Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 03:27:01 PM

Title: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 03:27:01 PM
Is it rude to get someone admit that they have lied to you by tricking them?

For example, asking them questions about the incident and waiting until they mess up an important detail.

Ex: My grandmother was sent to the hospital after a fall, but my dad suspected that she had put herself there on purpose to get sympathy and hadn't actually fallen by accident. He questioned her about how she had fallen, and caught her in a lie when she couldn't remember whether she was supposed to tell him or the hospital staff that she had hit her head when she fell. (She hadn't hit her head, but wanted to tell my dad that she had so that he would worry more. She didn't tell that to the hospital staff because she didn't want to actually be kept in the hospital).

Being truthful, yet misleading:

Person 1: "So you are the CEO's best friend? Isn't Alex a great guy?"
Person 2: "Yeah, he is! So since I'm such great friend of the CEO, could you do me that favor please?"
Person 1: "Alex is a woman."   8)
Person 2:  >:(

Or even outright lying to them:

Person 1: "I hate Bob! You hate Bob too, right? Isn't he such a jerk? I wish someone would teach him a lesson!"
Person 2: "Then you'll appreciate this. I just stole all the cookies from the cookie jar and framed Bob!"
Person 1: "Well I'm actually Bob's best friend, so I'll be sure to tell everyone what you just said to me."
Person 2:  >:(

Are any of these approaches to get the truth rude? I'm talking only about things where the lie actually matters and could cause a problem. Not something stupid and none of your business like suspecting that your friend went to the adult store when they actually said they were getting groceries and trying to get them to admit where they really were.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: JenJay on December 02, 2012, 04:27:54 PM
I think the risk you run with the more aggressive tricks is in getting tangled up in your own deception and becoming part of the problem. I'm a fan of the old "give them enough rope" technique. I'd ask direct questions and then let the person paint themselves into a corner. Getting it down in email is even better. What your grandmother did is also passive-aggressive and I deal with that by ignoring the insinuations and dealing with the facts. I would have said "That's scary, Mom. We need to tell the doctor that you hit your head. I'll go get someone right now..."
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 04:41:11 PM
So you catch them and then what?  What do you do from there? In the scenarios you describe I can't imagine how that would help.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Zilla on December 02, 2012, 04:42:14 PM
If they are chronic liars, then yes I might do it once and request they stop lying to you.  But I would also be prepared to walk away, once a liar always a liar.
 
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 04:47:02 PM
So you catch them and then what?  What do you do from there? In the scenarios you describe I can't imagine how that would help.

In the first scenario, my dad now knew that his mother had lied and did not give her the attention she wanted. Hopefully, this will stop her from trying something like this again.

In the second scenario, you don't get in trouble from your boss by letting someone claiming to be their friend do something (like bypassing other channels and getting them on the phone).

In the third, you can now tell everyone that Bob is innocent and that he was framed.

So they definitely can solve the problem, but I'm wondering if these techniques are rude, as they all involve tricking people.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AnnaJ on December 02, 2012, 04:48:21 PM
So you catch them and then what?  What do you do from there? In the scenarios you describe I can't imagine how that would help.

This - I don't understand the purpose of spending the time and energy 'outing' liars.  Would your father not come to the hospital if your grandmother didn't hit her head?  If someone claims they know your boss and they don't, what does it matter? 

People who lie constantly get caught eventually, and this attitude strikes me as massively offensive when someone is not lying.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 05:00:17 PM
So you catch them and then what?  What do you do from there? In the scenarios you describe I can't imagine how that would help.

This - I don't understand the purpose of spending the time and energy 'outing' liars.  Would your father not come to the hospital if your grandmother didn't hit her head?  If someone claims they know your boss and they don't, what does it matter? 

People who lie constantly get caught eventually, and this attitude strikes me as massively offensive when someone is not lying.

Outing liars can matter because things can go bad for you if they are not caught. Yes, if my dad had known from the start that his mother had lied he would not have gone to the hospital for her, and told her to deal with everything herself.

If you let your boss's "friend" talk to them on the phone and it turns out they are a salesman, the boss might get angry at you.

I outed a liar once by misleading them. My coworker at a daycare claimed I had left early, leaving a bunch of kids alone. From previous interactions with her, I knew that she hated me because she wanted someone else to get my job. Also, she never came to check on those allegedly left alone children, which led me to believe she had made it up on purpose. So I said to her, "Lot's of people drive beige toyota camrys, are you sure it was me you saw?" She said yes, that she had seen me get into my beige toyota camry and leave early. I responded that it couldn't have been me, as I didn't have a car like that. I said that in front of the boss, who knew that the other woman was a liar in a way that me just protesting my innocence wouldn't have. Maybe it was rude, maybe it wasn't under the circumstances since she made such a serious accusation, but it was certainly effective.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: SamiHami on December 02, 2012, 05:38:58 PM
I think if someone is lying directly to me, they are the rude one. I wouldn't fault someone for outing a liar.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 05:44:35 PM
Honestly, a lot of the examples you bring up don't seem all that conclusinve and come off as bullying to me.

Maybe Grandma lied to get sympathy.  If she has a history of doing that then dad might not want to visit her, proof or know.  Bur elderly people get confused.  People who have been injured might not remember the details.  In another thread we discussed the confusion some patients experience in the hospital.  SO Grandma answering your dad's question "wrong" is not conclusive proof of anything IMO. 

If you think somebody is lying about knowing the boss to get access to the workplace then why not just call the boss?  That would provide more definitive information anyway.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:01:59 PM
Honestly, a lot of the examples you bring up don't seem all that conclusinve and come off as bullying to me.

Maybe Grandma lied to get sympathy.  If she has a history of doing that then dad might not want to visit her, proof or know.  Bur elderly people get confused.  People who have been injured might not remember the details.  In another thread we discussed the confusion some patients experience in the hospital.  SO Grandma answering your dad's question "wrong" is not conclusive proof of anything IMO. 

