Tag archive for "Communication"

5 Things A Man Should Never Criticize A Woman For

Communication, Dating Advice, For Guys, The Scoop

5 Things A Man Should Never Criticize A Woman For

66 Comments 28 September 2009

You don't want to unleash thisGuys, here’s a quick-and-dirty list to help you stay out of the doghouse.

Never criticize a woman for…

1. Her Weight

The lightning isn’t striking any closer, your lady’s thighs just have some added thunder. You, being the observant kind of guy who will step over a pair of pants on the bedroom floor for three weeks but instantly notice every blemish on her body, feel compelled to make a comment. SHUT YOUR FACE. Seriously. Say nothing.

Here’s why I recommend silence when it comes to directly discussing her weight:

1. She already knows about the weight gain – Telling her that you noticed the change in her body won’t go over well…especially since you’re probably not good about noticing positive details.

2. It’s probably not something she wants – There’s a reason “Biggest Gainer” with Roseanne Barr as the outspoken eating coach is not a hit TV show. Most people would like to lose a bit of weight and chances are that your lady is feeling a bit frustrated and powerless over her body right now.

When you criticize her body, you criticize her at what can often be a very emotionally-charged and intensely personal level of her identity.

Not sure what I mean? Example: If she suggested that you try out a new penis-enl@rgement medication, how would you feel? C’mon! She’s just making a helpful suggestion about something she knows you’d like to change! Get my drift? Good.

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Is My Partner Lying To Me? 5 Questions You Can Ask To Find The Truth

Communication, The Scoop

Is My Partner Lying To Me? 5 Questions You Can Ask To Find The Truth

48 Comments 04 June 2009

By Jef Nance, former police interrogator and author of the book Conquering Deception©

why do people lie to me?

How can you tell when somebody is lying to you?

Deception abounds in media, business, and social circles, but it’s most destructive in personal relationships. Why? Because we’re most susceptible to deception from the people we trust most. Trust breeds comfort and causes us to let our defenses go down. That’s as it should be—but it makes us vulnerable to a spouse or partner when they find a need to deceive us.

The danger with deception is that everyone lies, but few of us use effective techniques to find the truth. After all, they didn’t teach us this stuff in school, did they?

Most of us fail to detect lies by relying on one of three techniques:

  1. Gut instinct -“I just know she’s lying” (worthless).
  2. Myth – Techniques that have been passed around for years – “liars won’t look you in the eye” (worse).
  3. Home-brewed – Techniques we’ve erroneously placed our faith in, i.e. “John gets that little crease in his brow every time he lies” (worse yet).

Why would my partner want to deceive me?

Deception is typically used in personal relationships for self-preservation. We’ve done something we don’t want the other to know about, so we conceal it.

A less-obvious variation: Lying to save another person’s feelings—a little more benevolent, but still a form of self-preservation. Consider this: When they ask our opinion, how eager are we to tell our partner we don’t like what they’re wearing? A lie at one of these moments preserves all.

Body language is the buzz-word of the “deception industry” and it has some limited validity, but think of this:

How do people lie? With their bodies… or with their words?

People may reveal information through body movements, but they use words to deceive us—and so words hold the greatest power to reveal that deception. To go even deeper, here’s a little secret that few appreciate: Whether your aim is to influence, create rapport, or get at the truth, nothing gives you more power in conversation than having a mastery of how to ask questions—and knowing how to interpret what you get back.

how can I tell if my girlfriend is lying to me?

5 Questions To Ask If You Think Your Partner Is Lying:

1. Did They Hesitate?

The average person probably subscribes to my Deception Myth #11: “A person who hesitates is lying.” (false) Here’s the real deal: To judge whether a person who hesitates before answering is deceptive, we have to consider the nature of our question. Some questions naturally require a moment of thought. For example: “What did you eat for lunch last Tuesday?” (Draws on memory) or “Who do you think will win the next presidential race?” (Draws on imagination.)

If, on the other hand, you asked, “Did you talk to Janet this morning?” there should be no hesitation—unless the person is considering a deceptive response. Because this question concerns fact, and a very recent event, an honest person shouldn’t need to hesitate before giving you the answer.

Hesitation can be a very reliable sign of deception, just be sure to consider the question; is it reasonable that a person would need just a moment to come up with the answer?

2. Did They Avoid A Direct Response?

Given that I told you “everyone” uses deception, it might surprise you that I now tell you this: People usually tell the truth. The catch? Here’s my Deception Myth #46: Telling the truth is not the same as being honest. Believe it or not, people avoid outright lying if they can. One alternative to lying is to speak the truth while avoiding subjects they’d rather conceal from you.

