Ask Alignor

Should I ever bluff or lie?

Let’s face it; every now and then we may be tempted to “color” the truth a certain way to get out of a tight spot or get something we want. While bluffing or even lying may be tempting at times, it is generally a shortsighted and ineffective strategy for most relationships and negotiations where there is an ongoing negotiation. There are many reasons for this. Certainly, you can make an ethical or moral case against lying, and that should be good enough. But even if you set aside the ethical or moral implications, you may find that for purely practical reasons, you should avoid bluffing or lying. Having said that, it is certainly possible for you to gain a temporary advantage over another person every now and then if you are good at bluffing or lying. But most of the time, you risk damaging relationships when you bluff or lie. So let’s look at the practical reasons not to bluff or lie. To start with, if you bluff or lie and get caught doing so, you will lose credibility. This loss of credibility can damage relationships and put you in a position where to restore your credibility you must repeatedly impose severe consequences on other people before they will again take your threats seriously. The harm to your relationships may be permanent when you get caught bluffing or lying and then subsequently impose consequences on others in order to restore your credibility. In effect, you become the liar who then initiates conflict when caught lying. If you bluff or lie and get caught, few people will want to deal with you if they have a choice not to deal with you.

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