If you think somebody is lying about knowing the boss to get access to the workplace then why not just call the boss?  That would provide more definitive information anyway.

In my grandma's case this definitely wasn't bullying. She's as sharp as a tack, and I think the only reason why she messed up was because my dad is a lawyer and knows how to do this kind of thing. She admitted that she had made it up to get sympathy. She had done this kind of thing before. The timing of this incident was also extremely suspicious. She also pretends to have dementia, so this has been an ongoing problem. My dad is a nice guy, he wouldn't accuse someone of checking themselves into a hospital on purpose unless he had a very good reason to.

Sometimes you can't just call up the boss, especially in a huge company. This is also the type of place where a bad call getting through could get you in the most trouble.

I could see how these actions might be rude since they involve deception, but I don't really see how any of them involve bullying.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: MrTango on December 02, 2012, 06:12:56 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:16:33 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

Technically, not a lie (although there is definitely an attempt to deceive). Yes a reasonable person would assume that Alex is referring to the boss, but Alex could in theory be anyone.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 06:18:22 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

They all come off as a bit self congragulatory and ego based to be honest.  Kind of like "Look how cleverly I trapped you"
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on December 02, 2012, 06:20:25 PM
Agreed.  It's entrapment and mean spirited at that.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Kiwichick on December 02, 2012, 06:25:33 PM
So you catch them and then what?  What do you do from there? In the scenarios you describe I can't imagine how that would help.

This - I don't understand the purpose of spending the time and energy 'outing' liars.  Would your father not come to the hospital if your grandmother didn't hit her head?  If someone claims they know your boss and they don't, what does it matter? 

People who lie constantly get caught eventually, and this attitude strikes me as massively offensive when someone is not lying.

Outing liars can matter because things can go bad for you if they are not caught. Yes, if my dad had known from the start that his mother had lied he would not have gone to the hospital for her, and told her to deal with everything herself.

If you let your boss's "friend" talk to them on the phone and it turns out they are a salesman, the boss might get angry at you.

I outed a liar once by misleading them. My coworker at a daycare claimed I had left early, leaving a bunch of kids alone. From previous interactions with her, I knew that she hated me because she wanted someone else to get my job. Also, she never came to check on those allegedly left alone children, which led me to believe she had made it up on purpose. So I said to her, "Lot's of people drive beige toyota camrys, are you sure it was me you saw?" She said yes, that she had seen me get into my beige toyota camry and leave early. I responded that it couldn't have been me, as I didn't have a car like that. I said that in front of the boss, who knew that the other woman was a liar in a way that me just protesting my innocence wouldn't have. Maybe it was rude, maybe it wasn't under the circumstances since she made such a serious accusation, but it was certainly effective.

The first time you told the camry story here you said your boss just said that your co worker must have been mistaken and outing her as a liar didn't save your job since you lost it two weeks later.

I don't think misleading or tricking someone to make a point is a particularly useful tactic.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 02, 2012, 06:26:49 PM
I outed a liar once by misleading them. My coworker at a daycare claimed I had left early, leaving a bunch of kids alone. From previous interactions with her, I knew that she hated me because she wanted someone else to get my job. Also, she never came to check on those allegedly left alone children, which led me to believe she had made it up on purpose. So I said to her, "Lot's of people drive beige toyota camrys, are you sure it was me you saw?" She said yes, that she had seen me get into my beige toyota camry and leave early. I responded that it couldn't have been me, as I didn't have a car like that. I said that in front of the boss, who knew that the other woman was a liar in a way that me just protesting my innocence wouldn't have. Maybe it was rude, maybe it wasn't under the circumstances since she made such a serious accusation, but it was certainly effective.

I have no problem with this one because she was trying to get you fired.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:28:38 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

They all come off as a bit self congragulatory and ego based to be honest.  Kind of like "Look how cleverly I trapped you"

Here is an example where I think this would be very rude:

A: I met (famous person) once! Then we had lunch together and it was great!
B: Oh, did you meet them on their 2005 tour?
A: Yes.
B: That's impossible. That person died in 2000.

I think this scenario is rude because even though it might be annoying to listen to an obviously fake story like this, it is ultimately harmless. It would be better to just go along with and inwardly roll your eyes.

In the examples I gave, allowing the lies to go unchecked could result in: being emotionally manipulated, getting in trouble by a boss, having a reputation as a thief, or being fired or disciplined. What I am wondering is, is setting a trap for a person still rude even if their lies could cause a problem? Is the clever person's rudeness mitigated by the liar's intent to do harm through deception? Can one rationalize catching people in a lie in this way by thinking, "Well, if they didn't want to stand there looking foolish just now, they shouldn't have lied to me in the first place." Or is it still rude?
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:31:10 PM
So you catch them and then what?  What do you do from there? In the scenarios you describe I can't imagine how that would help.

This - I don't understand the purpose of spending the time and energy 'outing' liars.  Would your father not come to the hospital if your grandmother didn't hit her head?  If someone claims they know your boss and they don't, what does it matter? 

People who lie constantly get caught eventually, and this attitude strikes me as massively offensive when someone is not lying.

Outing liars can matter because things can go bad for you if they are not caught. Yes, if my dad had known from the start that his mother had lied he would not have gone to the hospital for her, and told her to deal with everything herself.

If you let your boss's "friend" talk to them on the phone and it turns out they are a salesman, the boss might get angry at you.

I outed a liar once by misleading them. My coworker at a daycare claimed I had left early, leaving a bunch of kids alone. From previous interactions with her, I knew that she hated me because she wanted someone else to get my job. Also, she never came to check on those allegedly left alone children, which led me to believe she had made it up on purpose. So I said to her, "Lot's of people drive beige toyota camrys, are you sure it was me you saw?" She said yes, that she had seen me get into my beige toyota camry and leave early. I responded that it couldn't have been me, as I didn't have a car like that. I said that in front of the boss, who knew that the other woman was a liar in a way that me just protesting my innocence wouldn't have. Maybe it was rude, maybe it wasn't under the circumstances since she made such a serious accusation, but it was certainly effective.