So rather than lie, a person who wants to keep something from you can simply change the subject, give an indirect answer, or even tell the truth—while leaving out the details he doesn’t want you to know. This way he accomplishes the deception and avoids the tricky and dangerous sport of lying.

An example: Now, I wasn’t in Phoenix last weekend, but suppose I wanted you to believe that I was. If you were to ask me, “Jef, did you have fun in Phoenix last weekend?” I could reply, “I always have fun in Phoenix, I love that city. Have you ever been there?”

Without actually telling a lie, I confirmed your belief that I was in Phoenix simply by avoiding the question. People routinely avoid what they don’t want to discuss and will often divert you by throwing a question back at you, as I just did… so it’s up to you to notice when they violate this next question:

Why does my partner scream questions at me?

3. Did They Answer or Just Respond?

Most folks don’t notice when their questions go unanswered. Many times we get a response, rather than a substantive answer. When you fail to pick up on non-answers, you leave yourself open to the tactic of avoidance I mentioned with the last question.

So why do we fail to notice when a person gives a response instead of an answer? Because most of us are so consumed with our own thoughts and what we’re going to say next that we just don’t listen well. A lot of these non-answer responses sound intelligent, may be lengthy, and address something, just not the question we asked. We get distracted by what is said and fail to notice that they avoided our question. Watch any political news conference and you’ll see masters at work. Politicians rarely give direct answers. It’s even more seldom that they’re called out for their indirect answers.

In all fairness, sometimes people fail to give a substantive answer because of their own internal distractions. It’s not that they’re being deceptive. They just aren’t listening so well themselves and are consumed with what they want to say. I’ve always had a “3 Strikes & You’re Out” policy. If a person fails to give a direct answer on the same subject three times, it’s safe to conclude they don’t want to address it.

Always ask yourself, “Was that an answer… or a response?

4. Did They Revisit the Question?

Back when I was a police detective interrogating crooks, I had a burglary suspect in my office one day. It was just the two of us, the door was closed, and there were no distractions. We were eye-to-eye just feet apart. I asked him in a clear voice, “Did you break into the house?” He hesitated, then said, “Who, me?”

This is an example that embodies the first three questions all rolled into one! He hesitated, he avoided giving an honest answer, and he gave me a response instead of an answer. If you ask your partner a simple, direct question (you always should), and there’s no logical reason for them to have not heard you clearly, they’re buying time to think through their options by revisiting your question. If a person says, “Could you say that again?”, “What?”, or repeats your question back to you verbatim, they’re Revisiting the Question. Stick with it. You’re onto something.

why does my boyfriend lie to me?

5. Did You Ask For A Lie?

Rather than a technique for spotting deception, this one’s actually a pitfall that can inadvertently land you in deeper chaos if you don’t avoid it.

No one likes being lied to or deceived. (The ego is fierce beast, isn’t it?) When we know about something “bad” our partner has done, we already feel wronged. Especially in personal relationships, we often know the truth already. Rather than exploring, we’re testing. Deep down we want them to fail the test. So instinct (and ego) leads us to ask a question that’s unwittingly designed to get them to lie to us.

When they predictably lie, now we have two offenses against us:

  1. The action that inspired our question.
  2. Their lie about it… which we needlessly invited.

If you already know the truth, don’t ask about it. Instead, tell them what you know with absolute confidence and certainty. Then move on to addressing the issue. Hard as it may be, a great way to do this is by demonstrating some empathy and allowing them to save face. Depending on the circumstances, lines like, “We all make mistakes,” or “I can understand why it seemed right at the time,” or “I just want to know why you did it,” can ease the way for their owning up.

The idea of reading body language is alluring, but the underlying key to spotting deception? Listening. Speak less, keep your ears open, and notice the subtleties in what people say to you.

What you’ll find is that they’re giving you more information than they realize, and more than they intended.

For more from Jef Nance, a former police interrogator, pick up a copy of his book, Conquering Deception©, check out his blog and follow him Twitter!

What about you? Have you ever caught a partner in a lie? What happened?

Did you like this article? Feel free to Stumble it or click to share with your friends on Twitter. Thanks!

photos via flickr: kk,af,vb,lb

3 Steps To Starting Successful Conversations


3 Steps To Starting Successful Conversations

23 Comments 09 May 2009

regular dude, extraordinary lady

 “Vincent in Boston” wrote in to ask: 

“Seth, I saw the most incredible girl on the T (subway/metro) this evening. She had the greatest vibe. It wasn’t just that she was hot. Even the way she sorta-danced to the music (I assume) playing through her earphones had me hooked. How can I talk to women like that? I’m an okay-looking dude, but it’s not like women flock to me. I’m good at talking once I’m started. I just don’t know how to start random conversations with women I’d love nothing more than to talk to. Help me out, bro!” 

