For NCIS fans out there, Gibbs’ rule #7: Always be specific when you lie, is a well known adage that holds a lot more truth than we realize. Liars, or bad liars, give themselves away in many ways with one of those ways being that the story just does not sound genuine. When we tell stories, details are peppered in like a fine spice. It gives credibility to what you’re saying and we do it naturally because it is our default. When we lie, we hold onto vague notions and our mind stumbles to piece together what is and what isn’t. How else can you become a better liar you might ask? Well practice makes perfect. Those who practice their lies for even 20 minutes are indistinguishable from truth tellers. As soon as we are comfortable with our lies they become second nature. This isn’t just true for fibbers, but we also lie to ourselves. We can rewrite memories so that we get to a point where even we can’t remember what actually happened from what we tell ourselves.
Practitioners know when stories just don’t add up. Usually there are contradictions, or avoidances that aren’t there if you’re being forthcoming though. But then how to you distinguish lies from people who have “perfected” their untruth? If you go deep enough into the story, the details and falsehoods begin to flake away. Take spies(Clearly I saw Skyfall this weekend), people who go undercover must live their false identity to such a degree that no amount of peeling with reveal the hidden person underneath. They must live, breathe and believe they are who they say they are. Their lives depend on it. Here’s a fun test for those who enjoy museums. The International Spy Museum is a fun-filled afternoon. One of the bonuses is that in the beginning of the tour you are told to chose an identity and expected to remember it throughout your trip. So as you spend the next couple of hours learning about the history of espionage, and how to perform spy-tricks you have a choice. Do so as yourself, or incorporate your fake identity into it to have it become more of a part of you. Try it, see if you can hold up to the “interrogation.”