The first time you told the camry story here you said your boss just said that your co worker must have been mistaken and outing her as a liar didn't save your job since you lost it two weeks later.

I don't think misleading or tricking someone to make a point is a particularly useful tactic.

The only reason why that didn't work was because she was friends with the employee and chose to ignore what had happened. Also, the place couldn't afford to pay me, since they were losing business due to their shadiness. Had the boss been impartial and running a better business I wouldn't have been fired. I didn't help me keep my job, but it did work in demonstrating that the employee had been lying and that I couldn't trust her.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Kiwichick on December 02, 2012, 06:32:37 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

Technically, not a lie (although there is definitely an attempt to deceive). Yes a reasonable person would assume that Alex is referring to the boss, but Alex could in theory be anyone.

It is a lie you both know you are speaking about the boss, it's ridiculous to say it's 'tecnically not a lie'.  Frankly if I heard you doing this I would think you were as dishonest and shady as the people you are trying to out.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 02, 2012, 06:32:55 PM
I have mixed feelings on this as I've had this done to me in a case where I wasn't so much lying as just not coming forth with all the information because I'd made a promise.  I've told this story before.  When I was 19, my closest friend at the time had come to visit and confided in me that she was pregnant and would I please not tell anyone until she was able to tell her mom? She didn't want her mom to hear it from anyone else first.  Makes sense to me.

Well, she went to her mom's house and a few hours later my mom came to talk to me and wanted to know how things were going with my friend.  I only told her a few things and omitted the pregnancy info.  Mom asked "Nothing else then?"  I shrugged and said nope. 

"You're lying, her mom just called me and told me she was pregnant!"
"Well she asked me to keep the secret until she was able to tell her mother and I had no way of knowing she had done so yet."
"A lie by omission is still a lie!"  ::)

I was omitting it for a reason, sheesh.

However...there've been times I have, when I have a feeling my sons are lying to me about how much homework they have. "Okay well I'll just email the teacher and see what they say" Suddenly they have homework they "forgot" about.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:36:09 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

Technically, not a lie (although there is definitely an attempt to deceive). Yes a reasonable person would assume that Alex is referring to the boss, but Alex could in theory be anyone.

It is a lie you both know you are speaking about the boss, it's ridiculous to say it's 'tecnically not a lie'.  Frankly if I heard you doing this I would think you were as dishonest and shady as the people you are trying to out.

I'm not sure you can equate the two, as the other person is lying to cause some kind of problem. You would be deceiving them to protect yourself/the business in direct response to dishonesty from the other person. Are they the same in rudenesss levels?
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Kiwichick on December 02, 2012, 06:36:54 PM

The only reason why that didn't work was because she was friends with the employee and chose to ignore what had happened. Also, the place couldn't afford to pay me, since they were losing business due to their shadiness. Had the boss been impartial and running a better business I wouldn't have been fired. I didn't help me keep my job, but it did work in demonstrating that the employee had been lying and that I couldn't trust her.

I snipped the quote tree.

It didn't demonstrate anything, you already knew she was a liar.   How do you know it wasn't your lying about the car that lead your boss to let you go?
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 06:38:23 PM
To me it is pretty close to the same.  I don't even know that i'd call it rudeness because it kind of goes beyond that in some ways.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Kiwichick on December 02, 2012, 06:41:18 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

Technically, not a lie (although there is definitely an attempt to deceive). Yes a reasonable person would assume that Alex is referring to the boss, but Alex could in theory be anyone.

It is a lie you both know you are speaking about the boss, it's ridiculous to say it's 'tecnically not a lie'.  Frankly if I heard you doing this I would think you were as dishonest and shady as the people you are trying to out.

I'm not sure you can equate the two, as the other person is lying to cause some kind of problem. You would be deceiving them to protect yourself/the business in direct response to dishonesty from the other person. Are they the same in rudenesss levels?

I'm trying to imagine what sort of problem could be caused by someone saying they are the boss's friend that couldn't be headed off with a call to the boss saying 'your friend so and so is on the line/is here and wants to speak to you.'

Lying is lying unless you are telling your best mate her bum doesn't look big in that.

Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:43:16 PM

The only reason why that didn't work was because she was friends with the employee and chose to ignore what had happened. Also, the place couldn't afford to pay me, since they were losing business due to their shadiness. Had the boss been impartial and running a better business I wouldn't have been fired. I didn't help me keep my job, but it did work in demonstrating that the employee had been lying and that I couldn't trust her.

I snipped the quote tree.

It didn't demonstrate anything, you already knew she was a liar.   How do you know it wasn't your lying about the car that lead your boss to let you go?

I didn't know, I just had a very strong suspicion. I am also pretty sure that money was a strong factor in letting me go, as we had lost a good number of kids, due to parent complaints. They combined groups of kids into one room, so I wasn't needed. Plus it doesn't make sense to fire someone for tricking an employee, yet not fire that employee for lying and trying to get the other person fired.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:44:04 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

Technically, not a lie (although there is definitely an attempt to deceive). Yes a reasonable person would assume that Alex is referring to the boss, but Alex could in theory be anyone.

It is a lie you both know you are speaking about the boss, it's ridiculous to say it's 'tecnically not a lie'.  Frankly if I heard you doing this I would think you were as dishonest and shady as the people you are trying to out.

I'm not sure you can equate the two, as the other person is lying to cause some kind of problem. You would be deceiving them to protect yourself/the business in direct response to dishonesty from the other person. Are they the same in rudenesss levels?

I'm trying to imagine what sort of problem could be caused by someone saying they are the boss's friend that couldn't be headed off with a call to the boss saying 'your friend so and so is on the line/is here and wants to speak to you.'

Lying is lying unless you are telling your best mate her bum doesn't look big in that.

