I am the default person in the house to deal with telemarketers or customer service representatives. Working in conjunction with a third party collection agency gave me a glimpse at how some of those places work. People will say whatever they think it will get them a result, and in the end they end up lying.
We might not realize it, but every time we see someone else lie our trust for that person starts to diminish. What I never realized before reading this short essay by Sam Harris is that it goes well beyond that. It seems that from a psychological stand point, the person lying starts to get hostile towards the person that they lie to.
There is a saying we use back in Colombia “El ladron juzga por su condicion.” This can be losely translated without losing all its meaning to “A thief believes everyone else steals.”
People that routinely lie to themselves or others also think others are also liars. Furthermore, people that routinely lie start to dislike the people that they lie to,
In fact, suspicion often grown on both sides of a lie: Research indicates that liars trust those they deceive less than they otherwise might-and the more damaging their lies, the less they trus, or even like, their victims. It seems that in protecting their egos, and interpreting their own behavior as justified, liars ten to deprecate the people they lie to.
Sam Harris then cites the research “Deceiver’s Distrust: Denigration as a Consequence of Undiscovered Deception.”
I grew up with the notion that you should always tell the truth, but it was accentuated by the saying. “Traigame un herido, no un muerto.” That was a saying from my Grandfather, passed down to my Dad and then to me. Be honest about anything you face, if you “Bring me an injured person, don’t bring me a dead one.” That has always stayed in my head, not only to make sure that I ask for help before a problem escalates, but also to always tell the truth.
I trust people easily. I know this can be a bad thing. However, I always feel that the more you give to people the more you will get in return. People know I am blunt, trying to make that more about honesty than lack of tact. I have in recent years just told people I am not interested rather than just hanging up on them. I don’t like to lie or hypocrisy, but I think it shows more trough action than through words.
The more you build trust with people, the more powerful your words become. The consequences of what you say have a profound effect. The more you lose trust on someone, the less their words weight. I chose to see the positive in situations and people, and I have been accused by those that don’t know me of flattery. It could not be further from the truth, I honestly believe in the potential of those around me to succeed and be awesome. All my friends keep proving me right by just being amazing people, so it is not flattery if they really are that freaking cool.
The essay was an easy read, and it made me think a lot. It is good to make a commitment to yourself to always tell the truth… and also learn a little tact. There will always be someone asking you if their puppy is the cutest of them all.