Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
You can look for tics, eyes shifts, and other expressions of the body.
You can listen to someone’s tone, examine them for sweat, or even Google them to check if they are who they say they are.
Ultimately, though, there’s perhaps a simpler way of immediately sniffing out a liar.
Just two words.
Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart observed this phenomenon (at around the 5:30 mark in the video). For him, it’s the president who constantly uses these two telltale words.
For me, I’ve heard them from thousands upon thousands of salespeople–and their twisted uncles, politicians.
I’ve heard them from those who’ve tried to persuade me to buy cars or merely agree with their notions after the second shift of Pinot Noir.
I’ve heard them from the passionate, the drunk, and the manipulative. On occasion, this just defined one person.
Oddly, the only people I’ve never heard it from are priests.
Is it just a figure of speech that’s seeped into the pores of language and gargled itself around brains and tongues?
Or does it come from a notion, nay a belief, that if you tell people how to feel they will feel it?
I tend to connect this approach with realtors who propose a house and say, “You’re going to love it.”
How do these insincere people–who always lease expensive foreign cars (boy, do those car salesmen see them coming)–know what I will love? If even I don’t know what I will love, how are they so confident about my love objects?
What they mean, of course, is: “I’m telling you to love it, so that I can make my 7 percent.”
Believe me brings with it an order to devotedly believe not just the one lie that’s being emitted, but several more that wait in the flaps of the speaker’s mouth.
It’s especially potent in these days, when emotions and prejudices are valued far more than facts.
A liar is screaming at you to believe him, because he needs you to believe him. Once you do, he gets what he wants: respect, confirmation of his worth, and then the sale.
Believe me is actually an expression of his own insecurity, because if you end up not believing, he’ll lose the sale. Or tweet nasty things at you the following morning.
Of course, Believe me has a non-identical twin brother: Trust me.
Trust is belief without the religious element. Trust is the earthly version of looking at someone and knowing–and then feeling–that they have your very best interests at heart.
No one who says Trust me will ever let you down.
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