Tuesday, April 12, 2005

how to lie

The main thing to do:
Concentrate on believing the role you're playing, and ignore completely the question of whether or not the other person believes you. When we tell the truth we almost never worry about convincing anyone -- why should we? We're telling the truth, after all -- if they don't believe us, it means they're stupid, not that we're lying.

What not to do -- two examples from my life where someone forgot to be in the role:

1) We found a canary in our garage. Since canaries are not native to Alberta, Canada, we assumed it was a lost pet. The neighbour kid showed up, and we showed him the bird, flying around in the garage. He said, "You know what? I lost a canary a couple of days ago." It was possibly the worst-delivered lie ever, and why? Because he forgot to believe the lie himself before speaking. If he really *had* lost his canary, he would have said, "I can't believe it! You found Tweety! Incredible! Oh, thank you!"

2) We were talking about model rockets. One young man started talking about rockets he had flown with his brother. About two minutes in, he said, "And one time, we put a mouse in the nose cone and sent him up..." Which was clearly a lie, since if he *had* ever sent a mouse up in a rocket, it would have been the first thing he said: "Ooh, ooh! One time my brother and I put a mouse in our rocket!" Since it took him so long to come out with the mouse story, we all knew he'd just thought it up that second.

As a bonus, here's possibly the worst-delivered lie I've ever tried:
I was about 5 yrs old, and stayed outside playing for so long that I wet my pants. When my mother saw me, I claimed to have fallen in a puddle. She said, "and you just got wet there?" I said I had fallen *across* the puddle, so only my crotch had gotten wet. Also it was a warm puddle. For some reason, she didn't buy it.

Anyway, these are just a couple thoughts that hopefully can help everyone become more accomplished and believable liars. I believe my work here is done...


At Wed Apr 13, 09:51:00 AM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.


At Wed Apr 13, 01:54:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

When my younger daughter was around 3 or 4, we noticed that she was in the bathroom for quite awhile. When we opened the door with scissors in her hand and hair all over the floor. When she saw us, the first thing she said was, "I didn't cut my hair."

At Wed Apr 13, 05:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Erik said...

unca, that's great--i would've said "i know, and i'm not spanking you either, so we're even".

At Thu Apr 21, 11:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Just contributing a childhood lie. (Good post Bryan). When I was 5 years old I was playing with a friend at his house. I really didn't want to go home but it was lunchtime and I sort of hung around till his mom invited me. (I don't think we had a phone- this was 1948)The mom said I needed to ask permission to stay for lunch from my mom (about 5 minutes walk from there). I went out to head home but decided I would "fake it" so I sort of hid behind a building and came back in approximatly 25 seconds. For some reason they knew I hadn't gone all the way home and the whole thing sort of fell apart. I think habitual liars usually think other people are pretty dumb.


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