Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Secrets and Lies

Something I was reading reminded me of an interesting conversation I had with my friend about how to lie successfully. Now I like to tell stories and one of the most important things about stories is manipulating the information to present it in a meaningful and hopefully interesting manor. To often people add too much detail or conversely too little. If information is too sparse sometimes things have to be added to spice the story up.

Anyway I digress, basically it is easy to lie. Most of us lie frequently either by embellishing reality of inventing it. For example most people would blaime traffic rather than admit they overslept. The trick of course is not the lie itself but whether the other party believes it.

My friend believed women are better at telling lies because they are more imaginative and therefore able to invent better supporting stories for the lies, and are better able to remember the details of the lie allowing it to endure, and as we all know lie to yourself long enough and you start to believe the lie.

For me there are several things important in not being detected. Most important people must trust you. It might seem obvious but we naturally distrust people unless they are 'experts' like doctors. However we implicitly trust a lot of the people in our lives and that means its easier to swallow their lies. Details are important, but more important is sticking to the story. Often especially with big lies people use a series of lies though all seemingly innocent present a conflicting argument sometimes ever contradicting the earlier lies. This will undoubtedly lead the recipient of the lies to question the evidence (unless they are particularly trusting (or dim :P).

I am not great at telling lies, though I will often lie or avoid telling the truth in order to avoid conflict or just out of laziness. Sometimes I lie to people for amusement either to see if they will swallow or question. I found a site which purports to help one lie better but I disagree with one of the major points. Part of their argument is avoiding people you have an emotional attachment with as they know your baseline behaviour and because you have an attachment you will not be able to lie as easily. I think the opposite is true you can only tell big lies to people who trust you like a partner how else do people live double lives and cover huge secrets in families over generations even? I am also sure I remember reading a study which proved its easier to lie to your partner but I cant find any reference on the internet if anyone know about it please tell where I can find a copy.

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