Life's Pivots and Potholes

Pothole - Good Lying

July 12, 2022 Robin St James Season 2 Episode 1
Pothole - Good Lying
Life's Pivots and Potholes
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Life's Pivots and Potholes
Pothole - Good Lying
Jul 12, 2022 Season 2 Episode 1
Robin St James

Send us a Text Message.

 Hey, everyone, get ready to make a pivot to investigating the potholes each of us encounters as we navigate life. 

The first pothole we will discuss is Lying: Part 1-Good Lying and Part 2- Bad Lying. We ABSOLUTELY are not going to explore lying in the media or government; instead, we are keeping it personal. Of course, we all lie, but I have never heard anyone say how much they adore liars. Why is that?

Drawing on the current research in Sociology, Psychology, and other sciences to create a broad understanding of how Lying serves us and how it can entrap us.

Join me for a fun talk about lying misconceptions, dealing with bad lies, learning how to be a more honest liar, and many other tips to navigate lying healthier.

I will be telling three lies in the Good Lying podcast. Listen to see if you can hear them, and I’ll reveal the lies in Bad Lying.

 

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

 Hey, everyone, get ready to make a pivot to investigating the potholes each of us encounters as we navigate life. 

The first pothole we will discuss is Lying: Part 1-Good Lying and Part 2- Bad Lying. We ABSOLUTELY are not going to explore lying in the media or government; instead, we are keeping it personal. Of course, we all lie, but I have never heard anyone say how much they adore liars. Why is that?

Drawing on the current research in Sociology, Psychology, and other sciences to create a broad understanding of how Lying serves us and how it can entrap us.

Join me for a fun talk about lying misconceptions, dealing with bad lies, learning how to be a more honest liar, and many other tips to navigate lying healthier.

I will be telling three lies in the Good Lying podcast. Listen to see if you can hear them, and I’ll reveal the lies in Bad Lying.

 

00;00;01;26 - 00;00;26;23
Hi and welcome to Pivots and Potholes. I'm Robin St James. Today is the first of a two-part podcast about lying. I'm going to start with Good Lying because those are the types of lies most of us tell almost daily. The second part will be the Pothole of Bad Lying. We'll examine the nature of bad lying behavior and its self-destructive consequences.

00;00;27;20 - 00;00;49;04

I'm not going to talk about lying in the media or in politics. You're on your own with all that. Rather, I want to chat about lying as an integral part of everyone's daily life. And I'm letting you know from the beginning; I'm going to lie to you three times in this podcast. See if you can figure out where, but more importantly, why I lied.

00;00;49;23 - 00;01;18;25

I’ll reveal the lies to you, in part two Bad Lying. We are all liars. Hopefully you know this about yourself. If not, and my last statement made you recoil. Spend 24 hours consciously observing your communications with other people. I genuinely believe, especially if you're headed to dinner at someone's house who has a special dish that isn't special but is really bad, you're going to lie.

00;01;19;19 - 00;01;56;06

This is one example of a good lie. Let’s define the term. 

We all know the basic Webster’s definition but that isn’t truly helpful in understanding lying behaviors.

Let’s look at lying through the lens of psychology, sociology and anthropology, even though there isn’t a cohesive scientific definition.

Rather the sciences understand lying as a behavior and the behaviors can be categorized. Here are a few of the categories. 00;01;56;17 - 00;02;24;22

I want to share a few of these categories so that you can understand the intricacies of good lying.

The occasional liar, people who seldom lie. But when they do, they're blown away by their actions and feel guilty for what they've done. It's possible we all associate this with our grandmas.

The frequent liars, those who go about their life, telling big and small lies. They are concerned about covering their tracks or making sure their lie makes sense. Everybody knows these people are lying. 

The smooth liar. It really is in the name. These liars are so good with words and body language. People tend to believe them even when they know that they have a reputation of being a liar. The smooth liar knows they are lying and these people, they are fun to be around and very entertaining.

The compulsive liar lies when they don't have to, even if telling the truth makes more sense than the lies they tell. These people have an addiction to lying and they simply cannot stop. 

Since I'm talking about this as behavior, it's important to note there are reasons people might lie. Not every person who lies is doing something damaging intentionally.

 

00;03;23;13 - 00;04;04;10

I find that this is where it starts getting sticky, though, because how are we to discern all these differences when dealing with individuals, work, workmates, etc.? We're living in an age where trust no longer has any clear boundaries, and it behooves each of us to understand not only how lying functions, but the understandable lies people may tell. It's easy to absorb large amounts of information, but I'm only going to hit a few of the highlights from a few studies, which will hopefully give you a general idea of how to make decisions about good line and bad lying as you move through your life.

00;04;04;20 - 00;04;32;16

Dr. Paul Ekman is the researcher who's written extensively about micro-expressions. If you know anything about micro-expressions, that's a way to determine if somebody is lying, and he offers reasons why people may lie. Here are just a few points from his research. 

