Weasel Lies 6 replies

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Nemmerle Forum Mod

Voice of joy and sunshine

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#1 7 months ago

There's this thing that people do, which I'll illustrate by example:

"Ask it as 'I'm not sure if I asked you to have a look at...' " said Nem's father. 
"Why would I ask him that?" Asked Nem "I know bloody well I asked him to have a look at it. You were there."
"It's like a Freudian thing, asking if he forgot without actually asking if he forgot"
"... Just makes you sound like a bit of a pussy, if I'm brutally honest." Said Nem, "And I usually am."

Now the problem I have with this is that, in my experience, when you start fudging the truth that you want to speak it corrodes your character. There are certainly times to hold your tongue, that's different to what I'm talking about. When you open your mouth is what you speak iron? Is it something you're going to stand behind? Do people, at least those who know you at all, take you more seriously because when you open your mouth what you say is always something you believe to be true? And if, when you speak, you habitually soften the truth with lies - even white lies - about yourself or about the world, does that stop your word being iron when you really need the iron there?

What do you all think? Does a weasel - or I guess what we might call 'tactical' - lie about nothing of great import have implications for the rest of your character, or is it harmless?




Last edited by Nemmerle 7 months ago

Lindale Forum Mod

Mister Angry Rules Guy

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#2 7 months ago

When someone tells you something about themselves, you need to automatically assume it is an exaggeration.


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MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#3 7 months ago

Typically, when I'm talking to people it is about topics where I do not feel there is an obvious side to take. I suppose I am a bit of a skeptic and overly careful, so I tend to review all options and make up my mind when I have sufficient evidence. But it seems nowadays being preceived as decisive is important, so people tend to jump to conclusions and defend one perspective firmly. And those they talk to are seem easily taken in by this behavior.
It seems like people who behave like alpha-animals have an advantage, regardless of whether what they say is fact-based or not.

Not really surprised that many people behave like weasels in this environment.







RadioactiveLobster Forum Admin

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#4 7 months ago

I avoid this by not talking to people.

I do have to say I've not heard the term "Weasel Lies" before.


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Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#5 7 months ago
Posted by Lindale

When someone tells you something about themselves, you need to automatically assume it is an exaggeration.

Oh what a harsh world without love tonguez.gif

 

Posted by MrFancypants Typically, when I'm talking to people it is about topics where I do not feel there is an obvious side to take. I suppose I am a bit of a skeptic and overly careful, so I tend to review all options and make up my mind when I have sufficient evidence. But it seems nowadays being preceived as decisive is important, so people tend to jump to conclusions and defend one perspective firmly. And those they talk to are seem easily taken in by this behavior.
It seems like people who behave like alpha-animals have an advantage, regardless of whether what they say is fact-based or not.

Not really surprised that many people behave like weasels in this environment.

I don't know, in that context - subjects where there's not a clear position to take - isn't this just a submission behaviour? And if it is, would people have less bother being around people with strong opinions ill-informed by the facts if they just said "I don't have an opinion on that" or "I haven't decided yet, I'll get back to you" shuffle their way out of the argument? My thinking being if you use lies to soften your position, that's not going to make the predators go away. 

(e.g. if you're in a business meeting and... say there's some figure that wasn't tracked that should have been for a long time: The boss saying 'This is all your fault' isn't going to treat you any better if you accept the blame and go down the line of 'Well, we need some time to get our house in order and then...' as compared to 'We all should have been monitoring this, it was important to everyone and none of us noticed for a long time. We all have our share of reflecting to do there. We can have a debate about which of us is more responsible but it's going to be more productive to talk about what we can put in place to get the data.')


Posted by RadioActiveLobster I avoid this by not talking to people.

I do have to say I've not heard the term "Weasel Lies" before.

I don't know if it's an existing term, t'is just one I came up with for the thread :




Serio VIP Member

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#6 5 months ago

It's part of Socialisation 101. You pick your words to ensure flawless communication while minimising conflict. It's the same kind of 'thing' that happens when you apply a rather pointless adjective such as 'bloody' to a word to emphasise it. Bloody doesn't actually mean anything. If you take it literally, then I suppose you may be so furious over the very idea of being forgotten that you've spontaneously ruptured and begun bleeding. 


