling lies made me feel terrible and how to be radically honest

Why telling lies made me feel terrible and how to be radically honest

All of us are told as kids that lying is wrong.

We might’ve broken the coffee table, got into a fight at school or eaten the trifle mum made that was being saved for after Sunday dinner. If we’ve done something wrong, then the right thing to do, we’re told, is to own up to it. We need to accept responsibility.

What you should never do is lie. That only makes the bad behaviour worse.

Yet almost all of us lie.

When I was a kid, I used to lie for a variety of reasons.

One of the main reasons was to people please, a topic I wrote an article about here. I learnt from a young age that when adults would ask you questions, they often had a set response that they wanted you to give.

My mum would say the typical: “Alex, I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed” which was almost worse!

When I’d go round to my auntie’s house and she asked me if I liked the dinner, she wasn’t expecting me to critique the potatoes or offer tips on how to give the gravy more flavour.

What she wanted me to say was “Of course, auntie, it was delicious!”

So that’s what I’d say. Leave it to another relative to tell her how terrible her cooking had really been.

I’d do this in all sorts of other situations too, even as I got older.

But lying has its drawbacks.

One of the drawbacks is that it can have potentially devastating consequences. Listen to this episode in which David’s refusal to be honest about his worsening eyesight almost led to a tragic event.

One of the other issues with lying is that you have to remember the lies you’ve told. If you’re not on top of things, it’s easy to get caught out. I did this repeatedly as a kid and I’d end up getting caught out by my parents, teachers at school, friend’s parents and so on. You can end up believing your own lies too.

On the topic of getting caught out, let me tell you a little story.

When I was 23 years in 2011, I was out with a new friend in Santa Barbara, California whilst I was traveling up the west coast of the US. I met him on Couchsurfing which, if you haven’t heard of it, is when people let you sleep on their couches for free. I hardly had any money so it was very much needed. Anyway, we’d been drinking till late and I ended up crashing on his sofa. 

Before he went to bed, he asked me if everything was alright. “Everything’s fine.” I told him, taking my typical people pleasing approach.

The truth was that it wasn’t fine. It was cold and uncomfortable and I could really have used a pillow and a duvet. Why he hadn’t offered me one, I had no idea.

But I kept my mouth shut and watched him walk off to his room.

Luckily for me, I’d noticed earlier that there was a spare room in the apartment and there was an empty bed with a fresh, clean pillow and duvet on it.

So, once the coast was clear, I got up from the couch, snatched the pillow and duvet and covered myself so I could get a nice, cosy sleep on the sofa.

As soon as I woke up, I made sure to put the pillow and duvet back in place. Perfectly neat, no creases. Then I went back to the couch.

An hour later, I saw my mate’s roommate come into the flat. She said “Hi!” and introduced herself and then went off to what must’ve been her room. The same room I’d nabbed the duvet and pillow from.

‘Close call’, I thought to myself.

Next, my mate came out of his room. I greeted him from the sofa. But then he asked me an unexpected question:

“Did you use a pillow or duvet last night?” He very politely asked.

“No, no I didn’t, mate.” I instantly replied, thinking that it would be ridiculous for me to say I had bearing in mind the fact that I’d gone to such trouble to disguise the fact.

He nodded and smiled and then started making breakfast.

Half an hour later, he asked me again:

“Hi mate, just wanted to check, you didn’t use a pillow or duvet last night, did you?”

I denied it again, thinking that now it would be even more ridiculous to be honest bearing in mind that I’d lied the first time.

Another half an hour later he walked up to me and said “Sorry, mate,” he said, “but I’m gonna have to ask you to leave. My housemate came in this morning after a late night out and saw you using her stuff from the bed. I gave you two chances to own up to it but you didn’t.”

Oh dear. I’d been caught in the act and been completely exposed. And it wasn’t for using a pillow and duvet that I’d been caught out but for something much worse: lying.

How easy it would’ve been to have avoided this situation. How easy it would’ve been to have said right from the beginning that I was cold and uncomfortable. How easy it would’ve been to admit to taking the pillow and duvet.

I would’ve preferred all of those things to what actually happened: being kicked out of my mate’s flat because I’d been branded a liar.

The shame. I went bright red, unimaginable shame and guilt. I felt the heat rise up throughout my body. I truly felt terrible.

If you’ve ever felt the humiliation of being caught out in a lie, you’ll know that you do almost anything to have avoided it.

