Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if people were more honest about their thoughts and intentions? Yet it often seems some people lie just because it’s easier. Others lie because they have hidden agendas. To figure them out we need to either play detective or simply walk away and say, “Fuggedaboudit!”
Recently a TV commercial for a major bank shows a couple meeting for a first date. In a display of radical honesty both acknowledge they have plans later if the date doesn’t work out. As she rides off in a cab, both calmly and matter-of-factly say they’ll send cryptic texts to each other to be polite – but they’ll never see each other again.
In the arena of personal relationships people who lie without even realizing it (lying liars) often say they don’t want to tell the truth of their feelings so they don’t “hurt” the other person. Instead they make vague statements that leave the other person wondering what the heck is going on. Have you ever been in a relationship where your partner or spouse skated around the truth leaving you wondering what was real and what was phony baloney?
On the flip side, be honest, have you ever been a lying liar – treating the facts like eggshells on the floor to be danced around and avoided?
The business world is no stranger to people who create their own version of the truth as well. I’m not referring to people who purposefully take advantage of others. However, people who don’t provide straight up information or answers to a clear question because they have a tenuous grasp on the truth, often leave us scratching our heads wondering what to do next.
I have a good friend who’s a talented, busy consultant. In April four prospective clients told her they wanted to start working with her in May. As of June 1, she’s been able to successfully connect with one though he still skips around refusing to nail down a clear starting date. The other three seem to have done a disappearing act. Or, they’ve sent her texts with vague information, leaving her hanging.
Would you really even want to know the truth all the time? Many thin-skinned people who bruise easily would have a tough time going through life constantly at the effect of people who are 100 percent straight up. Being told the straight scoop all the time would be difficult for them to stomach. Imagine hearing “no” over and over again rather than hearing a vague “maybe.”
Personally, I think it would be so much easier to do business if people always told the truth and let the lying liars fall miserably into an abyss somewhere with the rest of them chattering away, accomplishing nothing because no one will give a straight answer to even the simplest of questions.
The key to handling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is to avoid getting overly emotional. That doesn’t mean shoving down your feelings. It does mean not taking it personally. One of the best books that helped me in this arena was released about a decade ago. It’s titled, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
In agreement number two Ruiz says, “Don’t take anything personally.” Some people may think that’s difficult to do – after all there are a lot of irritations and stressors in life. Many lying liars tiptoe around the truth, whether they’re saying what they think you want to hear or they don’t care one way or another.
The way I see it I try to imagine a picture of that child as an infant or toddler. Then in a few seconds I fast forward through their childhood, adolescence, college years, twenties, thirties and beyond to the age they’re at now. I see them as a person who’s experienced ups and downs. Failures and successes. They’ve experienced love and heartbreak as most of us have. They could’ve gotten a parking ticket the day you speak to them. They could’ve had a person they’ve poured love and attention into say something hurtful and mean-spirited minutes before. They could’ve gained or lost an important business deal that day. All those experiences add up to the person they are right now.
So when we approach them with our offering and they say “no” or answer with a frustratingly vague “maybe” we think it’s personal and aimed at us??? No, they’re simply doing what they always do.
True, we cannot control when and if others will take a deep breath and tell the truth in a gentle, clear way or fall into the ease of lying. But we can remove a lot of the sting by realizing no matter what the circumstances their answer probably has little to do with us.