Lying takes 2 People

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Are you being lied to?

Are you being lied to?  Yes. Often.

We Enjoy Lies. When we believe a lie, it is because we want to believe the lie.

“Everyone is hungry for something and they will give anything to get it” Pamela Meyer, Liespotting

I met Pamela Meyer at the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation University in Istanbul, Turkey about a month ago.  She spoke about Lie Spotting.  She has spent years working with the FBI to train agents in spotting deception.

She spoke about several clues that FBI agents learn to watch for when they conduct interviews.  You can read more about those clues in her book.  However there was a deeper idea that she left with me.

We Enjoy Lies

Bernie Madoff, $18 Billon fraudster

When we believe a lie, it is because we want to believe the lie.

Lying is a cooperative act. When somebody lies to us and we choose to believe it, we are cooperating with the liar. A great liar is excellent at quickly identifying what it is that you want more than anything. The liar’s lies will help you see yourself closer to the person you wish you were, but that inside you don’t feel that you are.

“Lying is the bridge between reality and our fantasies, between who we are and who we want to be. And it’s a cooperative act. You can only be lied to if you agree to it.” Pamela Meyer

If you are taken in by a financial scheme, it is because the liar has seen that you want to see yourself as a smart, financially savvy person; and you don’t feel that you are. Or it may be that your brother is richer than you and it bothers you, the con-man sees that your need is to feel that you are as good as your brother.

I sat there in the audience in Istanbul and I reflected on the types of fantasies that I have.  What type of person I would like to appear to be?  Where does my fantasy me most differ from my real me?  If a liar tells me that I show excellent discipline and consistency: I want to believe. If a liar tells me that I still look young, strong and healthy; I am prone to believing.  If Bernie Madoff told me that he only allows the elite few to invest, and that he has heard that I am a special person; I am prone to deciding to invest.

Caveat Emptor

It is where our fantasy most diverges from our reality that we will be most open to accepting deception.  What are your fantasies that a liar might use?  What do you want to believe that you are, but inside still have doubts?  Who do you want to love you, but inside wonder whether they do?  What groups do you want to belong to, and inside hope to one day be able to join?  In these situations, you will believe a liar’s deception.

10 responses to “Lying takes 2 People”

  1. Nice thoughtful post, Prof.
    Our willingness to accept a lie is dependent on a couple of soft factors
    – our personal feelings towards the person/idea (love or admiration can make us blind to reality)
    – our own phase of life (when life seems to be going well in general, we might stop questioning)
    – public opinion (most of us tend to follow the herd)
    To spot lies, we should be able to be rational and analyze whatever is being told to us

    1. Nice analysis… yep, the more I love the idea, the more I need to step back and speak to friends, write the ideas down, take time to reflect… great to hear from you

  2. Great post Conor, I reallly like it.

    1. Glad you stopped by the blog. I love comments 😉

  3. Great blog! Unfortunately you have been going into my junk box automatically. I changed that and look forward to your articles.
    BTW, I hate lying and deception because I used to be too good at it as a child! ; )

    1. Glad I am now out of your spam filters! They say we dislike in others what we don’t want to accept in ourselves 😉

  4. There is another book written by ex CIA operatives called “Spy the lie”. The message is consistent. It’s entertaining also. We miss the lie because we want to believe it. Ask the one simple probing question and the fantasy gets turned upside down and exposed very quickly. It can be applied in everyday life.

    1. Yep, “know thyself” again being the truth of it… if I know what I most seek, I can spot when I am being led down the garden path by someone 😉

  5. Great post Conor, and thats why we have “confidants” (people such as our wives) to help us better realise when we are being nudged off the cliff.

    1. Exactly, this is why a small group of “confidants” is so important. They don’t share our fantasies, and will not be so easily manipulated. Our challenge is to listen to our confidants, even when we really want to ignore their words of wisdom.

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