The other thing is that I had massive FOMO because there was a group of us that had planned to go to a stunning beach close by and I now had to face having this on my conscience all day and miss out on the water sports and the sunbathing. Worst of all was that I didn’t have the opportunity to use my English accent on the American girls in the group. Apparently, my Wigan accent wasn’t too bad to them!!

Well, the good news is that there’s a foolproof way to make sure none of us ever has to experience it again: don’t lie.

I, personally, have done my best to avoid lying at all costs.

You’ll find that people may not always like hearing the truth, but they’ll respect you a damn sight more for your honesty than for your lies.

If you want to read more on how a life without lying can change your life for the better, read “Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life By Telling The Truth” by Brad Blanton.

Also, listen to this episode of Stories of Men in which Darren’s refusal to be honest about the difficulties he was experiencing at work had traumatic consequences.
Do you have a story about telling a lie that you wish you’d been able to avoid? Unburden yourself by leaving a comment here:



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Laura is the mix engineer for the Stories of Men podcast. She has a BA in Music from Nottingham University and an Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering from Abbey Road Institute. Alongside working for Our Voices she is a freelance sound designer and technician. Her highlights include sound design for JK Rowling audiobook ‘The Christmas Pig’, and sound effects editing on The Outlaws, on the BBC.

For the Stories of Men podcast, Laura is typically provided with a Voice Over and interview. She then cleans the dialogue, integrates the podcast intro and outros, chooses the music that will add to the storytelling and pacing of the episode, then bring all the elements together in the mix, followed by mastering and then delivering the final edit.

Experience in Industry: 3


Favourite Food: Potatoes

Favourite Sport: Wild swimming

Favourite Show: Anything Marvel

Favourite Movie: Anything Marvel

Favourite City: London

Hobby: Music

Favourite Book: Northern Lights


I’m the community manager at Stories of Men. I spend most of my time focusing on the implementation of our marketing strategy, achieving goals and KPIs, and the rest of the time listening to the amazing stories of our guests. What I love most about working for Stories of men is the impact it has on peoples’ lives. It requires a lot of courage to tell your story out loud so I make sure these stories are heard by as many people as possible.

I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’ve been living in Hungary for over two years now. I have a Master’s degree in Marketing and I live for mastering the art of digital marketing.

Industry experience: 3 Years


Favourite Food: Biryani – introduced by the Mughal rulers in the Indian subcontinent; this dish is an absolute delight. Also, can never say no to a good burger – extra cheese!

Favourite Sport: Cricket – I grew up playing and watching cricket with friends and family.

Favourite Show: Stranger Things – I love how an odd group of friends fight against challenges bigger than themselves.

Favourite Movie: Harry Potter – The only movie I can watch over and over again!

Favourite City: Prague – Absolutely love the Baroque and Gothic vibe of this city.

Hobby: Netflix, Travelling, and Eating- I want to try different cuisines from every country once in my lifetime!

Favourite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A fast-paced thriller that keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.


I run Fascinate Productions, the production company behind the Stories of Men podcast. I’ve had a wide variety of roles in media, from underwater videography, to live televised sporting events around the world. But since listening to my first audiobook in 2016, I’ve been all about audio and jumped in with two feet. Podcasts are enabling the world to democratise its most valuable information. They’re about spreading messages, and sharing ideas, and it’s my mission to help those holding the knowledge, to distribute it far and wide.

When Alex approached us with the idea of making a short stories podcast, with a big social impact, he got our attention. As the producer of the show, I’ve heard his guests’ highest highs, their lowest lows, and the moments of change that made them who they are – it’s been a privilege helping to craft their most intimate experiences into stories for you to enjoy.

 Experience in Industry: 5 years


Favourite Food: Ice cream. It’s just the greatest culinary invention.

Favourite Sport: Rugby. I played from the age of 5 until 26 when a dislocated shoulder put me out of action. Still like to watch now though.

Favourite Show: The 100 – I love those ‘what if humans nearly got wiped out?’ type shows.

Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite City: London. As a country boy from Yorkshire, I never thought I’d enjoy living here.

Hobby: Listening to podcasts while on long walks with my dog Alfie.

Favourite Book: I love to read anything business/startup related… One of the most recent great ones was Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt



Richard Willan is the CEO of Fascinate productions, a podcast production and promotion company. Before starting Fascinate, he worked an audio engineer, mastering tracks for artists on major and independent labels.

He is an executive producer for ‘Stories of Men’ where he assists with production, creative direction of the show, and marketing strategy.  





