In a pair of studies, college students and community members told autobiographical narratives about the most serious lie they ever told or the most serious lie that was ever told to them. Most serious lies were told by or to participants' closest relationship partners. Participants reported telling their serious lies to get what they wanted or to do what they felt they were entitled to do, to avoid punishment, to protect themselves from confrontation, to appear to be the type of person they wished they were, to protect others, and to hurt others. The degree to which the liars and targets felt distressed about the lies differed significantly across these 7 different types of lies. Systematic variations in the kinds of serious lies described by different subgroups of participants suggest that serious lies may be indicative of the life tasks that are most significant to those groups.