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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 editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on March 30, 2020

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

        Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

        You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

        This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

        According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

        Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

        There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

        How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

        When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

        Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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        1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

        One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

        The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

        Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

        2. Be Honest

        A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

        If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

        On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

        Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

        3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

        Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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        If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

        4. Succeed at Something

        When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

        Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

        5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

        Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

        Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

        If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

        If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

        Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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        6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

        Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

        You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

        On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

        You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

        7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

        Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

        Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

        Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

        When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

        Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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        In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

        Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

        It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

        Final Thoughts

        When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

        The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

        Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

        Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

        Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

        More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

        Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
        [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
        [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
        [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
        [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
        [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
        [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
        [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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