40 Lies Everyone Over 40 Tells

We're all guilty of these.

40 Lies Everyone Over 40 Tells

Fact: We’re all liars. Even when we’re being “truthful” we’re often lying, whether it’s embellishing a great story, delivering a false compliment with a straight face, or texting someone that you’re “five minutes away” when the reality is you’re not even in the same zip code. (Who hasn’t?)

But when you turn 40, you may find that you start lying in different ways. To learn more, read on—and try to catch yourself in the act! And for more knowledge on spotting lies, check out the 40 Lies Kids Say That Parents Always Fall For.

Tired Business Man

“I’m Getting Too Old For This”

The only thing more pervasive and unhealthy than lying about how young you are is talking about how old you are. Once people hit their 40s, the jokes about being a crotchety old person ready for the retirement home shift from being funny to self-deprecating. Keep yourself young at-heart for good by checking out these 30 Instant Timeless Style Upgrades.

man writing in notebook

“I’m Working on a Novel”

If your hobby happens to be plugging away on your laptop creating fictional characters for the next best-seller, that’s great. But how often are you really working on that project, and how serious are you about actually finishing it? You may have written a chapter or two once upon a time, but let’s be honest: you haven’t touched that document in months. Maybe you should look into taking up these more realistic hobbies instead.

Two Friends Drinking

“We Should Totally Grab Coffee Soon”

When you get older, your time is more precious than almost anything else, so the last thing you want is to waste it with an old acquaintance whose name you hardly remember. You might comment how you should totally grab lunch soon or catch up over coffee, but you know you’re not going to see each other—just own it.

weight loss motivation

“I’m Going to Start Working Out More”

If you haven’t made a regular habit of getting to the gym by the time you are 40, then it’s going to be pretty tough to become a gym rat all of a sudden. But hey, stranger things have happened. If you want to turn this lie into a truth, try these 11 Ways Smart People Motivate Themselves to Go to the Gym.

Happy family smiling

“I’ve Got a Couple of Little Ones at Home”

Your kids are probably entering college by now, and yet you’re still talking about them as if they’re just learning to walk. Maybe this is because they’ll always be little kids to us, their parents, but it also might have something to do with wanting to be seen as a “young parent”—not the parent of a young adult.

man watching tv couch

“We Were Out Late Last Night”

This is an easy lie to turn to when you’re getting called out for falling asleep at Sunday brunch. It may have been true in your 20s, but once you’re in your 40s, “late” becomes relative, and long nights involve more The Wire binges and less club hopping.

Sick woman

“I’m Still Recovering From The Flu”

When you go on a gym hiatus due to some kind of ailment, it’s funny how that “break” can extend from a few days to a few weeks. Months later, you might find yourself telling friends how you’re still recovering—a recovery that does not seem to have an end in sight.

couple relaxing on couch

“I’ve Been Really Busy”

Too busy to respond to an email? Too busy to take three seconds to shoot back a text? Unlikely, but this is a convenient lie to cover up your procrastination or general disinterest in responding to a text or email.

Man Shrugging Shoulders at Work

“I’m About to Put In My Two Weeks”

When your boss angers you or you find yourself doing work you feel is below you, it’s tempting to imagine just handing in your notice and moving on to greener pastures. But you have a spouse, a mortgage, or at the very least a shopping addiction that needs to be funded, so chances are you’re going to stay planted in that office chair for the foreseeable future. And if you think your job is bad, it’s nothing compared to these 30 Awful Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Became Famous.

Job candidate, recruiting, interview

“I’m Looking for a New Job”

This lie comes up more often after you’ve made up your mind to leave, but just can’t seem to find the time to send out résumés or write up cover letters. You may be eager to move on, but you aren’t taking much action to actually do so.

man running late checking watch

“I’ve Got Somewhere I Need to Be”

When you can tell a get-together is winding down or you’re just losing interest, a check of the watch and this line are the perfect way to wrap things up and be on your merry way. But you know as well as everyone else that you have nowhere pressing to be.

Men Shaking Hands at Bar Boss

“I’ve Been Meaning to Watch That”

Do you know how many shows are on TV right now? We don’t expect you to, because there are a ton. Factor in the little spare time we have, and it’s unlikely that we’re ever going to get around to watching that episode of Game of Thrones any time soon—but it’s easier to pretend we will than to admit we have better things to do.

woman trying on clothes

“That Outfit Looks Great on You”

Every husband has said this to his partner at least once in his lifetime. Feelings are spared, and it avoids a night spent sleeping on the uncomfortable pull-out. Don’t give anyone a reason to lie about your outfit and stock up on these 15 Summer Style Essentials.

man lifting weights working out

“I Try to Get to the Gym at Least Three Times a Week”

That’s what you tell people when they ask, and you might even believe it. You’re not an obsessive exerciser, and wouldn’t try to convince anyone that you go every day, but three times a week sounds about right—something like every other day. That’s just an estimation, of course.

woman running run stretching exercise

“I’m Training for a Marathon”

Technically you can still say you are training for a marathon even if you don’t ever actually run it, right?

man in bed texting

“I’ve Been Feeling Under the Weather Lately”

This is a handy get-out-of-jail-free card that you can break out whenever you’d rather just stay home. Your over-40 immune system is just not as strong as it once was…or so you’d like others to believe.

coworkers office work working job

“We Worked Together on a Few Projects”

If someone knows a person who works for the same company as you (especially if that someone is interviewing you for a job), you likely played up your working relationship to something far more substantial than it actually was.

man shopping expensive suit

“It Wasn’t That Expensive”

Anyone who has brought home a new outfit or gadget that was way more than their partner would have been comfortable paying has used this line to fudge the fact that it indeed was very expensive. Just be sure you hide the receipt and the price tag if you want your fib to stick.

