Not everyone means what they say.  I know…shocker…spoiler alert…but it’s true.  As much as we all know that it’s still something that trips us up time and again.  Sometimes because the person saying things is really good at saying things other than what they mean and other times because we really truly want whatever it is they are saying to be true.  I’m not talking about the situation where the person is uneducated in a subject or has no experience with it and the supposed expert gives them information that isn’t correct.  Yes, that trips us up, but there is little to nothing that can be done about it.  While it’s true that this is the information age and that information seems to be relatively at our fingertips, no one can specialize in everything, no one can be prepared for every situation, no one can be expected to be able to deal with absolutely everything and many situations require more than a cursory Google search in order for anyone to be knowledgable about them.

What I am talking about are the common everyday things of people interacting with people.  It being Valentine’s Day and all, let’s focus on interpersonal relationships, shall we?  🙂  This is where we can all be fairly expert if we wish to be in discerning motivations, underlying meanings, and actions that do not support the words spoken.  There are people out there that, for a variety of reasons, want something but do not want to be responsible for getting it, do not want to expend the effort necessary to get it, or feel that they can’t get it through a direct means, so they go at it sideways.  The boyfriend who talks about love and devotion, being a soul mate and wanting children, but then leaves when he finds the next new woman who he is madly in love with.  The woman who says she is just a friend but then demands a full relationship because that’s what it has already become if they just added sex. The person who says they are a friend, but only invites people when they need body count at an event or only when it is convenient for them or only when they need something.

These people look like what they are representing themselves to be, they say all the right words, they make other people feel as if they are exactly what they pretend to be, but that’s the point.  They are pretending.  And usually the pretense is pretty thin.  Because their actions don’t match their words at all and that usually shows up rather quickly.  In fact, it usually shows up within minutes of really talking with them.  They are counting on the fact that people around them don’t want to see that the Emperor has no clothes.  That most people will discount their instinctive knowing and disallow the warnings of their common sense in order to have what they are want.

I believe the best way to counteract this tendency was stated by Maya Angelou: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”  It may be difficult, it may be disappointing, it may make you angry or hurt, but if you believe them and start acting accordingly, you’ll save yourself a huge amount of wasted effort and drama.