In a small company where you can easily reach the boss I would definitely do that, but sometimes that is just not possible. Also, telling your friend a white lie is still a lie, but it is a lie for a good cause.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:45:14 PM
To me it is pretty close to the same.  I don't even know that i'd call it rudeness because it kind of goes beyond that in some ways.

Can you explain? I don't really get what you mean.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: wolfie on December 02, 2012, 06:45:58 PM
Your two example situations doesn't seem like tricking someone into lying so much as lying to someone to promote them to lie in return. Especially the second one - I would not look kindly on someone who trashed me just to get someone else to admit that they did something bad to me too. There has to be a better way of going about it.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 06:48:56 PM
To me it is pretty close to the same.  I don't even know that i'd call it rudeness because it kind of goes beyond that in some ways.

Can you explain? I don't really get what you mean.

It is not jut about being polite or impolite.  It involves morality and ideas of right and wrong.  That is beyond just etiquette. 
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Kiwichick on December 02, 2012, 06:50:44 PM
In a small company where you can easily reach the boss I would definitely do that, but sometimes that is just not possible. Also, telling your friend a white lie is still a lie, but it is a lie for a good cause.

If you can't get hold of the boss neither can the liar so you still have no need to lie to them.

I don't agree a 'white lie' is still a lie.  A lie is telling someone something that isn't true with the intention of deceiving them. Telling my mate that her bum doesn't look big in that is done with the intention of having her feel great in the clothes she's wearing.

Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:51:27 PM
Your two example situations doesn't seem like tricking someone into lying so much as lying to someone to promote them to lie in return. Especially the second one - I would not look kindly on someone who trashed me just to get someone else to admit that they did something bad to me too. There has to be a better way of going about it.

I don't think it is promoting them to lie, though. If Person B really did hate Bob, but had nothing to do with framing him for anything, wouldn't they just say, "Yeah, I hate Bob too!" Why would they say they framed him?
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Jules1980 on December 02, 2012, 06:51:40 PM
I did this once with a compulsive liar.  The coworker claimed all kinds of fantastical stuff all the time.  Her sister dated a famous 50's singer's son.  (Singer died with no children.)  SHe raised wild animals and they slept in her bed.  (Large game at that.)  Her grandchild was talking at 6 months.  ETC.  Every night was something new.

One night she started telling how she used to babysit famous singer, Jr. when he was a child.  But famous singer, Jr. was older than her. Like hiring a teenager to babysit a college aged person age difference.  SHe was going on and on about all this supposed 'dirt' on his family that she knew from babysitting when I asked, "Wait, did you babysit famous singer, Jr. or Famous Singer the third?"  Both were from the area she was talking about and both became singers as adults.

"Jr."

"But Jr. is 6 years older than you.  Are you sure it wasn't the III?"  I know, not EHell approved, but at the time I really thought she was confused and meant III.

"No, he's not.  I babysat him when I was 12."

After about 30 minutes, I finally gave up and resigned myself to listening to all the 'dirt' she wanted to spill.  Didn't get her anywhere, but I knew to be suspicous of anything she said.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: SamiHami on December 02, 2012, 06:54:11 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

They all come off as a bit self congragulatory and ego based to be honest.  Kind of like "Look how cleverly I trapped you"

Here is an example where I think this would be very rude:

A: I met (famous person) once! Then we had lunch together and it was great!
B: Oh, did you meet them on their 2005 tour?
A: Yes.
B: That's impossible. That person died in 2000.
I think this scenario is rude because even though it might be annoying to listen to an obviously fake story like this, it is ultimately harmless. It would be better to just go along with and inwardly roll your eyes.

In the examples I gave, allowing the lies to go unchecked could result in: being emotionally manipulated, getting in trouble by a boss, having a reputation as a thief, or being fired or disciplined. What I am wondering is, is setting a trap for a person still rude even if their lies could cause a problem? Is the clever person's rudeness mitigated by the liar's intent to do harm through deception? Can one rationalize catching people in a lie in this way by thinking, "Well, if they didn't want to stand there looking foolish just now, they shouldn't have lied to me in the first place." Or is it still rude?

Actually, I have had a very similar thing happen within my group of friends. I think I posted about him in the Captain Know It All thread, or possibly the Blowhard thread.

Anyway. this person was well known to be a liar in our group. He either embellished or outright lied about many things, big or small, and as a group we usually let it slide. "That's just how he is" was the usual attitude. Eventually a few of the guys got tired of it, and decided to set him up. They were seated at a table away from him and started talking about a great concert they'd been to at <local venue> recently. He - as expected - inserted himself into the conversation and went on about how, oh yeah, he'd gone to that show and he's best buds with the band and he partied with them after the show blah blah blah. 

Then they dropped the bomb on him that the concert had never taken place, so what was he talking about? I say they were not rude because they were not talking to him to begin with and they did not encourage him to lie. He just chose to, as he usually did, insert himself into a conversation uninvited and tell a whole bunch of lies. And if you knew this guy, I don't think you'd blame them either. This is a guy who told me that he personally had been nominated for a Nobel prize in Medicine. No, he's not a doctor. But he used to work at a hospital that employed a doctor who had once been so nominated.

For what it's worth, he took the outing with good grace and although he does still tell tall tales, he's not nearly as bad as he used to be.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: wolfie on December 02, 2012, 06:56:18 PM
Your two example situations doesn't seem like tricking someone into lying so much as lying to someone to promote them to lie in return. Especially the second one - I would not look kindly on someone who trashed me just to get someone else to admit that they did something bad to me too. There has to be a better way of going about it.

I don't think it is promoting them to lie, though. If Person B really did hate Bob, but had nothing to do with framing him for anything, wouldn't they just say, "Yeah, I hate Bob too!" Why would they say they framed him?