Does it make you "seem like a pussy"? Perhaps, but I think most people - in particular men - could use a bit of pussy in them. We have a terrible tendency to be the instigators of conflict, and all too often these conflicts arise over slights or perceived emasculating behaviour from others. 




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#7 5 months ago
Posted by Serio

It's part of Socialisation 101. You pick your words to ensure flawless communication while minimising conflict. It's the same kind of 'thing' that happens when you apply a rather pointless adjective such as 'bloody' to a word to emphasise it. Bloody doesn't actually mean anything. If you take it literally, then I suppose you may be so furious over the very idea of being forgotten that you've spontaneously ruptured and begun bleeding. 


Does it make you "seem like a pussy"? Perhaps, but I think most people - in particular men - could use a bit of pussy in them. We have a terrible tendency to be the instigators of conflict, and all too often these conflicts arise over slights or perceived emasculating behaviour from others. 

Tact isn't the same as lying, which was the point of the example. And lying isn't the same as just adopting a different tone for emphasis. One may very occasionally have to employ lies to accomplish a tactful end, but the two are different concepts. For example, in the given instance, you don't have to turn around to your mechanic and be all: 

"So, did you actually do the thing I asked you to? (Or are you just a lazy fucker?)" 

You can just ask, as I did: 

"Did you get time to look at X? (Hey, I understand you've got other demands on your time.)"

If they didn't, oh well, if they did - great. If they had the time and didn't do it, maybe there's a conversation there. That I didn't remember if I'd asked, by contrast, would have been categorically untrue. That's not a tone thing. And I think you do pay a cost if lying is your habit to avoid conflict, because if you feel pressure and you then lie... well, what other situations might you feel pressure in? If one will lie to avoid, perhaps, causing someone a slight amount of: 

'Oh yeah, I shoulda done that, sorry.'

Then why should one trust their word on any issue? Say some trivial amount of money - a few thousand pounds perhaps - is on the line: Well, you know they'll lie if it will avoid them having to suffer someone maybe being mildly uncomfortable, so what chance is there they'll keep their word when they stand to lose something more? It was valued at less than that amount previously after all. 


On the whole, it doesn't seem to me flawless communication to say something that isn't true to avoid minor discomfort. Speaking to the tact thing again, there are tactful ways to put things without lying. I mean say you're at work and you took that approach: Someone comes to you with a project and it's terrible. "I like X, Y and Z," is perfectly true, if you want to avoid engaging on the subject - you can always find something good to say about almost anything, and just don't comment on the terrible bit. Or if you're obliged to give feedback and you feel like being generous with sharing your opinion, then you might say: 

"I like X, Y and Z. There's some room for improvement on and around A." 

That's not offensive. It's a much more tactful way of saying it than: 

"Jesus Christ! What hot fucking mess have you shat out your arse this week? No wonder there was so much groaning, I'm surprised so much shit fits up there. I mean what do you do? Use a shovel to dig it out? Just... Jesus man. Fuck." 

But all of those statements are reasonably tactful without lying. Or if you're talking about redundancies - a fair number of managers will claim not to know who's going to be made redundant, and thereafter no-one trusts a word that manager says, because they know full well the manager is lying. What the manager should have said is: 

"I know, however I'm not at liberty to discuss it. As soon as I can share it with you I will." 

And that is the road of respect, and trust, and truth, because he hasn't just blown smoke up your arse.

Or say you've been in a meeting where people have behaved atrociously, the proper full on banging on the table smashing things atrociously, but naturally you don't want to spread that around the office: "I've got nothing bad to say about anyone." Perfectly true, you're not going to speak ill of anyone to the person asking for gossip.


You can have tact, under almost all circumstance, without the lies. You certainly don't need to lie to the guy working on your car to keep him calm. Not unless he's some sort of neurotic psychopath.




Last edited by Nemmerle 5 months ago