Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Happy Hump Day!
I started to make this into a “I call bullshit” blog – but the only thing that’s really bugging me today is liars, lying, mentirosas…you get the picture. I despise liars. But what I hate even more than a liar, is a BAD liar. If you’re going to lie to me, at least make an effort to think up a good one. If you don’t, that’s just wrong…and pretty insulting.
I’m not here to preach on the morality of lying. There are all kinds of lies – white lies, little fibs, slight untruths, lies by omission – and there are a plethora of reasons why people tell lies. Some lie to avoid personal harm, or by wishing to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings or to protect them. And then there are those who lie to actively seek to get something from someone else, whether it’s something material, social, emotional or sexual. The ethical nature of lying is not subject of my post today, but rather how you should lie once you’ve decided that you’re going to lay your personal morals and ethics by the wayside and just go ahead and lie anyway.
So…how do you lie and get away with it? Well, there are no guarantees that you’ll succeed in your deceit, but I do have some pointers on ways you can be a “better” liar so that people don’t suspect you. I’m pretty good at spotting a liar, mainly because I have a great memory and I pay attention to people. I also have a 6th sense when it comes to these things, and I tend to trust my gut. So by recounting the many mistakes that bad liars have made, I’ll help all of you out there with some tips so that those who decide that they want to indeed become a liar can be good at it.
1. Own your decision to lie. Once you’ve made the decision to lie, make peace with it. For some people, namely sociopaths, lying is like breathing. It just comes naturally. But for others, it’s a real struggle. Good lying means you’ve moved past your morals or faith filter and justified to yourself that telling the lie is necessary. A poor liar struggles with the morality of lying, so if you want to lie successfully, you need to reach a place where you feel the reason for the lie is justified in your own mind. But keep in mind: don’t lie so much that you actually become a chronic liar.
2. Consider the likelihood of getting caught. Before launching into your lie, ask yourself what the chances are of being found out. Only you can answer that question, in which case you’ll have to consider the worthiness of lying about the matter. Things to consider include:
- Have I lied about this or to this person before and gotten caught? You’d be surprised how often (simple) people tend to tell the same lies, to the same people...over and over again...even AFTER they’ve been caught before. This takes audacity…but it’s also very stupid. If you’ve lied to someone before and he/she caught you, they're not likely to believe you this time.
- Were there witnesses? If you were making out in public with someone you shouldn’t have been making out with, keep in mind that someone probably SAW you.
- Do you feel confident about revising events to make a whole new story? Some people can’t tell a story worth a damn.
- What are the likely repercussions if caught? Is the person likely to be forgiving, or to feel totally betrayed and toss hot grits on you? Is it a tiny lie the person can get over, or is it something that goes to the heart of trust in your relationship, that once broken, is unlikely to be mended? Think about it.
3. Get your story straight. Once you've made the decision to lie, you will need to come up with your plausible alternative to the facts. As part of this, you need to figure out what you're going to say and what sorts of questions are likely to be asked, so that you can have answers to those questions already sorted out in your head. Women are great at this. Men…not so much. Let me give you the tips to why women are so good at this.
- Women tend to think of some specific true thing (place, person, event, story) that her lie will fit into, and use those details if you are questioned. This gives you a bank of specific details to draw on so you don't have to keep making things up as you go along. Men tend to make up the lie as they’re saying it, and this gets you busted every time.
- Women keep it simple. The more things you have to lie about to support your original lie, the more likely you are to be tripped up. Lying is a bit like chess–you must always think ahead. Anticipate what the person you're lying to is going to ask, and be prepared with a response. Make sure you've thought about who you're lying to. What do they already know? Writing out the lie can help. The act of writing can enhance your memory of it, and also helps you to sort out the sequence and come up with details that can make a big difference between a believable lie and an obvious load of bullshit. This however, should not be confused with being over elaborate or over embellishing. Men tend to tell lies that involve other people for corroboration or multiple events. The more people needed to back up your story, the more likely a hole will open up as soon as one person forgets their "role" in it – and a woman WILL pounce on it. Equally, if something you've said can be confirmed, such as checking dates and/or public or phone records, checking your credit card transactions, etc., then you are going to find it difficult to get out of facts that are there in black and white – because a woman WILL check.
4. Use your imagination and envision the lie. In your mind, enact the lie as it "actually happened." This will create the event in your mind like you’re watching a movie, so you'll be "remembering" it when you begin to retell it to others. In a way, you are convincing yourself of the revision of reality, so when you retell it, it begins to sound as you're telling the truth.