I think that is what bothers me about your examples - if the person isn't lying or didn't do what you suspect them of what has it gained you? Especially in the second instance. Is Bob supposed to believe that you didn't mean to trash talk him - that you just wanted to get a confession from someone else? And just because they don't confess to doing it doesn't mean they didn't do it - they could just be smart enough not to blab to other people about it. A good trick is one that forces the other person to admit they were lying but doesn't cause you to lie/get yourself in trouble to do it. It's not an easy thing to do and usually happens by accident.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 06:56:46 PM
In a small company where you can easily reach the boss I would definitely do that, but sometimes that is just not possible. Also, telling your friend a white lie is still a lie, but it is a lie for a good cause.

If you can't get hold of the boss neither can the liar so you still have no need to lie to them.

I don't agree a 'white lie' is still a lie.  A lie is telling someone something that isn't true with the intention of deceiving them. Telling my mate that her bum doesn't look big in that is done with the intention of having her feel great in the clothes she's wearing.

You are still deceiving your friend, even if you are doing it for a good reason. If her bum didn't look big in those clothes, you would have truthfully told her that.

Say someone comes by and is looking for your friend. You don't want them to find your friend because you know they are going to cause a problem. He asks where your friend is, so you lie and say you don't know. You lied to this person, but you are doing it for a good cause.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 07:04:02 PM
Your two example situations doesn't seem like tricking someone into lying so much as lying to someone to promote them to lie in return. Especially the second one - I would not look kindly on someone who trashed me just to get someone else to admit that they did something bad to me too. There has to be a better way of going about it.

I don't think it is promoting them to lie, though. If Person B really did hate Bob, but had nothing to do with framing him for anything, wouldn't they just say, "Yeah, I hate Bob too!" Why would they say they framed him?

I think that is what bothers me about your examples - if the person isn't lying or didn't do what you suspect them of what has it gained you? Especially in the second instance. Is Bob supposed to believe that you didn't mean to trash talk him - that you just wanted to get a confession from someone else? And just because they don't confess to doing it doesn't mean they didn't do it - they could just be smart enough not to blab to other people about it. A good trick is one that forces the other person to admit they were lying but doesn't cause you to lie/get yourself in trouble to do it. It's not an easy thing to do and usually happens by accident.

I think that these particular examples aren't that rude because if it turns out the person is telling the truth, the only person who looks stupid is you, not them. If you are willing to risk it, that is your business. This is how it could go if they are telling the truth:

A: Oh, you know Alex, isn't he great?
B: Um... she is great. I have been friends with her for awhile (Is this employee new or something?)

A: I hate Bob, someone should teach him a lesson!
B: Well he did steal those cookies...

True, they may not actually confess to anything, but there is no reason why they should be confessing to something they didn't do. As to your bolded question, if you explain your plan to Bob, or if you plan this together, there is no reason why he shouldn't believe you.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 07:06:09 PM
The Example with your grandma, not necessarily rude.

The other two examples you gave are rude because in both examples, Person 1 is lying.

Even the question "Isn't Alex a great guy" would be a lie if the person asking knows that Alex is a woman, as it is said with intent to deceive.

They all come off as a bit self congragulatory and ego based to be honest.  Kind of like "Look how cleverly I trapped you"

Here is an example where I think this would be very rude:

A: I met (famous person) once! Then we had lunch together and it was great!
B: Oh, did you meet them on their 2005 tour?
A: Yes.
B: That's impossible. That person died in 2000.
I think this scenario is rude because even though it might be annoying to listen to an obviously fake story like this, it is ultimately harmless. It would be better to just go along with and inwardly roll your eyes.

In the examples I gave, allowing the lies to go unchecked could result in: being emotionally manipulated, getting in trouble by a boss, having a reputation as a thief, or being fired or disciplined. What I am wondering is, is setting a trap for a person still rude even if their lies could cause a problem? Is the clever person's rudeness mitigated by the liar's intent to do harm through deception? Can one rationalize catching people in a lie in this way by thinking, "Well, if they didn't want to stand there looking foolish just now, they shouldn't have lied to me in the first place." Or is it still rude?

Actually, I have had a very similar thing happen within my group of friends. I think I posted about him in the Captain Know It All thread, or possibly the Blowhard thread.

Anyway. this person was well known to be a liar in our group. He either embellished or outright lied about many things, big or small, and as a group we usually let it slide. "That's just how he is" was the usual attitude. Eventually a few of the guys got tired of it, and decided to set him up. They were seated at a table away from him and started talking about a great concert they'd been to at <local venue> recently. He - as expected - inserted himself into the conversation and went on about how, oh yeah, he'd gone to that show and he's best buds with the band and he partied with them after the show blah blah blah. 

Then they dropped the bomb on him that the concert had never taken place, so what was he talking about? I say they were not rude because they were not talking to him to begin with and they did not encourage him to lie. He just chose to, as he usually did, insert himself into a conversation uninvited and tell a whole bunch of lies. And if you knew this guy, I don't think you'd blame them either. This is a guy who told me that he personally had been nominated for a Nobel prize in Medicine. No, he's not a doctor. But he used to work at a hospital that employed a doctor who had once been so nominated.

For what it's worth, he took the outing with good grace and although he does still tell tall tales, he's not nearly as bad as he used to be.

I could see how that would be very annoying, since this person did this so often. If it was a one time thing, I would just let it go.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: gen xer on December 02, 2012, 07:51:46 PM
The motivation for flushing out a liar is important.  Is the intent simply to embarrass someone....or to mitigate damages?
Exposing someone who is out to harm you or someone else ( as in the case of the beige Camry ) is totally justified.  I would have no qualms whatsoever.
Embarrassing somebody is a different kettle of fish.  Sure - chronic tellers of wild stories can be annoying in their apparent belief that that we are all hanging on their every word in gullible awe of their fascinating life.  ,,,,but trying to embarrass someone is beyond rude.  It's mean.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Adelaide on December 02, 2012, 07:53:57 PM
One of the only people I gave the Cut Direct to was a pathological liar. I've posted about him on here before. I think that at this point we've moved away from etiquette into morality. I have done the entrapment thing to him and have not felt badly about it, because at the time I thought that by calling him on his tall tales I could get him to change his behaviors.  Of course, in the process I think it made me look like the rude person in front of some people we knew. Once he said that his dad got an iPad "back in January" and I pressed him for details, because the first iPads weren't released until April.  ::) After much spluttering on his part it made the conversation awkward and I got the sense that I was the bad guy moreso than him.