Couple chatting talking

“Oh, him? He’s Great!”

You might hate the person you sit next to at work, but for some reason your best friend finds finds him amusing, and so you have to pretend to like him whenever they bring him up. You know he’s difficult to get along with, but you can’t say that.

woman on laptop

“It Must Have Gone to My Spam Folder”

Maybe you just didn’t feel like answering their email, or perhaps you deleted it without noticing. Either way, blaming the hypersensitivity of the spam folder is a very convenient scapegoat.

men chatting life easier

“I Read That Book, But I Don’t Remember What Happened”

When a boss or someone you are trying to impress asks if you’ve seen a movie or read a book, this is a line you’ve probably used to avoid seeming ignorant, while not being expected to quote from it…or maybe remember much about it at all. By the time you’re 40, you’ve seen and read a lot, and your memory just isn’t what it used to be. At the least though, you should remember The 30 Best-Selling Novels of All Time.

man woman chatting couch

“Your Child is So Talented”

You’ve got plenty of friends with kids at this point, and they all think their kid is the most brilliant being in the world. Being the good person you are, you play along with your friends’ praises, but deep down you know that their kid isn’t going to be the next Picasso.

family kids

“Your Kid is Adorable”

See above, but apply it to the relative cuteness of a friend or family member’s baby. Everyone thinks their kid is the most adorable, and most are sadly wrong. But whatever—it’s not your place to point that out.

Older Man Reading Poems

“I’m Trying to Read More”

Sure, Jan.

man watching tv with feet up

“I’m Busy That Night”

You have nothing else going on that night except for hanging out on the couch and watching Netflix—but those kind of evenings are a rare treat and not something you will give up lightly, certainly not just to go to a movie with a not-so-good buddy.

woman annoyed mad

“I Can’t Wait!”

Whether it’s a work event or a birthday for a family member you’re seeing out of obligation, you’ve no doubt said this about some upcoming commitment—even if there’s nothing you’d love more than to be able to delay it, or get it canceled altogether.

man feeling full not hungry

“I Haven’t Eaten Anything All Day”

Okay, so what are all those wrappers on the floor?

woman shower wet hair showering

“I’m Almost There”

You’ve probably texted or emailed this line to many people, with “almost” meaning anything from five minutes to “I haven’t left the house yet.” You knew you were full of it when you wrote it, but you thought it would buy you some time and keep whomever you were meeting from getting mad.

woman surprised anxious on her phone

“I Love What You’ve Done with The Place”

Whether it’s a hideous new paint job or a new linen set, people in their 40s do a lot of things to their homes—and are almost as hungry for compliments about it as they are for compliments about their kids. When you find yourself presented with a friend’s newly renovated living room, just express enthusiasm, regardless of what your opinion might actually be.

guy looks disgusted

“This is Delicious”

In your 40s, you are more likely to be invited to dinner parties and potlucks. Often it is delicious, but there are definitely times when someone’s cooking is way off the mark—and as a guest, you’re in no position to point that out.

Family dinner take out

“I’ve Been Trying to Cook More”

Maybe you’ve tried cooking, but those attempts usually end up in a burnt chicken and a desperate call to the local pizzeria. Try experimenting in the kitchen with Bobby Flay’s secret steak recipe.

Couple talking

“You Look Great”

As you get older, you see people less frequently than you might like, which means months or even years may pass between outings with a friend. When you finally do meet up, they might look a bit older or more frazzled than you remember them. And yet, you still tell this cheery white lie to keep things amicable.

Shaking hands mortgage payment

“It’s Been Too Long”

It’s a nice sentiment, but if it had really been too long, you would have found the time to meet up. In all actuality, it’s probably been just the right amount of time.

cookbooks Never Buy

“I’m Adding This to My To-Read List”

When someone sends you a long article or gives you a book to read that they say inspires them, you have to act excited to read it instead of telling them how you really feel: like a teacher just assigned you homework that you’ll never finish on time.

empty road driving car

“Traffic Was Crazy”

Traffic is always crazy, especially if you live in LA or NYC where packed streets are the norm and getting somewhere on time always means leaving at least 30 minutes early.

woman wallet

“I’ve Been Trying to Save For Retirement”

Maybe you’ve finally gotten around to setting some money aside for your 401K, but more than likely you are continuing to spend most of the money you make on food, travel, and all that fun stuff you’ll regret wasting money on later.

man takes out wallet

“I’m Trying to Spend Less Money”

Maybe you even wrote out a budget to keep your spending within reason—but good luck actually sticking to it. You can always try The 10 Best Budgeting Apps to Boost Your Savings!

mother receiving phone call

“Reception Is Bad Near My House”

When you don’t want to answer a call or text, technical difficulties are the perfect cop-out. You would have loved to respond sooner, but you just could not get your phone to work for some reason.

mindfulness stressed out woman at desk yelling work

“I’m Almost Done”

That deadline is approaching and you know you are nowhere near the end of the assignment, but if you just say these three magic words, it will allay the pressure for a little while longer. For some less shady ways to handle stress, check out the 20 Best Ways to Be More Mindful at Work.

man talking to a woman

“I’m in my 30s”

Anyone in their 40s likely thinks back fondly on their 30s, and some even try to convince others they are still in them. By the time you’re in your mid-40s, you’ve probably been “in your 30s” for quite some time. Just because you aren’t 39 doesn’t mean you can’t look like it, though: Head to the barber and try these 15 Best Men’s Haircuts for Looking Instantly Younger.

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