5. Don’t do what liars do. Liars tend to stutter, fidget…they don’t make eye contact. They appear shifty. In a normal conversation your eyes will move and you will look away to think, but otherwise you will maintain eye contact. In all likelihood, there will always be some subtleties that a good liar spotter will notice, but the average person can probably be hoodwinked with careful attention to avoiding some of the following giveaways:
- Maintain eye contact. Liars tend to look away. Appear earnest but not too eager when looking the other person in the eye. Don't look around, but don't stare either. In a normal conversation people do avert their glance from the other person's eyes naturally.
- Relax. Don't fidget, twirl your hair, or shuffle your feet. Again, these are signs of someone trying to deflect the conversation away.
- Keep your hands under control. When people are lying, hands tend to drift towards the face to cover the mouth or fiddle with parts of the face. Keep your hands relaxed.
- Don't use big words unless you usually do. Anything unusual about your language or tone will suggest something shady is up. Dummies mess this up all the time.
- Unless you're known for stuttering, don't stutter and definitely don't get flustered. Some people blush, sweat or begin to stutter, because in some cases the subconscious panics. Keep calm and collected.
6. Bring the lie up first before you're confronted. It's better to lie to the person in advance than to have the person question you first on the subject. If the victim discovers your dirty deed before you explain yourself, they'll have time to deduce what has happened with a fair degree of certainty before they ever even question you, making it much harder to convince them of your innocence. Nine times out of ten, if I get a chance to ask you what you did, I already know the answer before I asked you.
7. Make a truthful admission about something else you did wrong. If you sense that someone suspects you of lying, admit or make them suspect you of something smaller or something else completely. They will take the bait and think that that is all you were lying about in the first place.
8. Play dumb. Coming off as too stupid to lie is a great defense. I actually know a few people who I thought weren’t clever enough to lie, and they proved me wrong BIG TIME. Lie as badly as you can about something small, but never actually admit to doing it. You will be free to lie about much bigger things and never be suspected in the future. Faking memory loss can go hand in hand with playing dumb too, but watch out for this one. By simply saying you don’t remember, that may get you off the hook. But when lying to a woman, she might go ballistic if you appear overly confused about something you should clearly remember. Use caution if you take that approach. You might get swung on.
9. Appear indifferent. Another way to work your way out of an uncomfortable situation is to act indifferent and to avoid responding defensively. Keep your voice steady and don't protest too much, because people who are defensive appear guilty. Act like you don't care whether or not the person believes you. If you're really good at this, you can even make it seem like you're shocked or disappointed by their lack of faith in you – just be willing to be forgiving of them for “not trusting you.”
10. Ginko…and a good memory. Good liars REMEMBER their lies. One of the real reasons why lying doesn't pay and isn't a good means for getting through life is that you have to remember it, in all of its glory, possibly for the rest of your life. You can’t forget about your lie and its details, and you will have to go on treating it like it actually happened.
Bonus: Know when not to lie. Finally but importantly, if you're going to lie, know when it's perfectly stupid to try and do so. There are many moral and faith based reasons for not lying, and those are within your own personal realm of struggle to deal with. But there are some other realities where it has nothing to do with karma and where lying isn't going to help anything, let alone you. So, with this in mind, never lie under these circumstances:
- To officials (government, police, serious job interviews): Unless you fully understand and are prepared to accept the consequences. In the majority of nations, lying to a police officer or in a court of law is a serious, illegal offense. For your own sake, be honest about criminal activity; you may find that the penalty is lessened or that your lawyer can find technical or legal loopholes if you are honest from the beginning. The sooner you get a lawyer and start working on your release, the better; lying first will hold things up and can make whatever honest explanations you do make seem sheisty.
- To your doctor or lawyer: Ask them if you are speaking in the course of a professional relationship (doctor-patient or attorney-client). If they say yes, things you tell them are privileged, and they cannot reveal them even to a court or to the police. This does not hold true if your doctor/psychologist feels you may commit a serious offense, such as murder. Also, some other circumstances may change your relationship with your lawyer/doctor but don't forget that a lawyer is paid to defend you - so don't think with your reptile brain that wants to hide; use your neocortex and think smart defenses instead. And lying to your doctor can keep him or her from treating you properly…so go on and tell your gyno about all the unprotected sex you had last month ;-)
- To defraud: Never lie to people to get their money, life's savings, and other valuables from them. Not only is this an illegal thing to do, it's a really f*cked up way to behave. Ask Bernie Madoff....asshole.
- To an attacker: When you are being held at gun-point and having someone demand your wallet, your life is worth more than pretending you don't have your wallet on you.
- To your kids. Avoid lying to your kids about family deaths, divorce or anything else major. They're going to find out sooner or later and lies just makes things worse. Set a good example for them.
- To cover up for someone else: If someone else has committed a crime, let them pay for it, otherwise you'll pay for it by being an accessory if you know about it but don't tell. I’m snitchin’.