Lying; it's not in the eyes after all.
Pseudo-scientists have been telling us for years that they know the give-away sign of someone telling a fib, but they've been lying all along. They had no idea. In a bid to make themselves look big and clever they claimed it was looking to the right for telling a truth and a glance left for a lie. New research from the University of Hertfordshire has revealed this to be untrue.
I think the whole idea of trying to decipher when someone is lying is completely misguided and could lead to the rapid breakdown of civilisation. Little tiny white lies are the oil in the wheels of human relationships, be they professional or personal and we are all guilty. In a job interview, how often does the candidate rattle off a dozen exotic hobbies? Of course it's not all entirely true because expressing a penchant for lounging on the sofa watching entire box sets of American TV series while devouring vats of ice cream will not secure that corporate job.
What is the art of international diplomacy, after all, if not professional ego-massaging and being able to flatter convincingly through gritted teeth? Done well, it can help avoid wars.
Or let's take the end of a relationship, be it romantic or platonic. Don't know about you but I think if I were privy to a dossier of reasons as to why I had been dumped or dropped over the years my ego would implode in a puff of glittery broken hearts and I'd never be able to crawl out of the house again. Likewise, I would rather have had my toenails extracted than answer the "why?" of an over- enthusiastic suitor with anything other than: "It's not you, it's me."
Admissions such as: "Because you are a toxic wench who has been sucking me dry for years and I've finally come to my senses " or "Because if I hear your ridiculous, high-pitched laugh one more time, I'll not be responsible for my actions" or "You bore me" are details which folk can, quite frankly, live without.
There is a vocal minority of society, however, which proudly professes to "tell it like it is". Well, bully for you. Bet you don't give your victims a second thought as you bulldoze your way through life calling it just how you see it.
Sadly, we all know someone who tells it like it is. I always wonder how they'd react if they knew that people would happily dive headfirst into a hawthorn bush to escape if they saw them coming.
Big lies, obviously, are not to be condoned but ickle tiny lies can make people feel better. "No, it's fine I haven't been waiting long", "Of course I'll drop you off, it's really not that far out of my way", you know the kind of thing.
We all lie to some extent, and often to ourselves. For an example of flagrant myth-peddling just look at any social networking page. It is designed to illicit one reaction, and one reaction only: "Wow, your life looks amazing!" Anything else would leave us vulnerable. So let's forget trying to spot the fibs. You want the truth? You can't handle the truth.
Grins are back in. After years of telling people to pull a blank face for passport photos, officials have realised most folk bear no resemblance to the expressionless fizzog in the picture and are urging us to start smiling again. Can I suggest pulling "airport rage" face might create a more convincing likeness? Picture the scene: you're hot, tired just want to get home and you're watching some official poke through your toilet bag with unnecessary vigour. Yeah, that face, now hold it.
Tomorrow is St Swithin's day and we all know what that means. Rain on that day means 40 more of the same. Can the Scottish psyche, robust as it is, handle another six weeks of rain? They say the weather shapes a nation's personality; is it any wonder we're regarded as a dour bunch? Give those chirpy Aussies our weather for a year and see how laidback they are. On the upside, our unpredictable climate does make us adaptable. Every cloud ...
l Catriona Stewart is away.
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