On the other hand, Ex-friend once told me that "Sarah's" bf was saying rude things about me behind my back. (Ex-friend hated Sarah's bf and wanted to alienate him from the group.) Ex-friend didn't count on me meeting up with Sarah and hashing it out. I kept texting Ex-friend, asking him for specifics, and finally told him that I was sitting with Sarah. He ended up saying "I don't know what you want from me" and I said "I want you to never lie to me again". After he started a) talking about how it "wasn't technically/really/actually a lie per se/like that" and b) he just did it for attention/he felt sad/unnoticed, etc. I gave him the Cut Direct.

Those are the only two examples of entrapment that stick out in my mind. But I think that this may be a moral issue instead of an etiquette issue in certain cases. In some cases, you may make yourself out to be petty and overly concerned with details if you out a liar, and even if that's not the full story (they lie constantly or the issue is near and dear to you) you'll be perceived that way. I also think that in examples where you're "goading it on" by offering up false information yourself it could especially be seen as rude, like in the "tour of 2005" example.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: sunnygirl on December 02, 2012, 07:58:06 PM
I got the impression the OP's examples were purely hypothetical, since they went on to state:
I'm talking only about things where the lie actually matters and could cause a problem.
If someone is telling serious lies that could have real dire consequences, I see nothing wrong with trying to lead them into exposing themselves as liars.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on December 02, 2012, 07:58:15 PM
I am very uneasy with the idea of "trapping" someone in a lie.

I think it's ok to ask for the finer details, if you suspect someone is lying to you AND their lie will affect you negatively (like, getting you fired, etc). But deliberately inventing detals in the hope that the other person will go along with them (and thus, expose themselves as a liar) seem really "off" to me.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: wolfie on December 02, 2012, 08:03:25 PM
Your two example situations doesn't seem like tricking someone into lying so much as lying to someone to promote them to lie in return. Especially the second one - I would not look kindly on someone who trashed me just to get someone else to admit that they did something bad to me too. There has to be a better way of going about it.

I don't think it is promoting them to lie, though. If Person B really did hate Bob, but had nothing to do with framing him for anything, wouldn't they just say, "Yeah, I hate Bob too!" Why would they say they framed him?

I think that is what bothers me about your examples - if the person isn't lying or didn't do what you suspect them of what has it gained you? Especially in the second instance. Is Bob supposed to believe that you didn't mean to trash talk him - that you just wanted to get a confession from someone else? And just because they don't confess to doing it doesn't mean they didn't do it - they could just be smart enough not to blab to other people about it. A good trick is one that forces the other person to admit they were lying but doesn't cause you to lie/get yourself in trouble to do it. It's not an easy thing to do and usually happens by accident.

I think that these particular examples aren't that rude because if it turns out the person is telling the truth, the only person who looks stupid is you, not them. If you are willing to risk it, that is your business. This is how it could go if they are telling the truth:

A: Oh, you know Alex, isn't he great?
B: Um... she is great. I have been friends with her for awhile (Is this employee new or something?)

A: I hate Bob, someone should teach him a lesson!
B: Well he did steal those cookies...

True, they may not actually confess to anything, but there is no reason why they should be confessing to something they didn't do. As to your bolded question, if you explain your plan to Bob, or if you plan this together, there is no reason why he shouldn't believe you.

If someone came to  me and told me they wanted to tell someone they hated me to get them to confess to doing something I would not be impressed. I would wonder if they were still in middle school because that is the kind of vibe I am getting from that conversation. Plus unless it went down the way you wrote it it doesn't help you any. If they don't take the bait you don't know if it is because they are innocent or because they are smart enough to keep it to themselves. Plus anyone who overheard you now thinks you have something against Bob and that could bite you later.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 08:04:49 PM
I got the impression the OP's examples were purely hypothetical, since they went on to state:
I'm talking only about things where the lie actually matters and could cause a problem.
If someone is telling serious lies that could have real dire consequences, I see nothing wrong with trying to lead them into exposing themselves as liars.

The grandma in the hospital and the beige camry stories are real, the others I just made up so that people would have some frame of reference to what I was talking about.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 08:11:16 PM
Your two example situations doesn't seem like tricking someone into lying so much as lying to someone to promote them to lie in return. Especially the second one - I would not look kindly on someone who trashed me just to get someone else to admit that they did something bad to me too. There has to be a better way of going about it.

I don't think it is promoting them to lie, though. If Person B really did hate Bob, but had nothing to do with framing him for anything, wouldn't they just say, "Yeah, I hate Bob too!" Why would they say they framed him?

I think that is what bothers me about your examples - if the person isn't lying or didn't do what you suspect them of what has it gained you? Especially in the second instance. Is Bob supposed to believe that you didn't mean to trash talk him - that you just wanted to get a confession from someone else? And just because they don't confess to doing it doesn't mean they didn't do it - they could just be smart enough not to blab to other people about it. A good trick is one that forces the other person to admit they were lying but doesn't cause you to lie/get yourself in trouble to do it. It's not an easy thing to do and usually happens by accident.

I think that these particular examples aren't that rude because if it turns out the person is telling the truth, the only person who looks stupid is you, not them. If you are willing to risk it, that is your business. This is how it could go if they are telling the truth:

A: Oh, you know Alex, isn't he great?
B: Um... she is great. I have been friends with her for awhile (Is this employee new or something?)

A: I hate Bob, someone should teach him a lesson!
B: Well he did steal those cookies...

True, they may not actually confess to anything, but there is no reason why they should be confessing to something they didn't do. As to your bolded question, if you explain your plan to Bob, or if you plan this together, there is no reason why he shouldn't believe you.

