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How to Detect Crap Talk

How to Detect Crap Talk

When was the last time you told a lie? Whether we like to admit it or not, we all engage in day-to-day deception. In fact, research shows that during a typical day, the average American adult tells one or two lies.[1] We may tell lies to avoid criticism, rejection, or to avoid losing out at work or in our personal lives. However, some lies are particularly more toxic. They are fabrications designed craps to hurt or manipulate. In other words, people can talk complete crap to gain control over others. For the sake of your own wellbeing, it’s essential that you learn how to spot crap talk.

Why do people talk crap?

Most people talk crap for purely self-serving purposes. They may lie to protect their image, for instance by denying that they have committed a violation of the law or broken a social rule. It’s also common for liars to engage in deception to protect something or someone they want or value, or to evade a punishment they would receive were someone else to discover the truth. You can think of this kind of talk as a suit of armor. A liar can hide behind it, and over time can even construct an entirely false persona.

    Unfortunately, when lying works, someone is more likely to repeat the behavior in the future. This drives a wedge between them and others, damaging their relationships. Lies can also hurt others directly. For instance, when someone tries to offload the blame onto others or spread malicious gossip or fake news, relationships can be destroyed and reputations ruined overnight.

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      Luckily, once you understand how to detect crap, you can protect yourself against it.

      Disarm crap talk

      You should actively expect others to talk nonsense from time to time, and accept that they are going to lie to you. When someone tells you something that doesn’t quite feel right, be sure to investigate further.

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        Questions—your best weapon against crap talk

        When something doesn’t add up, ask the speaker a few probing questions. Questions such as “Why do you think that?” “Can you explain your reasoning here?” and “What is your evidence in support of that view?” push the other person to fabricate details, and they will eventually get caught out when their story doesn’t make sense. If someone tries to push a statistic or so-called “fact” on you, ask to see their sources. If they can’t send you a reliable link to a good source, chances are that they are misinformed or talking crap in order to advance their agenda.

        Another sign that someone is talking crap is a reluctance to discuss the issue further, because they know that they will be exposed if you keep asking them questions. For example, if someone argues that redundancies in a company are “unavoidable” but then become evasive when asked to outline the decision-making process that resulted in this outcome, it’s likely that mistakes have been made and they are just covering up for their own incompetence.

        Jargon is a big red flag

        Sometimes, we have to use jargon in discussion. For instance, medical jargon will crop up in conversation among doctors and nurses. However, overly-complex words and needlessly elaborate jargon are often used to conceal lies or distort the truth. Don’t let anyone make you feel stupid. If you don’t understand something, keep asking clarifying questions until the speaker distills their message down to plain English. If they can’t or won’t do this, you should consider the possibility that they are trying to deceive you.

        Get a third opinion if you can, preferably from someone with a background in the area. They will be able to tell you whether the jargon you have been hearing is just technical talk, or merely a vehicle for crap talk.

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        Here are two examples of how someone might use jargon to conceal what’s really going on:

        “We are attempting to think outside the box and undergo and extensive company restructure that will facilitate the dynamic interpersonal collaboration of our two largest departments.”

        In plain English, this means that the company is taking a new approach (“thinking outside the box”) by laying people off (“extensive company restructure”) and merging two departments together (“dynamic interpersonal collaboration”).

        This kind of crap talk is used to confuse people and stop them asking questions that get to the real heart of the matter, i.e. the full story behind these changes and what it will mean for those whose jobs are on the line.

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        If all else fails, give it time

        Not only does time heal all wounds, but time tends to reveal all crap talk. If someone tells a significant lie, it’s a matter of time before the truth comes out. For instance, a wife may deny that she is having an affair, but in the end she will likely get caught. To use a business context, a manager may maintain that everything is just fine in his team, but one day he will probably snap and tell the junior staff precisely what he thinks of them!

        If someone is adamant that their view on an issue is correct, this should be verifiable via other sources. Depending on the situation, this might be mutual friends, colleagues, news sources, your personal experience, and scientific evidence. Don’t be afraid to confront the speaker with evidence that disproves their position if you can.

        Cut the crap

        The next time your gut instinct kicks in, pay close attention to what someone is saying and how they are saying it. If someone is speaking the truth, they won’t mind answering reasonable questions or explaining ideas in simple terms. Although it isn’t nice to think that most people lie at least occasionally, equipping yourself with the tools you need to spot lies will at least save you hassle at both work and home.

        Featured photo credit: Deviant Art via e400.deviantart.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

        “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

        Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

        You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

        Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

        1. Take a step back and evaluate

        When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

        1. What is the problem?
        2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
        3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
        4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
        5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

        Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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        2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

        If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

        At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

        Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

        3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

        Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

        4. Process your thoughts/emotions

        Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

        1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
        2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
        3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
        4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

        5. Acknowledge your thoughts

        Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

        By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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        Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

        6. Give yourself a break

        If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

        7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

        A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

        Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

        After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

        8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

        As Helen Keller once said,

        “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

        Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

        9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

        In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

        1. What’s the situation?
        2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
        3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
        4. Take action on your next steps!

        After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

        10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

        A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

        Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

        For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

        11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

        No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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        12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

        No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

        13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

        There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

        After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

        Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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