Living an open and honest life, being yourself, and hiding nothing is an admirable way to live, if a little impractical sometimes.
Lies are bad OBVIOUSLY, but if you are going to lie for the love of God do it well. Half-arsed lying helps no-one.
If Grandad has taught me anything in life, it’s how to lie effectively. As usual, he taught me this through the medium of being a cautionary tale, rather than actually being much good at it.
Sometimes we have to lie to people for good reasons. We call these white lies. Good examples of these would be things like when a friend, who’s recently put on weight, asks if you can tell that they have recently put on weight, or when a relative or friend has a really ugly baby.
A less good example of a white lie would be when your parent with anger-management problems asks if you are writing a blog about their appalling behaviour.
…Or, if you are asked to go to any event that you won’t enjoy more than staying at home and watching Star Wars in your pants.
Ok, so not all white lies are “good” but I think we can agree they’re fairly innocuous and will likely become a necessity at some point. So let’s look at how to lie in the most plausible way.
The first rule in effective lying is that the lie must sound like the truth. Your Dad is a TERRIBLE liar, and by that I don’t mean he lies often. I mean he’s REALLY bad at it. I mean awful, just awful.
The second rule of effective lying is to check that there is no immediate evidence that you are lying.
The biggest problem for those of us with working memory issues is, and always will be, remembering the lie – which is another good reason for keeping lies to a minimum.
The best way to prevent this happening is not to lie at all; the second best way is to use something that actually happened, but at a different point in time.
The final rule for effective lying is not to do it too often. You can miss one wedding by going to Rome, but if you go to Rome every time there’s a wedding, people will start to suspect you hate weddings, or that you are people-trafficking in Italy, either way you don’t want that.
Frequency matters. Your dog might eat your homework once in a lifetime, but if it’s every week you must be dipping it in gravy first. The only time that frequency can be ignored is when you are both in on the lie.
One warning about white lies, they are gateway lies. Use them often and they could lead to bigger lies, or the worst kind of lies, the ones you tell yourself.
Never lie to move blame to someone else, or to obtain or achieve what should not be yours – If that happens, you’ve gone too far and need to tell the truth. There’s a phrase “the truth will out”. It’s true, it will, and it’ll take you out with it.
Never lie to yourself. It might seem like a victimless crime but it’s not. It will stunt you emotionally, psychologically, and as a human being and that way madness lies.