Failure to remember. The failure to remember it isn't a lie, although liars will often try to excuse their lies. Once discovered by claiming a memory failure. Did you catch that? A liar may lie about his own memory. It is not uncommon to forget actions that you regret. But if you truly have forgotten, don't consider that a bad lie. Because there was no choice involved. Choice is crucial in understanding the how and when people lie. Often, it will not be possible to determine whether a memory failure has occurred or whether its invocation is itself a lie.

00;05;05;02 - 00;05;32;16

These are the types of lies that actually most of us will ignore, or we will simply move on to another subject. 

False statements. If someone provides a false account of what is truly occurred, that does not necessarily mean the person intended to mislead. And if there is not a deliberate intent to mislead, a false statement should not be considered a lie.

00;05;33;09 - 00;05;57;19

Why should it matter what we call a false statement? Is it simply a matter of semantics or definition? No. If the person is not lying, or if the person does not believe he is engaged in deception, at the moment he's doing it. There should be no behavioral clues that the account is untrue. In other words, you won't be able to read that someone is intentionally lying to you.

00;05;58;09 - 00;06;32;04

There are a number of ways in which people may provide false information that they believe to be true. 

Here are a few misinterpreting events. People do misinterpret events, especially the meaning of other people's actions and the motives that lead people to act one way or another. The fact that someone interprets matters in a way that reflects well upon them, a way that allows them to engage in actions they find desirable, does not mean that they are necessarily lying rather than misinterpreting.

00;06;32;18 - 00;07;04;13

If you want to join the softball team, but you're really not athletic. You may lie about your athletic prowess and you're doing it so that you can engage in whatever activity is going on. In this case, a softball game. Also, this isn't a matter of self-deception. Not every misunderstanding or misinterpretation is self-deception. 

Believing the lie. Misinterpreting is not the only route by which someone may believe their false account is true.

00;07;05;15 - 00;07;49;01

A person may initially know that they are lying, but over time they come to believe in the lie. Over time, one may come to believe their false story is true. And once they believe the lie, it is in fact their truth. It's conceivable that the memory of a true event and the constructed event can coexist in their consciousness, or the true memory might over time become much less accessible than the constructed belief, or perhaps not accessible at all, so that their lie is now, in fact, their truth, and they will defend that.

00;07;49;16 - 00;08;21;19

Researchers Hodgson and Ballmer conducted studies asking the question Are all lies bad? Lying is typically considered a morally salient phenomenon, but research indicates that it is socially situated. Like my example with the softball team. They went on to expand this notion and I quote, “ According to Goffman, 1959 deceptions are a routine part of the presentation of oneself and the management of group life.”

00;08;22;15 - 00;08;57;28

A person conceptualized this concealment as fabrication, which means the production of a false definition of the situation and containment, which helps management of a participant's experience of the situation to inculcate them into the fabricated view. In other words, we treat some fabrications as benign and some as exploitative, indicating that is that it is how fabrications occur that matters morally, rather than that they are concealing in and of themselves.

00;08;58;20 - 00;09;23;14

Compare, for example, the use of deception to keep one's romantic partner in the dark about their upcoming surprise birthday party with keeping them in the dark about an adulterous relationship. Here, the context of the deception matters for the participants. 

Let's go a bit deeper and all the way back to 1906, where Goffman postulated these sociological imperatives about lying.

00;09;24;05 - 00;09;52;24

Goffman's work on deception thus also helps us to see that lies are not fundamentally aberrant social phenomena that necessarily disrupt the moral order they figure within the moral order. But they are not simply deviations from it. And this means that lies are a part of the orderliness of society. This argument can be traced back to the first comments on lying of any sociological substance in Simmel’s (1906) work on secrecy and secret societies. 

 

00;09;52;25 - 00;10;22;23

He argues that lies are extensions of rather than deviations from the a priori conditions association, which, rather than being founded on transparency, instead depend upon the routine selective filtering of what we say and on strategic representation of ourselves. Via what Vollmer and Brandt wrote, Simmel coined the term an esthetic of concealment.

00;10;23;10 - 00;10;50;13

I like that view of good lies. You want to present yourself in the best possible light. And sometimes that involves good lying. You may also want to become part of a social group, and that may involve some good lying as well. If you go to dinners where the food is not really fabulous, so selective filtering and strategic representation of ourselves appear to be appropriate, societally sanctioned behaviors.

00;10;50;25 - 00;11;12;20

Unknown

And imagine going to a job interview where you're up for a career pivot that wouldn't be your dream job, but would provide you with income that facilitates launching your own business. Maybe a business that's going to compete with the one that you're applying at because you want to do your research and understand how the business model works. When you're inevitably asked, Why do you want this job?

00;11;13;02 - 00;11;46;12

What are you going to say? The truth, that depends. According to the study cited, you will lie and the interviewer knows it. We all encountered these situations many, many times during the course of the week. The research points to evidence that supports telling good lies is a social lubricant and allows us to connect with others. Hopefully this has given you some idea about how, when and what you lie about and maybe will help you extend some grace to others as they like.

00;11;46;12 - 00;11;58;26

You lie their way through life. Thank you for tuning in and please subscribe to Life's Pivots and Potholes podcast. To hear Part two babbling and I'll tell you the three lies I told you.