Favourite Food: I love Indian food – My favourite dish is a Dansak. It’s a rich combination of hot, sweet and sour flavours, made from lamb and lentils.

Favourite Sport: I enjoy watching combat sports like MMA – Isreal Adesanya is my favourite fighter at the moment, due to his Tae Kwon Do base and speed. 

Favourite Show: Succession – an American satirical drama. The character development is incredible, and the writing is top notch. 

Favourite Movie: True Lies. I find it amazing that someone who can’t act (Arni) has so many great films.

Favourite City: London, because it is a melting pot of culture and the music scene is amazing. 

Hobby: Making music, going to gym and eating out. 

Favourite Book:  The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the world she created, and the incremental path the characters take into darkness. It’s amazing.


I am responsible for writing blog articles for the Stories of Men podcast. I have the privilege of listening to fascinating stories on the topics and issues regarding men that are of greatest relevance to our society today. Once I’ve done this, I create articles that provide an overview and description of the conversations in order to help spread them to the widest possible audience. My job is to make these articles as engaging as the conversations themselves.

As an English teacher who has worked with students from all over the world for over 10 years, I have got used to successfully communicating with those from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me to appreciate the value of connection across borders and boundaries. It has also helped me to appreciate that we are all able to learn from each other’s experiences.



Favourite Food: Chocolate. It’s an indulgence, I know, but it tastes so good. I particularly enjoy dark chocolate for its richness and smoothness. 

Favourite Sport: Football.Unfortunately, my local team (Nottingham Forest) is not in that top league but I hope that one day it will be.

Favourite Show: The Wire. 

Favourite Movie: The Godfather. 

Favourite City: Reykjavik. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks there a number of years ago and I loved the place for its beauty, culture and calmness. It’s rare that you can be in a capital city and experience genuine space and peace and quiet. There’s also a black sand beach to walk along, although, due to the cold, I wouldn’t recommend bathing in the sea!

Hobby: Watching films. I love films, foreign films, classic films, contemporary films, just all good films.

Favourite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

I’m the Editor of Stories of men. I craft compelling narratives from the stories of our fantastic guests, editing their interviews and scripting the episodes. I’m a freelance journalist and audio producer from Northern Ireland, currently based in California. I cover social issues, health and gender – with reporting in The Guardian, Vice, NPR, Cosmopolitan and many others. My focus is shining a light on the communities and initiatives that improve people’s lives. I have a background in the nonprofit space, having worked in communications for a mental health charity, as well as an education start-up. I mentor young female writers and sit on the board of an NGO that empowers women in global supply chains. 

Favourite Food:  In a word, sandwiches. The possibilities are endless.

Favourite Sport: Show jumping. When I was little I wanted to be a professional horse-rider, and I still get a kick out of watching the pros in action.

Favourite Show: Fleabag: the writing and acting create a thrilling kind of intimacy I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Favourite Movie: Victoria is an incredible German thriller that’s all shot in one take – it’s a real trip. Plus it’s beautifully soundtracked by Nils Frahm.

Favourite City: Very hard to choose, but it’s got to be Barcelona. The food, the pace of life, the winding streets – there’s nowhere else like it. 

Hobby: exploring city streets on my bike – preferably while listening (safely!) to a podcast – is when I’m at my happiest. 

Favourite Book: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning, utterly unique portrait of womanhood, race, ageing and the principles we choose to live 

I am the host of Stories of Men. I help to find men that have a powerful voice to share and then I speak to them and help to tease the stories out of them that will have a positive impact on the listener. 

While running Swoosh English, an online English school from 2013 – 2021, I had the opportunity to meet men from all walks of life and many of these guys had incredible stories. This inspired me to start ‘Stories of Men’ because I wanted to give these men a platform to share their stories with the world.

I love the detail that people go into and how people craft stories in different ways. My dream and vision for the future would be countless people messaging to tell us how a particular episode has changed their lives!


Favourite Food: Avocados – an incredibly delicious fruit that can be used in so many dishes. My favourite is guacamole with nachos!

Favourite Sport: Boxing and football (couldn’t choose one!)

Favourite Show: 2 comedy series: Alan Partridge and The Office (UK version). I just love English humour!

Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption: An unbelievable journey full of twists and turns.

Favourite City:  New York – Living there for a year in 2008 changed my life. It made me believe that anything in life was possible if you want something badly enough.

Hobby: Football, boxing, reading, learning Spanish, travelling and watching fascinating conversations on Youtube.

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a book about an incredible journey.