I found this meme on my newsfeed on Facebook and it made me smile. I smiled because I feel the opposite of the intent of this meme. It doesn’t bother me one bit when people lie to me. My pet peeve, however, are bad liars. I hate being lied to when the person either has no idea how to lie, cannot back up their lie with reasonable information, or tells a lie with an unbelievable premise.
One of my favorite activities is talking to strangers. The world is a fascinating place filled with interesting people. The more people I talk to, the more I learn about the world and how the people in it think. The thing about strangers is that most of them strike up a conversation with me. The other thing is many of them lie about what they do for a living, where they live or who they are. Sometimes I do it too depending upon the situation.
I like the lies. I can entertain my mind trying to figure out if someone is telling the truth and if not, why they are not telling the truth. Why people lie is always a puzzle. Some people lie because they are insecure and want to sound impressive to others. Some people lie for malicious reasons. Some people lie in order to seduce. Some people lie to sell something. Some people lie because they know how to do nothing else. Some lie because lying makes them feel better.
Whatever the reason behind the lie, as I stated in the opening, I like it to at least be believable. Even if I know the person is lying, I still want the lie to be reasonable. An example of what I mean is: I once had someone tell me they were an engineer. When I asked what type of engineer they were, the person took some time to figure out what to say and ultimately went with the statement that they were a civil engineer. My next question was an inquiry as to what exactly does a civil engineer do? I know what electrical engineers do but the job of a civil engineer was less known to me. This question was even harder for the person to answer, taking several minutes to come up with something to say. At last, the person told me that they design things.
“Uh huh. You don’t say?”
This was when I lost interest in that person. It’s fine to claim to be an engineer but if you have no idea what types of engineers there are and what those specific types of engineers do – then don’t claim to be an engineer! Do not claim to be a lawyer if you know absolutely nothing about what different types of lawyers there are and what those specific types do. Do not claim to have been in the military for 20+ years, long enough to fully retire, if you are obviously only in your late twenties.
By all means, if you run into me, claim to be whoever you like but be prepared to have a conversation about it and be able to back up your statements. If you claim to be a superhero with some superhuman powers then have a somewhat reasonable story as to how you acquired these powers. Think it through. Explain that you were born and raised near a nuclear facility and theories abound in the area that there were radioactive substances leaking from the storage areas at the facility. Say that the groundwater was contaminated and caused mutations in your DNA which changed your brain just enough to result in some superpower.
Here are a few tips for successful lying:
1. Be realistic as to what others will believe or what could be a possibility
2. Include as much of the truth in your lie as possible. Make the truth you include something that the other person can verify. Adding such truth to your lie, that the other person’s brain identifies as truth will cause them to believe the lie is true simply by association.
3. Keep the lie short and simple. The less complex the lie, the easier it is to maintain.
4. Have your lies already prepared. By this I mean, don’t tell a lie on the fly. Have lies already researched and planned out so that your lie doesn’t sound made up in a hurry and so that you don’t have to struggle to answer any follow up questions by the person to whom you are lying.
5. Know your target if possible. Knowing the people you lie to can help you avoid making a fool of yourself. Do not tell scientifically related lies to someone with a degree in any science related field of study. Tread carefully when dealing with cynics as they require more convincing.
6. Mind your body language when you are speaking a lie. Even if your words are convincing, your body language speaks much louder.