When the Truth is a Lie

When the Truth is a LieWhat do you make of the following fun facts?[i]

  1. You could live the rest of your life without eating or drinking anything.
  2. Most people have more than the average number of legs.
  3. I’ve won as many Oscars as Glenn Close.

They feel a bit fishy, don’t they? And yet, every one of those statements is 100% true.

Technically.

You could live the rest of your life without eating or drinking. You just wouldn’t live long. And most people have two legs, but some people have fewer. So the average is lower than two. Finally, Glenn Close has been nominated for an Academy Award numerous times. But she hasn’t won any.

Welcome to the subtle art of being deceptive and truthful at the same time. It’s called “paltering,” and it’s alarmingly common.

Paltering is easier to stomach than lying. You can mislead with a clean conscience, or so the thinking goes. Plus, we tell ourselves others won’t be offended by paltering. I mean, you are speaking the literal truth, right?

Well, I have some bad news about that. A recent study found that people react just as negatively to paltering as they do to lying.[ii]

In other words, deception, even if it’s technically the truth, hurts trust. If you want a healthy, fulfilling relationship, honesty isn’t just the best policy. It’s the only policy.

But what do you do when being honest means telling him something he may not want to hear? Or something you simply don’t want to share?

The following strategy will help you be as honest as a cherry-tree-chopping George Washington while minimizing any negative impact on your relationship.

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You Really ARE Better Than Average

You Really ARE Better Than AverageCan you ever really know how other people see you?

It would be great if you could.

Then you could see exactly what he sees when he looks at you.

You could see why he loves you, or why he turned away.

You could see whether that mole on your cheek is sexy or distracting.

You could see what you really look like in that dress your friend made you buy…

And whether those blond highlights really cover up the gray in your hair like your hairdresser claims.

You’d never have to guess what people think of you ever again.

And you’d regret it forevermore.

There’s a very good reason we don’t know what other people really think of us. It comes down to what’s known as the self-enhancement bias.

In short, we all tend to think we’re better than average.

  • Most people think they’re better drivers than everyone else.
  • Most people think they look younger than they really are.
  • Most people think they’re better looking than average.
  • Most young people think they’re wiser than their age.

Even really smart people, like college professors, fall for it. 94% of college professors think their work is above average.[1]

No one wants to be just average, even if they’re in really good company.

You’d think that this illusion of being better than other people would cause problems for us. What if you applied for a job on the basis that you were better than average at what you did, but your on-the-job performance showed otherwise?

It turns out that it’s not much of a problem. Here’s why it can actually be a good thing.

Many people apply for positions they’re not quite qualified for, only to learn on the job and rise to the occasion. Thinking of yourself as better than you are, can give you the confidence to strive higher.

Novices who think they have some innate talent work harder to master a skill. Given that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master anything, beginners need that motivation to keep at it—even if it’s a false belief.

So how can you use the self-enhancement bias to do better at dating?

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Discover What Jealousy Can Teach You

learning from jealousyImagine:

The world has blown up. There are only two people left on Earth:

You … and Mr. Dreamy.

There’s no one else left. No rivals. No one thinner, prettier, or sexier. No one who’ll steal him from you.

Do you fall in love and live happily ever after?

It’s tempting to think that’s what it would take.

To get the attention of a Mr. Dreamy, you’d have to rid the world of other women. Other women are the problem. They’re the reason men look the other way.

Sounds a bit extreme!

But have you ever had thoughts like:

If only she wasn’t here, he’d pay attention to me.
She stole him from me, even though she knew I was interested in him.
I can’t compete with her. I’m no swimsuit model.

Jealousy makes a lot of sense when you operate from a “scarcity” mindset.

Scarcity is the idea that the dating pool is limited and there aren’t enough guys to go around. You have to fight to get in front, and then you have to fight to keep your man.

You’ll find a lot of support for that belief. It’s a popular one.

But if you stretch that belief to its logical conclusion—that the best way to snag a man is to get rid of the competition—you realize there’s a problem with scarcity thinking.

If the world blew up tomorrow, leaving only you and your ideal man, would you be happy?

Maybe you would. Maybe love is all you need. Maybe you don’t need other people.

But maybe Mr. Dreamy isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. You’d be left until the end of time with no one but a man for company. Might get boring. You might end up wishing for another woman to talk to.

To be happy, we need more than love. We need our social network around us.

Without friends, who would we vent about our other half to? You can love someone to the moon and back, but still need your friends for heart-to-hearts.

As long as there are other women in the world, there’s a chance your dream man might shift his attention away from you. And that’s a chance worth taking.

Instead of eliminating the competition, a better strategy is to look at what you do when you start feeling jealous.

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Not Your Reality

overcoming negativitySinger Tyrese Gibson recently went on a rant about how the media portrays relationships. Especially so-called reality TV shows.

“You find yourself arguing and having issues at your house and in your marriage and in your family that are directly influenced from the sh*t that you’re seeing on TV. You don’t even know it.”

Granted, Tyrese may not be the ideal relationship coach, but he actually makes a good point. Reality TV should not be your reality. You need to focus on something more positive.

Reality TV is nothing if not negative. After all, the ‘human drama’ of reality TV tends to zero in on those times when things go poorly. Epic fights and door-slamming arguments crank up the ratings. Sadly, it seems watching others mismanage their relationships is what keeps us tuned in.

Gibson argues that the cumulative effect of all that negativity is that it seeps into our lives. Before long, all that bad juju starts to impact how you think about your man. You can’t feed on a diet of cynicism and expect to stay positive! Eventually, it’ll get to you.

And it’s not just reality TV. There’s negative stuff about relationships in just about every form of media.

This is why you really need to remove some of that negativity from your life and replace it with something more uplifting.

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