Thursday, November 05, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

A few months ago I discussed various types of lies and wondered whether you can or should trust a liar again, here. Given the recent movie release, The Invention of Lying and the FOX TV show Lie to Me, many others are also considering the impact of lies and dealing with liars.

The proof is in the pudding. And my answer is no. Recent evidence shows that where there’s one lie, there are very likely more, either already articulated or yet to come. Kind of like cockroaches. At least the nasty insects scatter and hide when you shine light on them...but you know they’re there, multiplying and waiting ‘til the time is right to come out again. Lies are like termites, because by the time you discover how far they go, the damage is done.

Whether the liar is a client who promises to pay but doesn’t, a cheating significant other, someone you hired who pads his bill or doesn’t do what he was paid to do, a post on Craiglist you think is legitimate but leads you to some scam, or a friend or family member whose mendacity makes your life more difficult, how do you handle it once the dam has been broken, once your trust has been breached? Maybe you think that person is dead to you and never speak to him again. Maybe you think, "He says he's really sorry. I'll give him another chance." Good luck. That saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," exists for a reason.

If you’ve been lied to, how do you trust again: 1) others, because surely everyone you meet isn't a liar 2) yourself and your decision making ability? If you choose to keep the liar in your life, how do you relax day to day and not worry that everything that person tells you is a lie?

This brings to mind the old ad campaign, "Do you know where your package is?" The answer is: you don't, unless you can be with it and keep your eye on it 24/7.

Several articles about liars and dealing with them: Liars get what they want. They avoid punishment, and they win others' affection. Calmly state what you know to be true.

wikiHow: To protect your own sanity, seek help.

eHow: Disassociate yourself from that person before you get hurt.

Personal Web Guide: Be careful who you let your guard down with.

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