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Put Up Your Hand If You Ever Lie

Put Up Your Hand If You Ever Lie

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    Put up Your Hand if You Ever Lie.

    If your hand went up, then we now know you’re a liar. If it didn’t go up then we know you’re an even bigger liar.

    When asked the question “are you a liar?” nearly 97% of people answer “no”. When the remaining 3% (self-confessed liars) are subjected to questions calibrating their real, rather than perceived, honesty, they turn out to be, on average, 28 times more honest than the people who claimed they never lie. One of the most prolific liars in history was US president Richard Nixon, who researchers found to have lied on record 837 times on a single day.

    Geeze, that’s a lot of fibbing.

    Why the interest in lying?

    As you know, I’m a student of human behaviour: what we do, when we do it, how we do it, and why we do it. In the field of behavioural psychology there aren’t too many things that interest me more than the subject of dishonesty. Or is it honesty? Anyway, I’m referring to the propensity we humans have to lie. All humans. In my job I listen to (and look at) a lot of people. Since 1987 I have personally completed over 40,000 one-on-one, face-to-face sessions. Close proximity. I get to see the pupils dilate and constrict. The nervous rash appearing on the neck. The facial ticks arise. The postural change. The awkward fidgeting. I notice the change in the pitch of the voice. And the increase in respiration. The lack of eye contact. The shift in emotional state. The defensive body language. The contradictions in their story. The anger. The denial. And often, the tears. Hence, my very absorbent clothing.

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    Listen to what they’re not saying.

    How can we listen to someone who isn’t speaking? Easy. Use our other senses; they will tell us what our ears can’t. We know that communication is about seven percent verbal so it’s only logical to conclude that we will learn more about people (what they think, feel, believe, expect, fear, know, have done) by watching them, than we would by listening to them. Not to say we shouldn’t listen, of course. I’m always more fascinated with what people don’t say because by saying nothing (about a certain matter) they are saying something. People are “speaking” all the time; we just need to learn their language. Pet owners will understand this concept. Once we understand that the verbal stuff is only a minor part of communication and human interaction, our relationships and reality change and our awareness shifts dramatically. If you can’t be bothered researching (and who can?) just watch an episode or three of Lie To Me. Even though it’s ‘only’ a TV show, there’s some pretty cool science and research behind it all. In other words; the truth about liars.

    How often we fib

    The average person lies 114 times every day of their life. So if you live to be eighty, you’re gonna tell somewhere around 3.3 million fibs over the course of your lifetime. Wowzer!! Can you believe that?

    Don’t. I made it up. See how easy that was?

    The truth about lies

    Of course, it’s virtually impossible to acquire accurate and broadly representative statistics regarding how many times the average person lies each day – being as we’re so predisposed to… well, lying. And anyway, who’s gonna keep count? Nobody wants to be seen as a pathological liar – or any kind of liar – so even when it comes to research, we’ll continue to lie about our lying. After all, who’s gonna be honest about their dishonesty? And there-in lies (pun intended) the challenge; in order to gain reliable data we need to rely on people’s honesty. There’s some irony for you. Take a peek at the following report from the University of Massachusetts:

    AMHERST, Mass. – Most people lie in everyday conversation when they are trying to appear likable and competent, according to a study conducted by University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert S. Feldman and published in the most recent Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology. The study, published in the journal’s June issue, found that 60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies. “People tell a considerable number of lies in everyday conversation. It was a very surprising result. We didn’t expect lying to be such a common part of daily life,” Feldman said. The study also found that lies told by men and women differ in content, though not in quantity. Feldman said the results showed that men do not lie more than women or vice versa, but that men and women lie in different ways. “Women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good, while men lied most often to make themselves look better,” Feldman said.

    What? Men lie to impress people! I find that hard to believe. BTW, have I told you how much I’m bench pressing lately?

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    Some Common Fibs

    Lie: Yep, I’m on my way now.
    Truth: I’ll leave in ten minutes. Or twenty.

    Lie: No, your arse is tiny.
    Truth: You look like a f**king yak from back here.

    Lie: If you don’t go to sleep, Santa won’t come next week.
    Truth: He’ll come (won’t he?).

    Lie: The dog ate my homework.
    Truth: There ain’t no homework. Or dog.

    Lie: Yep, this assignment is all my work.
    Truth: I am the cut and paste king.

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    Lie: I was working late.
    Truth: I’m a Dirtbag.

    Lie: No, I’m busy tonight.
    Truth: I don’t like you.

    Lie: I’ll get back to you.
    Truth: I’ll never contact you.

    Lie: Yep, I’ve nearly finished.
    Truth: I haven’t started.

    Lie: I’m really careful with my food.
    Truth: Careful not to let others see how much I eat.

    Lie: No, I’ll be fine (sob).
    Truth: Can I have some attention and sympathy?

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    Lying Etiquette

    So now we’ve established that you’re part of the Pants-on-Fire Fraternity…

    1. What are your lying rules?
    2. When is it okay to lie? (an example?)
    3. Is it okay to lie if we have noble intentions?
    4. Should we ever lie to our kids? (an example?)
    5. They say “the truth will set you free” but perhaps sometimes a strategic lie will save someone a lot of pain – what do you think?
    6. What about you more spiritual and/or religious (not always the same thing) folk, what are your thoughts?
    7. Is deception (not sharing certain information perhaps) the same as a lie?
    8. Have someone else’s lies impacted your reality in a big way?
    9. Are you aware of your lying?
    10. Surely, it’s okay to lie to your girlfriend about her upcoming ’surprise’ birthday party?

    I don’t expect you to answer all of the above questions (or any for that matter) but I thought they might be good conversation-starters. Off you go Pinocchio.

    And in answer to your question…

    Q. Do you ever lie Craig?
    A. Only when I’m awake.

    Other than that, never.

    More by this author

    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Published on May 4, 2021

    How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

    How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

    They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

    In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

    How to Spot Fake People?

    When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

    Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

    1. Full of Themselves

    Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

    Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

    2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

    Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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    It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

    3. Zero Self-Reflection

    To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

    Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

    4. Unrealistic Perceptions

    Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

    A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

    5. Love Attention

    As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

    6. People Pleaser

    Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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    Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

    7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

    Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

    8. Crappy friend

    Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

    It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

    The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

    How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

    It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

    There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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    1. Boundaries

    Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

    2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

    Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

    3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

    If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

    4. Ask for Advice

    If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

    Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

    5. Dig Deeper

    Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

    Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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    6. Practice Self-Care!

    Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

    Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

    Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

    Final Thoughts

    Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

    We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

    More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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