There are times in all our lives when we have to lie, sometimes it is a white lie to preserve someone’s feelings. Other times it may be a lie of self-preservation, these lies are may be considered less noble, but they are equally common, and understandable to all but a self-righteous few. We lie to make ourselves look clever, important, popular, kind or generous. While lying is not easy, and should not be done without the proper precautions, it is a lot easier than actually being clever, important, popular, kind or generous. What follows is a blueprint for the perfect lie. Follow these steps and you’ll be one step closer to being like Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, and god knows we all want to be like Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can.
1. The Set-Up
A successful piece of deception starts with the set-up, the foundations of a lie are just as important as the bricks that make the house (of lies). Firstly, you must give the impression that you are a terrible liar, perhaps tell people that you have lots of ‘tells’ that you actually don’t have. Another thing you can do is lie to children as practice, they are much easier to fool and you can hone your skills in a safe environment. You have to be careful not to get too comfortable with children or gullible idiots though, how can you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with the puppies? Practice makes perfect and a few embarrassing encounters may strengthen your skills in the long run.
2. The Delivery
In the words of the ancient eastern philosopher G. Wan “It’s all about the confidence.” If you say something with enough confidence people will believe. The delivery is where your lie is made or lost, you can have all the ingredients for a perfect lie, but without the confidence, it will collapse like a house of cards on a slightly windy day. From what I’ve gathered if you are not naturally confident you can still fashion the illusion of confidence out of the scraps of your squalid personality. All you need is: a loud commanding voice, moments of uncomfortably long eye contact and two thimbles of whisky. Tip: Practice your lie in front of a mirror while watching the episode of The Simpson where Homer and Bart become ‘grifters’.
3. The Realism
Realism is key when you invent a piece of information. You can have the best set up and unabashed confidence but that probably won't be enough if you don't carefully think through the information you are inventing. Even if you initially fool your target, an overly ambitious lie could later become uncovered, and reveal you as a fraud. A good thing to do is think of something that has actually happened to someone else and attribute it to yourself. Then you know it is possible and will have some details to prove it.
4. The Environment
Some environments are better for lying than others. Party, good. Small gathering with friends, bad. Job interview, good. Under oath, bad. Let’s be honest here, no matter how well you perfect your lying ability, your closest friends will always see through it, and they like you anyway so why waste the effort? Strangers are good to lie to due to the lack jeopardy, if it all goes to pot, you’ll simply never see them again. The best people to lie to, however, are loose acquaintances, you have a lot to gain from your lies and while there is more jeopardy, it can still be done with relative ease (if you follow these steps, of course).
5. The Cover-Up
This is where you cover your back, you give yourself an out. The art of a successful cover up is judging when one is needed, if you spew out your lie onto skeptical ears, and have your fabrication immediately questioned, the backtrack is obviously a desperate act of necessary face-saving. The trick is to judge the reaction of your target mid-lie, if you sense any incredulity, this is when you slip in your fail-safe. “Oh, Jamie told me this, by the way, so it might all be made up. Bloody Jamie.” Choose a friend who is notoriously unreliable or a known gossip and you will be more successful in passing the buck.
There we have it, I hope this helps. If you have read this piece of self-help literature thinking “lying is morally wrong, I’d rather be honest,” you are right. The problem is, you can’t risk being the only honest person in the room, you’ll fall behind in life, restricted by your rigorous morals. It’s like performance enhancing drugs, speeding or cheating at Monopoly, everyone does it otherwise, if you don’t, you’ll be left behind. If you get caught people will pretend to care, but that’s all just part of covering up their own lies.