Thursday, 28 August 2014

"Word-Fu"

Welcome back!  Man, it's great to see you, it's been ages. Have you had a haircut? Looks good. 

Today I thought we could deal with that ancient art of "Word-Fu" - namely the ability to handle situations using your knowledge of vocabulary and/or language in general. Not the game you find if you Google this term, trust me, this version of Word Fu is not a game. Oh no, no indeed.


So we've dealt with body language in prior posts, so it just seemed right to work on what you're actually saying too, right?

But we're gonna get a little specific. We're gonna deal with a few people who we find difficult.

Who or what am I talking about?  

Liar's and Cheats.


Now to explain - this is not some personal crusade or revenge/frustration driven rant given parts of my life to date.  Nope, this one's far from it. Life has taught me a few things, things I reckon it would be good for you to know. This is an attempt to help you out if you're currently struggling with that odd sensation in your gut which is telling you "something ain't right here..."

We all know that feeling, it happens to everyone. 

So yep, this post is designed to be 
A beginners guide to handling liars and cheats utilising Word Fu.

Consider this an opportunity to take the wool away from your eyes. 

To begin, a liar/cheat can be defined as those people who always spout lies to either make themselves look good, to cover their asses when they've been busted/trying to avoid being busted, those who dig themselves out of a hole (that they probably dug themselves) with non-truths or who are always putting someone else down for their own personal gain. 

Yep...THEM.

This is also about those people who never apologise - even when all the facts stack up against them higher than the Himalayas. This is about those who feel the need to deceive, who often have a distorted version of right and wrong and who are just dramatically challenged and need to feed drama into their lives. 
Whoa. Yeah...I know...
That was a BIG list of who this is about but please, stay with me. 
It'll be worth the read.


Now, there are a couple of other categories which we will exclude from this post just to be clear.

1. The liar who lies due to a distinct lack of confidence - whereby due to personal circumstances (i.e. has been put down all of their lives, told they are a loser etc) an individual will bend the truth a little, but never to hurt anyone.  In these cases, dependent on the lie being told, most people will forgive them, often because the lies they tell are horrible and about as transparent as air. 

2. And our common "Little White Lies" - like Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy - they are designed to inspire your child's imagination, not to be lies to be found out and crucified for.   


This leaves us with the Liar's and cheats who lie on purpose, knowingly to deceive YOU. 

So, the first question - How can you spot them?


Well, it's actually not as hard as you think, but you have to want to see. 
How often have you been in a relationship where you've known you're being lied to, but choose to ignore it for your kids/your income/your lifestyle or some other "comfortable" reason? 
I'll bet good money I haven't been the only one.

So if you are looking, there are a few "tell's" and "types" that give most liar's away. 

But the number one rule - trust your instincts - if you feel like something is wrong with what you're being told, it often is. 

If it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, flies like a duck, odds are....its a duck.
Remember - 93% of all communication is non-verbal.
  • A liar will often look away rather than making eye contact as they are talking with you
  • Holding eye contact too long (yes, the opposite of the above). This one is generally felt as awkwardness. The liar is challenging you to challenge what they are saying - they expect to be caught out.
  • Distracting behaviours like touching their ears, playing with hair or clothes, changing the subject the more uncomfortable they become etc
  • Speed of their voice - often liars will speak slightly faster than normal when lying.
  • Too much detail - liars often pre-meditate how they will tell you something and create great detail "in case" you ask. They often tell you this detail without you asking.
  • Trying too hard to sound normal that they actually end up sounding weird and false
  • Deflection - re-accusing the accuser - this is a classic whereby if you confront the liar about their lying, they will accuse you of either doing the same thing or something much worse to change the focus. 
  • The "Dismissively Aggressive" - ever heard the saying "doth thy protest too much?". This one is generally used by aggressive people who deep down know they have done wrong but will never admit it, often combined with the "Believer".
  • You will be made to feel like everything is all your fault, often. This protects the liar by you always being the worse one. I fell into this situation once before - not a cool place to be. 
  • "The Retreat" - often liars will avoid discussions where they can be found out. What better way than to just walk away? 
  • The "Believer" - this is probably the most dangerous liar of all. They actually believe the lie they are telling you is true. 
  • And finally (but by no means the end of any liar list) the "Clever". This is the one where you are literally baffled by bullshit. This one takes a very good talker with a high level understanding of "Word-Fu". Most politicians probably fall into this category.
Life would be so much easier if a liar's pants actually did catch on fire, right?  For sure, true story.

Now that we have a few categories and generalisations on methods a liar will use against you, the next question is 

How can you stop them lying? 

Well, bad news buddy.  You can't
I know, I know - not the answer you wanted, 
but unfortunately, it's absolutely true. 
It is literally impossible to stop someone lying to you.
Especially if they have something to hide.

But the saving grace is, generally speaking you will always notice (if you know the person lying to you) even if you're not being paranoid or jumping at shadows. 