If someone came to  me and told me they wanted to tell someone they hated me to get them to confess to doing something I would not be impressed. I would wonder if they were still in middle school because that is the kind of vibe I am getting from that conversation. Plus unless it went down the way you wrote it it doesn't help you any. If they don't take the bait you don't know if it is because they are innocent or because they are smart enough to keep it to themselves. Plus anyone who overheard you now thinks you have something against Bob and that could bite you later.

Yeah it certainly isn't the best plan, but the question is whether lying about hating Bob is actually rude to the person who are talking to. I just quickly thought of an example to illustrate what I meant, I wouldn't expect this to literally happen like that in real life.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: rose red on December 02, 2012, 08:13:03 PM
Liars that can harm should be called out, but I think it's best to call out a lie without lying/tricking yourself.  In the coworker situation, you can say "I did not leave early.  Lets find out what happened.  Can you tell me the make and color of the car of the person you saw driving away?"

Or in the "I know the boss" situation, "You are Alex's best friend?  How nice.  May I please have your name so I can give him the message?"  "No, he's not available now.  May I have your name so I can let him know you called?"  "You need a favor from me?  I'll have to clear that with the boss.  Your name please?"

You need to make yourself look good while still exposing the liars.  IMO, lying/tricking does the job of exposing them, but takes a bit of...I'm not sure the right word...integrity(?) away.  I much prefer to expose them with the truth coming out of my mouth.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: kareng57 on December 02, 2012, 09:39:15 PM
Yes, I think it would be very rude to try to "trap" an elderly person in this way.  Just because you suspect that she didn't really fall, doesn't mean that you know she did not. It's not unusual for an elderly person to lose short-term memory over an event like this.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 09:55:23 PM
Yes, I think it would be very rude to try to "trap" an elderly person in this way.  Just because you suspect that she didn't really fall, doesn't mean that you know she did not. It's not unusual for an elderly person to lose short-term memory over an event like this.

What would you have done instead in order to find out what really happened? The other situations I can see how trapping someone might not be necessary, but I don't really know what else my dad was supposed to do aside from questioning her in a way that she would inevitably give herself away. Considering the circumstances that led up to this, we were about 99% sure that she had done this on purpose.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: penelope2017 on December 02, 2012, 10:02:22 PM
I see this as backfiring in many cases.

For example, I never remember anything about someone's specific car.

If, hypothetically, I thought a daycare teacher left their responsibilities and I was a coworker and thought I saw them leave, I would not remember what type of care they had. If they quizzed me by saying, "You saw me leaving in my beige camry?" I'd probably only think I was answering the part of the question that was "You saw me leaving" rather than what I'd consider an inconsequential aspect, the make and color of their car. I can barely remember the make of my car.

Trying to catch some people on small details to prove they are a liar might often just prove they are someone with a bad memory.

I was an exec secretary for many years. If I got the vibe someone wasn't who they said they were I'd just take a message. I'm sure my boss would prefer that rather than trying to trip up a possible actual friend. That's sort of taking things over the line.

Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Sharnita on December 02, 2012, 10:04:53 PM
Yes, I think it would be very rude to try to "trap" an elderly person in this way.  Just because you suspect that she didn't really fall, doesn't mean that you know she did not. It's not unusual for an elderly person to lose short-term memory over an event like this.

What would you have done instead in order to find out what really happened? The other situations I can see how trapping someone might not be necessary, but I don't really know what else my dad was supposed to do aside from questioning her in a way that she would inevitably give herself away. Considering the circumstances that led up to this, we were about 99% sure that she had done this on purpose.

Assuming you could talk to the doctor I might have asked if there was any sign she had hit her head. 
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 02, 2012, 10:10:37 PM
Yes, I think it would be very rude to try to "trap" an elderly person in this way.  Just because you suspect that she didn't really fall, doesn't mean that you know she did not. It's not unusual for an elderly person to lose short-term memory over an event like this.

What would you have done instead in order to find out what really happened? The other situations I can see how trapping someone might not be necessary, but I don't really know what else my dad was supposed to do aside from questioning her in a way that she would inevitably give herself away. Considering the circumstances that led up to this, we were about 99% sure that she had done this on purpose.

Assuming you could talk to the doctor I might have asked if there was any sign she had hit her head.

But the point wasn't really whether or not she had actually hit her head, it was whether what had happened was actually an accident. Therefore, my dad had to question her to see if she could keep the story straight about what had actually happened. He was suspicious before, but ultimately her going back and forth on whether or not she had hit her head was enough to let him know that something wasn't right. He told her he knew she had faked the whole thing, and she admitted it.

Basically, the way my grandmother operates is that she is perfectly fine until something comes up that she doesn't want to discuss. Then she suddenly has dementia. My family's theory was that she did not intend to mention any head injuries until she had left the hospital, so that the staff wouldn't check up on her to verify it, plus she did not want to stay in the hospital. She did not expect my dad to question her like that, and hadn't made up that part of the story yet. My dad could tell she was like this because she was lying, not just confused, because she had been acting completely fine just a second ago.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: rose red on December 02, 2012, 10:18:03 PM
Questioning about what happened, digging for the truth, and asking about inconsistencies is fine.  The other examples about outright lying to catch someone just doesn't seem right.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: sweetonsno on December 02, 2012, 11:38:12 PM
Liars that can harm should be called out, but I think it's best to call out a lie without lying/tricking yourself.  In the coworker situation, you can say "I did not leave early.  Lets find out what happened.  Can you tell me the make and color of the car of the person you saw driving away?"

Or in the "I know the boss" situation, "You are Alex's best friend?  How nice.  May I please have your name so I can give him the message?"  "No, he's not available now.  May I have your name so I can let him know you called?"  "You need a favor from me?  I'll have to clear that with the boss.  Your name please?"

You need to make yourself look good while still exposing the liars.  IMO, lying/tricking does the job of exposing them, but takes a bit of...I'm not sure the right word...integrity(?) away.  I much prefer to expose them with the truth coming out of my mouth.

