Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How To Tell Someone Is Bullshitting You, 4 Signs and How To Deal With Them

How awareness helps in the literal sense.

People are ignorant as hell.  I'm willing to say to some extent, we all are and we cannot help it.  We do not know everything everyone else does.  It is what it is.  Since I cannot claim to know everything, I have to claim ignorance on certain things.  We all do.  Whether you can admit to that or not is part of your responsibility as an adult.  I find this especially notable in people with degrees such as doctors or engineers.  These fields are where you will tend to find a plethora of people who believe they know everything about a subject when in fact they know little about many facets of it because they specialize in one or a few aspects of it, or in fact they made it through college but are unable to apply what they've learned cohesively in the field.  In a career, when you are expected to be knowledgeable and are constantly questioned and expected to have answers, your defense mechanism becomes improvising even if that improvising is quite frankly, bullshit.  Having the insight to see the difference between someone who is bullshitting you and someone who is giving you an honest, educated answer is a valuable skill and one that you should absolutely put into practice.  This is not witchcraft, this is logic and common sense and anyone can achieve this task.

How do you tell someone is bullshitting you?  Here are 4 signs and how to deal with them:

Some roses have thorns.
1.) The person/group answers everything with a positive answer, giving absolutely no negatives on a subject.
-- Many of you will roll your eyes at this because it seems quite obvious, but you would be shocked how many people fall for this.  With everything, there are pros and cons.  There is always a drawback.  There's always something that could be a hindrance to someone, even if that hindrance isn't necessarily obvious to everyone.  But with experience and thought, usually one can find cons with practically everything.  So if someone is trying to sell you something and they can't tell you why it wouldn't be good for a certain type of person, or they are telling you it is good for everything and they don't give you specific uses for the product, chances are they are full of shit.  Intelligent people tend to be convinced more by an argument when you share some cons about it but upsell the cons.  At least the cons show that the seller has experience with the product, since typically someone who hasn't tried or learned about something wouldn't know what goes wrong with it.  There are many people who do feel swayed more when you gush about all of the positives about something and don't share any negatives, but there's also the other 50% of the population who will walk away from the seller like they are the plague.  Even if something has a lot of positives, an argument sounds a hell of a lot more credible when it has some cons.  And it shows that the person selling the product to you has consideration for what people do not like--that's very important.

When you are asking someone questions, you should NOT have to feel like you are walking through a rainstorm.  Questions are how the world learns from each other.  If the person you are questioning cannot value that, frankly they are not a worthwhile person to talk to.
2.) The person/group gets angry/frustrated when you ask them questions.
-- This is a huge red flag.  Some people are not used to being asked questions because people tend to take their word for it on matters.  I've had some doctors do this (and granted, yes, they are also in a hurry, but seriously, if that's irritating maybe it's time to find another career path, because it's their job to answer questions).  But if you keep asking and they are not only irritated but will not give you a direct answer, it's time to run like hell.  You deserve to be informed on choices you make in life.  That's your right as a human-being.  Whether it's a surgery you are asking questions about or a new lawnmower--you deserve credible research so that you are able to make educated decisions.  For every asshole that avoids your questions, there's someone brilliant who is happy to answer.  Go find THAT person.

3.) The person/group changes the subject after asking questions.
-- If you are easily distracted this one is going to take a lot of mental effort and quite possibly a therapist's assistance if you are on the ADD spectrum.  Some people are brilliant at changing the subject when asked a question they don't know how to answer.  Be aware of this.  Come prepared.  Expect this to happen when you are somewhere where you need to ask questions, because this happens far more than you think--and stay on top of it.  If you need to, bring a list of your questions.  Highlight the most important ones and make sure they are answered.  Just because someone is witty, does not mean they know the answer to something.  There are a lot of witty ignoramuses in this world and you need to be alert about that.  Just because someone is witty and they sound compelling, doesn't mean their reasoning behind their behaviors/beliefs is actually sound.  So be prepared, stand your ground and keep asking your question.  If they blow you off or get angry--they don't know the answer.

This next one could apply to people from any political party, and this political photo I took at a Middle-Eastern restaurant, is not a representative example, but one tiny facet of what I'm about to explain.
4.) Group mentality.
-- There are a lot of people who join or talk to a group and feel that everything the group says or believes must be true because the entire group believes it--so someone must have researched it or had experience with the matter.  This is completely untrue, and what you need to realize is that often, groups foster inadequate belief-systems in a very unhelpful way.  If one person says something incredibly opinionated with no research to back it up, and the rest of the group agrees, often it becomes an unwritten law of the group simply because the others feel strongly about it, and not because there is actually sound reasoning behind what the group is believing.  It is very important to be able to separate yourself from group mentality and look into what is being discussed.  To take not just what individuals claim, but what groups claim with a grain of salt is incredibly important.  As a fellow human-being, think about how much more confidence you get when one of your opinions is validated by another person, and then imagine a group of people doing this.  Groups can foster entirely false belief-systems in a way that no individual-being can.  They are dangerous because they are compelling--people tend to be swayed more by numbers than by actual research.  As a responsible adult, you need to ignore the quantity of people buying into a belief, and go out of your way to look at facts.

Be aware that many people throughout your life have their own goals and selfish reasoning for the poor choices they make, being misleading people for income so that they can put dinner on the table for their children, misleading for ego and popularity, and buying into hype to feel part of a group.  You have to be able to see these issues for what they are so that you can make decisions in your life that are beneficial to both you and the world.  We still have a long way to go.  Our world would be better if more of us were able to separate bullshit from truth, but it would be so much farther back if less of us had that ability.  To fight the good fight, our individual vote on everything we do, is our awareness of bullshit, because when you buy into a bad cause, such as buying into a bad doctor, or buying into a bad company, you are supporting it.  Fight the good fight and stay aware of these techniques! :)

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