(Ladies, this will work for you, too. Just translate genders as-needed)

First off, Vincent, I know the exact feeling! It’s hard enough to build up the courage to walk up and say something to a beautiful woman without the added pressure of thinking she’s going to shoot you down immediately. And yet, most of us can recall a time or two when exactly that happened.

Why do you fail when we try to talk to women? We fail because we’re trained to start conversations based on shared interests, common values, and circumstances. This training puts us on a path to failure because it forces us to make assumptions about complete strangers. It’s no wonder we get negative responses when we try to connect based on those assumptions. Nobody likes being put in a box! After multiple failures, we start believing that there’s a problem with us when the real problem is with the technique. Consider these examples of common failures: (we’ll use the name “Meghan” for the sake of example)

  1. Meghan is wearing a Yankees baseball cap. Vincent says, “Hey, I like the Yankees, too. Imagine that!” – (Assuming a common interest) – She might not like the Yankees or even baseball for that matter. Vincent would do just as well to state the color of her shoes, Captain Obvious. On top of that, ending a “first sentence” with anything but a question mark spells failure. 
  2. Meghan is standing in line at micro-brand coffee shop. Vincent will probably try, “So, you’re a fan of fair trade products too?” – (Assuming a shared value) – A lot of people frequent small coffee shops because the 8am lines at Starbucks are too long. Vincent improves by asking a question but there’s still an assumption. Conversation is dead. Ceased to exist.
  3. Meghan is standing next to Vincent on a crowded public transit car. Things couldn’t be better for Vincent. He has a captive audience. But what will he say? We can expect him to make a comment on the the weather, the crowded car, or the rising cost of transportation (Circumstance). Meghan will probably reply, at best, or grimace and turn away, at worst. 

Sound like something you’ve experienced before? Perhaps it sounds like you? The important thing is to recognize the problem, understand the past, and think smart about the future. 

Here’s one way to start a conversation with any woman, any place: 

Step 1 – Create A Context

Start your conversation with a question that requires a substantial answer. Check your question against the following test before trying it on Meghan.

  • Is the question crowd-friendly? (Avoid topics like Family planning, animal testing, most political topics)
  • Does the question invite multiple responses? (“Do you like the color red”=fail, “What should I buy my Mom for Mother’s Day”=WIN)
  • Do I have a follow-up question in mind? (If the first question fails, do you have a back-up topic?)

Just like American Idol, if you get three yes’s, you’re going to Hollywood! Once you have your question in mind, look for a lead-in. An excuse, if you will, to ask your question. If nothing comes immediately to mind, just introduce yourself and jump right into the question.

Mother’s day is upon us. (Ladies, you can use this for Father’s day) That means that today is THE perfect day for you to try this technique out. How? Spot an attractive and sober female. (If you don’t like females, translate) Walk up to her and create the context by leading into your question. 

“Hi, I’m Seth. (Move along quickly) I couldn’t help but notice you’ve got a cool sense of style.” 

(She knows what my name is and I’ve given her an easy compliment. If she doesn’t want to like me by now, she’s at least ready to listen.)

Step 2 – Call For Help

Follow your lead-in by requesting her help with something easy and friendly. (Picking out lingerie=fail, buying presents for relatives=win)

“Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I’m not sure what to get my mom. She’s a cool lady but I have no idea what to get for somebody who has everything already. What would you recommend?” 

What is your underlying statement? You’re aware of the holiday, you appreciate your mom but aren’t codependent, and you’re willing to ask for help. (These are all wins, good job!)

(Meghan will, if she’s not late for an appointment and you’ve showered recently, give you some advice on what to get your mom.) You’ve successfully navigated a postive interaction with Meghan. Now what? 

Step 3 – Follow Through

Express thanks for the help and cut away to another topic. The conversation is started, now’s your time to follow up with things that interest you besides cleavage (Don’t stare). If you see Meghan regularly (perhaps you travel the same way to work, get coffee at the same place, etc), cut away as soon as she gives you the advice. Why? Because you’ll be leaving with your next conversation ready to go! The next time you run into Meghan you’ll be locked and loaded with an update on how the thing she helped you with turned out. 

“Hey, (make sure you get her name and remember it for next time, we’ll go over some tricks for this soon)! Thanks for the help. You made me look really, really good. My mom said she liked [suggested gift/action] so much that she’d forgive me for stealing the car when I was 12!”

Meghan laughs. She likes that you remember her name (REALLY likes it) and asks about what you stole the car for.

Look at you. You’re having a conversation with a beautiful woman who might just rock your world. 

Good luck, Vincent! (Ladies, this will work just as well for you.) Give it a try and let me know how things work out! 

When was the last time you assumed something about a stranger only to be proven entirely wrong? Drop me a comment with your story! 

photo: mfr

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