You'll get that feeling something is wrong - you know the one.

This is true for cheaters too.
If you suspect a cheater - and yes, they are a special bunch, advanced liars - something will trigger for you. 

For relationships where you co-habitat - suspicions can be sparked if you notice something has been moved in your house, more attention is spent focused on cell phones, conversations are happening less, frustrations at you become higher, your items get covered up or even put somewhere else. Cheaters and adulterers are very good at mastering these skills, especially the bold ones who believe it is their right to act the way they do. 
Consider how much of a bummer it must be for them trying to work their mojo on someone else when there is a picture of you hanging up in the front room, or a whole heap of your stuff hanging around. Not gonna work too well for them, right? 

An example - a friend of mine years back was dating a detective and they'd been living together for about 5 years, she'd thought they were happy. Bad news was - he'd been cheating on her in their own home since the beginning of their relationship, moving all her stuff (putting things in drawers, hiding them away) every time he had someone come over - and there'd been many. He blamed her when he got caught (she found a picture she treasured of the both of them under their bed) and probably still does. He was an arrogant guy, full of his own importance and believed he was always right.  

Yet another person playing "alpha" male. You'll see I stated playing, because that's all they're doing, pretending to be number one.  They're not really number one by any stretch of the imagination, by putting others down they think they can elevate themselves.  
Bad news for them.

If you happen to be one of these pretend Alpha Males (or an Alpha Female) and is reading this for any insights you can use, quit it.  Now.  You're being an asshole. 

Real Alpha's know their responsibilities to others, they don't use/abuse others for their own gains. They'll do the opposite and be all good with it.

And most pretend Alpha's all end up the same too. They refuse to pull their heads in and eventually they get it knocked off. It's simple physics - action, then opposite and equal reaction. Be an asshole, get smacked over like one. 
Trust me, there is ALWAYS someone tougher than you. 

Now if you are worried about this cheating happening in your home, take note of where your stuff is and of your partners behaviours both good and bad, something will always give them away. Most cheaters aren't very smart. 

Another thing you could keep a nose out for is "smell". For example - if you get home to a smell of air freshener, they could've been either smoking weed, they've burnt something in the kitchen, have severe "wind" or are trying to mask someone's perfume/cologne. 

Awareness is always the key - as is a level head

You also need to appreciate that all of these things can be happening and your partner NOT be cheating on you. 
However, if you are suspicious and feel that something is wrong, investigate and put it to rest because it just might be real.

       Remember - if it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, flies like a duck, odds are....its a duck.

Another indicator can be perhaps your partner is going out more and more and not wanting you to come along. If cheating is a potential, are you finding yourself in a fight just before they go out? 
It could be a way of justification for them telling you to stay home so they can go out with their friends and/or their hook up. 
Are they always encouraging you to go out and don't care where? Mmmmm. 

But hey, enough about cheaters, lets move on back to liars. They kinda go hand-in-hand with cheats anyway since isn't that what cheats are actually doing anyway?

For liars - you can always try and create a safe environment whereby they will feel they don't have to lie to you - useful especially with children and teenagers. 

I do this with our two boys and I back it up with non-confrontational methods of busting them when I catch them. I can tell when they are lying just by getting them to tell me their story whilst maintaining eye-contact.  If you know your kids, you'll know how to do this already too.

For most liars, they lie until the point they get caught out, then they scramble. 

If you believe you are being lied to, my suggestion is confront the person. You can start softly, softly such as "Look, are you sure that's what happened?  It doesn't sound quite right..." and then you can utilise a real piece of "Word Fu" that almost never fails.  

Oh yeah, this is intermediate to advanced level stuff.  

You're not using "silence" properly. 

Yep - S.I.L.E.N.C.E. 
The absence of noise, y'know, keep yah mouth shut bro', or shushit@dudeyouretooloud.co.nz or www.zip_it.com. 

So I can see your eyebrow lifting, you're not so sure on what I'm saying huh?  

I guess it does sound a bit like a misnomer.  I've been describing "Word-Fu" yet I'm talking about you saying "nothing" wrongly? 
Yeah, it sounds a bit weird even to me as I'm writing this. 
But like any of my left-field posts, hold the phone, put your feet up, park this baby in neutral and trust me. 
If you utilise this skill I'm about to teach you, you will become a better one on one speaker, listener, a better communicator and most of all - become a much better bullshit detector.
So what on earth am I actually blathering on about here? 

It's remarkably simple. Silence can be your best friend and a worthy Allie, especially when you are dealing with people who are trying to lie to you. 
Let me set the scene for how I learnt this little gem, handy bit of background.
I had a friend back in the 80's and 90's named Hitoshi who was a lot older than me, was my intermediate Aikido instructor and he held a fairly middle management rank in a manufacturing firm who had just started doing a bit of business here in New Zealand back when "Made in Japan" became viewed as not bad stuff at all. 
Nothing cool like electronics, no he didn't work for Sony. 
As one of only two of Hitoshi's European student's, I was always being told off for talking too much - I preferred to call it "youthful exuberance" whereas Hitoshi preferred to call it "a problem with authority".
This came to a head literally, spinning back-fist involved, when I answered a rhetorical question with a joke in the middle of a 50-strong training session. 
Turned out that my barbarian humour wasn't all that funny and I ended up with bruises from the other students just to prove how "un-funny" the sound of one hand clapping actually was. 

