Make Your Lies Count

Everyone hates a liar, right? Everyone also lies. How can this be? We live in a complicated world and contrary to popular sentiment the truth is not always your friend. More importantly for the purposes of this article, it isn’t always your audience’s friend. This is not a guide to lying for fun or for a power trip. This is a guide to make your lies work for you, tools to further your goals.

  1. Lie as infrequently as possible. This is key. Bad (or non-goal-oriented) liars lie all the time and about stupid things, or in stupid ways. The best liars are usually honest.
  2. Lie for a reason. Lie to make a story better. Lie to accomplish an important goal. Lie to protect someone’s feelings. But do not lie for no reason.
  3. Make your lies as true as possible. Does this even need explaining?
  4. Know your audience. This is where we separate the babies from the adults. It isn’t enough to want or need to lie to someone. You need to consider where their loyalties are. For example, if you are lying to three people who are fairly loyal to each other, they are going to compare stories. Also, consider what their loyalty to you is; is lying even necessary? Also, never, ever, ever underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Lying is inherently risky and the average person is better at sniffing out lies than you think.
  5. Craft a solid lie. Avoid the common wisdom that once you lie you have to keep adding to it. Keep it simple. Make it something the audience is already leaning toward believing.
  6. Stick to your guns. Remember that Seinfeld episode where George lies to his would-be in-laws about having a house in the Hamptons and they go along with it to call his bluff? George stuck to his guns until the last moment, driving his in-laws all the way to the Hamptons, hoping they’d relent. However, refer to Nos. 2 and 3. Don’t tell a lie that begs to be challenged. Also, avoid lying to people that have good reasons to challenge you. And, be consistent. Once you’ve settled on your lie, and hopefully crafted it well, don’t elaborate with more lies.
  7. Don’t believe your own lies. Lies as a coping mechanism are not good. Don’t delude yourself or tell others lies so you feel better about who you are or are not.

Go and prosper.

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