Deception and use of half truths are such a part of human nature that what's ultimately the most dishonest is to pretend that we are 'real' 100% of the time to everyone. Lifehackers, happy sociopaths and people with healthy egos understand that lying is an inevitable part of the human communication experience. According StatisticBrain.com
- 60% of people lie at least once during a 10 minute conversation.
- Men on average tell 6 lies as a day to their partner, boss or colleagues. Women tell 8.
- 31% of people lie on their resumes.
Inevitably you are going to lie in ways big and small. This article will arm you with some clever ways to lie more effectively and less destructively without breaking the 11th commandment; getting caught.
The Cardinal Rule of Effective Lying...
The truth is the best tool in the service of lies.
A great novelist once said that the best fiction is 80% real (Or did he? Maybe I just made that up...). Indeed your lies should always be anchored in reality. The most difficult to keep track of lies and those most easily exposed are complete fabrications. When telling lies arbitrarily associate them to something that actually happened. Examples:
Circumstance: I was hungover and missed an important meeting because I was partying with my friend for his birthday.
Lie: I tell my boss that my best friend had an serious asthma attack last night and needed to be brought to the hospital. I ended up sleeping in because I only got and hour of sleep.
Circumstance: I need a loan from my parents to pay my rent because I got fired from the job that my dad actually helped me get.
Lie: I got fired because the manager kept hitting on me and I wouldn't go out with him.
There's a couple benefits to this:
- Less fictitious details you need to keep track of.
- If they check into the details of your story it's more likely they will find it's consistent with reality.
- The closer your lies are to reality the less your biology will treat them like a lie. Meaning that they are more difficult for others to 'detect'.
Arbitrary Truthfulness and General Perceived Character
Your success in lying is more about general perception of you as a credible and honest character than the plausibility and supporting details of an individual lie. This means that if you seem credible most of the time you can get away with some real deceptive behavior. The good news is that seeming credible doesn't actually take a lot of extra work.
- Practice arbitrarily truthfulness; admit and own up to things you are bad at, embarrassments or failures.
- Argue against your own self interests; if something obviously benefits you financially or otherwise but has a downside for someone else, display your selflessness by pointing out why this might not work for everyone.
Call Out an Inconsequential Lie to Perpetrate a Larger Deception
People know that people in general tell harmless 'white lies' during conversation without even thinking about it. Next time you do this, call it out and make a little joke about it:
You know what? That's a lie. I'm doing this thing where I'm trying to lie less (smile). The truth is...
It's important that your admission of guilt be about a relatively insignificant error, mistake or lack of judgment. You are demonstrating that you are principal driven to the point that you admit your lies even when there's no apparent benefit to doing so. This imbues you as a person of character, meaning you will be able to get away with a more significant lie later.
Don't Stray from Your 'Baseline'
On the show 'Lie to Me' one of the first things you see them do when they are beginning a deception detection session is determine a behavioral baseline for an individual. The baseline includes things like:
- The tonality of their voice.
- Their heart rate and breathing.
- Other stress indicators.
- Their body language expressions (touching hair, face, self rubbing, etc).
- How often they blink..
The more they stray from their baseline, the more likely they are stressed and therefor lying. So while lying make it a point to try to avoid dropping obvious none-verbal cues of your stressed state.
Lie When It's most Biologically Appropriate
At the end of the movie Flight, after a night of binge drinking, the alcoholic main character 'runs out of lies' and finally admits to his behavior. This is not because he finally develops a moral compass, it's because of his biological state. Think of the time of the day when you are most creative, productive and focused that's also the best time of the day to tell lies.
- Whenever possible lie via telephone call, text or email as opposed to in person.
- Before you need to tell big lie in a high pressure situation try 'aping' in the bathroom. Go in a bathroom and look the door, then for two minutes pretend to be an ape, lift your hands above your head, wave your arms around, claw at the air and stomp around. Do it for 2 minutes, you will feel really silly but at the end of the two minutes you will be in a confident peak state for lying!
Call Out the Apparent Deception
If you need to lie outright, 'own the frame' by bringing up and calling out the obvious circumstances surrounding the deception.
Circumstance: You cheated on your boyfriend (or girlfriend) at the Class Reunion party the night before 'date night' and now you have a conspicuous hickey. Your partner has been planning this special date night for a while and you can't cancel. Your partner knows you where going to see your ex-lover at the party, so if you wear a turtle neck they are going to know what happened!
- Over text you mention you were looking for your blender in the creepy storage area of your apartment complex and a spider bite you on the neck resulting in your conspicuous hickey.
- Mention that you where embarrassed at work because your coworkers said it looked like a hickey (3rd party credibility).
- Joke that this makes you look REALLY CLASSY on the day of date night.
- Mention that you did talk to your ex-lover at the party but they was were there with their current fiancé.
You don't tell your partner that nothing happened with your ex but you give them all the logical reasons necessary to believe your lie. If you have generally displayed good character up to this point in the relationship you are going to get away with this significant indiscretion!
Avoid these Obvious 'Tells' that you are Lying:
- Retreating or closing your body language after a lie (like Richard Nixon in the clip above)
- Self touching, rubbing your own hands or arms in a reassuring manner.
- Momentarily covering your mouth or touching your face.
- Touching yourself around the collar.
- Touching your hair or scratching the back of your head.
- Conspicuous swallowing or moving of the Adams apple.
Dual N-Back Training
Brain imaging studies using MRI machines have demonstrated that there is a strong correlation between Executive Functioning and lying. Executive Function could be compared to the RAM of a computer, it's the measure of focus your mind can devote to the task at hand. Cognitive Psychologists have identified the Dual N-Back task as one of the most consistent way to increase measurable Executive Function with transfer effects to real life activities like staying focused, self control, and lying! The leading Dual N-Back app on the market, HighIQPro® for Windows, Mac and Android, guarantees measurable cognitive gains in 20-25, 20 minute training sessions or your money back.
In a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers two thirds of attorneys reported that
was a primary source of evidence for divorce proceedings. Indeed many a clever deception has been exposed by a tagged photo, profile detail or a cavalier status update.
- Just set your relationship status to private.
- Set your profile to private, so stalkers and friends of ex's or current lovers can't ee what you are up too. Only your profile and cover photo are visible.
- When posting status updates carefully mind the Public, Friends and Custom visibility settings.
- It's a good idea to delineate by groups of people who you may not want to see certain things; Family, Party Friends, Good Friends, Dating Prospects, Work Colleagues, Sales Leads, etc
Lock the screen. If spouses, lovers, friends or coworkers ask why... It's because you have sensitive information on your phone.
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