Bitter Lips: The Art of Lying

Edwin Tse


Some people are masters of the art of lying. I don’t like falsifications of any kind— but knowing their tricks helps to discern falsehoods when they are present. 

As I go about life, I talk to people.  So do you.  Interacting with people is great, but not all interaction leaves the same aftertaste.  Truthful lips are sweet, but lying lips are as bitter as wormwood.

I started thinking about why I’m hesitant to believe some people, yet not others and remembered two men who opened my eyes to the art of lying.

The Art of Lying from a High-Schooler

During my junior year of high-school, I sat next to a mischievous young man in my Honors English class.  He was very smart, active and loved to test the limits in all aspects of his life.

With great pride and sparkles in his eyes, he would tell me snippets from his latest misadventures.  I knew that his parents were conservative Christians so after one of his colorful stories I asked what his parents thought about, this and that.  I don’t remember what he did in that particular instance, but I never forgot how he answered.

“They don’t know,” he said.

“But how do you lie about something like that,” I asked.

“It’s simple.  I just create another story and make myself believe it.  To me it becomes true.  That way when I talk to them, I don’t act in the way that people do when they lie, so they can’t tell that I’m lying.”

The Art of Lying from an Investigator

Years later, I became acquainted with a retired investigator.  His whole career was spent working in a branch of the law enforcement system which deals specifically with Intelligent Crime.  White collar crimes, mostly CEO’s and politicians caught in backhand financial deals.

He said that these people were so devoid of conscience they lacked natural physiological response that average people have. Talking to them felt disturbing.  It was as if they had no soul.  They had no guilt.  They explained their self-crafted truths with such hypnotizing conviction it was hard to withstand them.

Are people telling you the truth or their truth?

All of us have a built-in lie detector somewhere deep inside, and if we pay attention and develop our sense of judgment, we will get cautioned against the lying lips that surround us.  Artful liars can be difficult to detect, but even when we don’t know the facts, that subtle disturbing feeling can be enough of a red flag to make us realize that something is off.

Don’t be suspicious or doubtful of people, always hope, trust, but not in a gullible way— analyze the things you hear.

In most cases the stories people tell— truth or not— aren’t going to hurt us, but in cases where truth is critical, think twice. Are people telling you the truth or their truth— and how does it affect you?