You can’t stop someone from intentionally lying to you, but you can stop them from deceiving you.
We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The first step is to choose to be aware that some people in your life are less than honest about their accomplishments and experiences. What they say may have elements of truth, but they marshal those facts in a way to give you a wholly false understanding of themselves. Your misunderstanding is not accidental, and it is up to you to uncover the deceptions if you want your relationship to be built on honesty. You don’t have to determine the truth – truth can be subjective – only that what you’re hearing is not a reasonably close approximation of the truth.
Bring your skills of conversation, particularly the skill of showing curiosity – to uncover the deception. Most people, when they sense they can no longer deceive you, will at the very least stop telling their lies.
Show your curiosity with broad, open-ended questions. These are the key to spotting when someone is not giving you an accurate portrayal because they require detailed and specific information. After just a few such questions, it becomes very difficult for a liar to successfully continue the deception.
The trite saying that honesty is the best policy
has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy.
The real honest man is honest from conviction of
what is right, not from policy.
~ Robert E. Lee
It takes courage to be willing to live an honest life, and an honest life includes more than being honest about you. An honest life means that you expect others to be honest with you and you are willing to actively determine for yourself that they are.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: Relationships that are built on deceit can never be as close or as meaningful as relationships built on honesty. If you want honesty in your relationships, do more than give it and expect it from others, be willing to determine for yourself when you have it, and when you do not. It’s your choice to be deceived.
The next time you think someone is deceiving you, try using your curiosity to further the conversation, and let me know the results in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!
Related Posts: Other Looks at Honesty