Don't Talk to Strangers; But if you're gonna, read this book first.

You can't trust anybody.

You simply can't. Just ask Malcolm Gladwell. Okay, that's not what he says. What he says is that you can't trust yourself to know when somebody is lying and that, even if it doesn't appear to be so much of the time, we usually believe people when they tell us something.

Now does that apply to the internet? Is that why people are believing the most farfetched conspiracy theories about trafficking rings in pizza places? Because we default to believing people  just because they say it? 

Have you ever had somebody state something as fact that you believed one hundred percent only to find out that it was a complete and utter fabrication? I have and it always jars me. How could I have fallen for the lie so easily? 

It used to happen to me all the time. Less so now. Oh, people still lie in outrageous ways, but I'm less shocked by it. Perhaps the political climate and the rise of "media" sources that exist without editorial standards that has me far more skeptical. It's common and it's obvious these days. 

I do feel some validation in this book for all the years I told friends of mine getting out of toxic relationships to not trust what their exes said just because they say it.  People who leave people who lied to them believe them long after they've been apart. Especially what they say about them. A liar doesn't change their spots, as they say. (That's the saying right? If not, it should be) and the toxic ex is still the arse you divorced. Why would you believe anything they said?

During this pandemic things have been easier when it comes to talking to strangers.  But we still must be vigilant on who are we looking to for our information? I still trust health Canada more that some random person claiming to have special knowledge of the situation. Maybe because it's an 'entity' not a person. Its face isn't mismatched to its message, saying the things I want to hear, but rather giving me the objective and comprehensive facts of the matter.  Maybe it's because it's never really ever let me down. Experience is the best teacher as they say.

From Hitler's lies of assurance to the British PM prior to WW2, to a Cuban spy who fooled the Americans for years, to the effects of alcohol on college students and the current crisis in policing in the USA, this is a synthesis of information created for the lay reader.  Don't believe what people say is the message in this book and it will tell you exactly why. 

I've been accused of being both overly optimistic and overly cynical at different times and I think neither is accurate. I'm skeptical, realistic but also fairly calm in the face of hard things. Calm doesn't mean optimistic. Calm means that if there is a fifty percent chance that a bad thing will happen then that means that there is a fifty percent chance the bad thing won't happen and I lean into the latter as it's as likely as the former. If that's optimism, fine. I like to think of it as realism. Information from credible sources calms me even if it's bad news. I stress until I know what I'm dealing with to some degree. Then I set into deal. It's how I've always been. 

Far too many people want authorities to tell them what makes them feel good. I want them to tell me the truth. That's probably why you won't find me looking through the depths of You Tube for better sounding answers when somebody tells me the facts.

Anyway, get the book. It's super interesting and easy to read. Especially if you plan on talking to strangers.