January 27, 2010

Between the lines

Posted in *cringe*, Darth Vaguer, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 9:37 am by Dagny Taggart

Some people really are “straightforward”.  Frequently, this circle overlaps significantly with “socially inept”, but not always.

I can’t tell if I’ve become overly cynical, or if I’m as good at reading people as I like to think I am.  I can say that only one person I knew reasonably well managed to surprise me – and that involved some pretty egregious lying by omission. 

But I wonder, sometimes, if I’m wrong in assuming that everyone puts a certain spin on a situation – that one has to see through a layer or two in order to get a glimpse of something closer to the cold, hard facts.

Does everyone do this, or just me?



  1. Alias Faux said,

    I imagine that each person’s spin is probably very close to the cold, hard facts (as they perceive them).

    We each have our own glasses through which we view the world, and those glasses magnify some things, and obscure others.

    Things that may jump out at one person are so insignificant as not to be noticed at all by others, and CERTAINLY not important enough to include in the story when telling it to a 3rd party.

    I don’t think there are many liars in the world (in terms of “big” lies), but there are plenty of people who see things differently than I do. Heck, the “facts” of the case are often in dispute, EVEN WHEN BOTH PARTIES IN THE ARGUMENT WERE THERE. When you’re in the game of “telephone” that happens when you’re hearing the story second-hand (or third-hand, or fifth-hand), you’re bound to get some personal spin, without any intent to deceive or hide stuff from the person telling the story.

    Generally, as a rule of thumb I try to do 2 things:
    1) React to the person telling the story as if what they’re saying is 100% crystal clear accurate. If somebody is telling you a story about an argument, they generally are looking for somebody to comfort them, not be a UN weapons inspector looking for absolute truth.
    2) Don’t allow the story to have any impact on how I view the other person or people in the story, because they could probably tell a story just as damning as the one I’m hearing currently.

  2. Alias Faux:I think that’s where I disagree. I think that some people consciously (or semi-consciously) adjust stories, or choose words to make themselves more clearly the aggrieved party, in the event of a conflict.

    But I also agree that there are three sides to a given story – Party 1, Party 2, and the Truth.

    How would you react if the person telling you the story wanted you to do something about it?

  3. Alias Faux said,

    I would (and have) contact the party concerned, and asked for their side of the story.

    Then, based on knowing both people, I would decide what I think the Truth is, and go from there.

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