I also managed another few thick ears talking about cups being half empty/half full and a snide comment about "either way there is room for bourbon". 
Yes, it seemed my insight genius was not appreciated then either. 
So - somewhat flabbergasted at my lack of understanding and on the verge of giving up - Hitoshi took me along with him to a business meeting where I was to learn something or suffer the consequence of loss of face. Not literally though. My face was going to be fine.

I was introduced to the other party as an "associate", although to what I had no idea, but according to Hitoshi I was dragged along to learn something vitally important that could finally get me to understand what he'd been trying to get through "my Thrick Scrull". 
Now given I couldn't (and still can't) speak much Japanese, I figured I was going to learn about as much as "bad wind" in a rubber suit... no doubt this was going to be a painful and uncomfortable few hours.

On arriving however, I found that all the other company representatives were European and they were a happy accommodating bunch, as were Hitoshi's people. I observed the appropriate courtesies, figured my luck had changed since everything seemed nice and casual, I only slightly felt like the charity case dumb kid at the smarty pants party, but at least I figured was going to understand at least some of what was going to be said.  We were all ushered into the meeting room to begin discussions, me at the back and firmly out of the way, no dunce hat included. 
Before we headed in to sit down however, Hitoshi told me to say absolutely nothing unless I was spoken to directly. It was one of those "do as I say" moments you'd get from your Mum, y'know the ones, when she'd use your whole name including your middle name. 

Needless to say, I kept my mouth shut. 
What happened over the next hour however, changed the way I see communication forever and I'm happy I went. Hitoshi was right and I'm glad he stuck his neck out so far with his co-workers and took me along.
Y'see the Japanese have a slightly different way of doing business. Yes, gross generalisation I agree, but since that meeting I learnt it's mostly a fairly true statement. 


Both teams sat either side of a longish table, not much a view but all in all, a fairly boring venue.
The thing that had me spellbound over the next couple of hours was that there were times in that meeting where it felt like I almost had to say something, the very core of me screaming out "say something!" much like trying to ignore a phone ringing - it became almost physical pain in wanting to answer the thing. 

I swear that the silence was so deafening and so uncomfortable that the nature of the meeting quickly changed and the other party had to keep filling the gaps, they started talking up a storm. 
During particularly long silences, Hitoshi would look back to me to reinforce his message. As dutiful student I complied.  The longer this meeting went on, the more out-of-sorts the other people became. 
I kid you not, at one point it was like a competition of who speaks first loses as the Europeans started to catch on. 
At the end of the meeting however I overheard one of the exec's asking what the hell had happened in there, it seemed they'd revealed too much and been more truthful than they had been planning to be. 
They literally didn't seem to be able to help themselves but fill those silences with more and more wins for Hitoshi and the company he worked for. The other business just kept sweetening the deal with more and more offers to get Hitoshi's company on-board, an obvious assumption over why the Japanese were being so quiet.

I learnt afterward that it wasn't because Hitoshi's group weren't sure, it wasn't that they wanted more (because they didn't), it was simply because they knew how to negotiate and they simply wanted the truth. They were cautiously analysing all the information being given AND they knew before they even started that the truth would come out.  They'd utilised this tactic before.

Having read Sun Tzu's "Art of War" since this meeting, I think (although still not 100% sure) that I got more a handle on this but at the time, I - and the European group - had no idea what was happening.  

Hitoshi's group knew that most people, most importantly the European's they were dealing with, dislike silence.

Consider this - just how many times have you filled awkward silences yourself?  
I'll bet lots. We're not wired to handle it all that well. 

Y'see by saying nothing, most people who are feeling the pressure of the silence can't help but reveal their own true thoughts, it's almost as if we've been taught this way. 
Silence equals bad.

The scary thing is - it's actually quite the opposite. Welcome to Word Fu.

If you don't believe me, try it for yourself and practice. 

1. Ask a person the question you want to know the answer to - perhaps one that you know they would not tell you the 100% information for
2. Let your question hang there. A thoughtful expression will help.
3. Keep your mouth shut. You will feel uncomfortable and so will they. Keep quiet. The results will most likely surprise you. 

Word to the wise though, this is not something to be used for negative or personal gain - pretend Alpha's (male and female) I'm talking to you. 

This is simply a tool to be used so you can gain the truth from any situation whereby you would need it in order to make an informed decision. 

So welcome to the essence of Word-Fu, my friend.

Over here in the knowing side - silence is indeed GOLDEN.​ 

...That is unless you have kids...then it's just damn suspicious...