I agree with this completely. If you object to people telling outright lies to you, or misleading you, doing the same yourself is hypocritical. If somebody lying to or misleading you is rude, then doing the same to them retaliatory rudeness. In many cases, their "lie" might be accidental. As Penelope said, people often respond to the gist of something rather than all of the details. Furthermore, people are often quite susceptible to suggestions. If you feed them details, you can actually change their memory of an event.

None of the examples you listed sound as though the motivation for lying is altruistic. I really don't like the idea of lying unless your motivation is to do something kind. Earlier posters discussed tact (you should not say, "Yes, that skirt makes you look like a hippopotamus," for instance. . . "The black one is far more flattering" is much better). I also think it's okay to lie to protect someone's privacy. If someone has asked to to keep something on the DL, you should do so, barring extreme circumstances (like confession of a crime or an intent to commit self-harm).
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 03, 2012, 12:03:47 AM
I am very uneasy with the idea of "trapping" someone in a lie.

I think it's ok to ask for the finer details, if you suspect someone is lying to you AND their lie will affect you negatively (like, getting you fired, etc). But deliberately inventing detals in the hope that the other person will go along with them (and thus, expose themselves as a liar) seem really "off" to me.

Pod.  I don't really see the point of this here since it requires expending more effort and me caring more than I would in the examples.

I only once tried to expose a pathological liar about 26 years ago.  When confronted with his lie with my sister present (he contradicted something my sister told me that occurred between the two of them), he lied about his lie.  After that, I didn't bother.  Everyone who knew him knew what a big liar he was; it wasn't worth my time after that.

As for the boss example, I just couldn't be bothered to determine whether or not the person is lying.  If the boss should be available, I would put the caller on hold and ask the boss if he/she wished to take the call from this person.  If not, then the person would be told the boss is unavailable and be sent to voice mail.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Raintree on December 03, 2012, 12:06:56 AM
Liars that can harm should be called out, but I think it's best to call out a lie without lying/tricking yourself.  In the coworker situation, you can say "I did not leave early.  Lets find out what happened.  Can you tell me the make and color of the car of the person you saw driving away?"

I disagree. I think the beige camry story was brilliant. The way you suggest asking it leaves the liar able to say, "I don't recall, but I saw her get into a car and drive away." Then it is one person's word against another's. I don't think in this scenario it was "rude" at all. The coworker was making a serious allegation and trying to get her victim fired. Such a person does not deserve any consideration for etiquette rules.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Iris on December 03, 2012, 01:33:12 AM
Whether you are comfortable with the entrapment approach is really up to  you, I think it goes more into morality than etiquette myself.

On the close questioning - I don't think it is rude as such, but it certainly doesn't lead to comfortable relations. My SIL who is lovely in most ways has a tendency to do it and it tends to make me uncomfortable around her, as if every conversation is an exam where you will be tested for absolute truthfulness, no muddles or exaggerations allowed.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Nora on December 03, 2012, 02:24:03 AM
I feel powerless when it comes to chronic liars. The urge to lie, and keep lying is so much stronger than the urge to connect to other people on any meaningfull level that it seems like a lost cause to try and catch them out. If the lie is affecting others in a negative way I do feel they should be confronted, but I have no idea how to do that in a way that would not lead to a cut direct in the future...
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Steve on December 03, 2012, 08:12:44 AM
It seems to me like you are giving your gramma a "3-rd degree" interrogation. we call something like that the "Zaanse verhoormethode", you can get anyone to admit to anything if you play your trickery right.

I feel it is not a good way to treat people at all. I also doubt we are still in ettiquette territory here, it sounds more of a moral discussion.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Giggity on December 03, 2012, 08:32:25 AM
The question is, is it okay to lie to someone to demonstrate that you know they lied to you.

I find that rude, and retaliatory.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 03, 2012, 09:36:58 AM
The question is, is it okay to lie to someone to demonstrate that you know they lied to you.

I find that rude, and retaliatory.

I agree, it falls under the old saying of "two wrongs don't make a right".
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: DavidH on December 03, 2012, 10:46:24 AM
In the coworker example, I think the lie was justified given the circumstances, although it doesn't seem to have mattered in the long run and for all anyone knew you could have borrowed a friend's car that day. 

Giving your grandmother who may or may not have fallen a comprehensive interrogation, particularly after she may or may not have hit her head seems rude and not very productive.  Just for a minute assume she had hit her head, it could have caused her to become confused and fail the interrogation.  Another explanation is that she didn't want to stay in hospital and had, in fact, hit her head and was lying to the hospital staff, whereas you interpreted this as lying to you. 

It's not clear to me from the story whether or not she fell, it sounds like she fell but you believe she did this on purpose.  In any event, whether or not she hit her heard, faking a fall is a cry for help and understanding that might be the more important part of the story.

In this case, if you don't want to visit her, then don't visit her.  To claim a moral high ground gained by interrogating her and missing the point of why she would fake a fall seems somewhat off to me.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 03, 2012, 10:52:19 AM
The question is, is it okay to lie to someone to demonstrate that you know they lied to you.

I find that rude, and retaliatory.

I agree, it falls under the old saying of "two wrongs don't make a right".

That's a fair point, I can see that.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 03, 2012, 11:02:56 AM
In the coworker example, I think the lie was justified given the circumstances, although it doesn't seem to have mattered in the long run and for all anyone knew you could have borrowed a friend's car that day. 

Giving your grandmother who may or may not have fallen a comprehensive interrogation, particularly after she may or may not have hit her head seems rude and not very productive.  Just for a minute assume she had hit her head, it could have caused her to become confused and fail the interrogation.  Another explanation is that she didn't want to stay in hospital and had, in fact, hit her head and was lying to the hospital staff, whereas you interpreted this as lying to you. 

It's not clear to me from the story whether or not she fell, it sounds like she fell but you believe she did this on purpose.  In any event, whether or not she hit her heard, faking a fall is a cry for help and understanding that might be the more important part of the story.

In this case, if you don't want to visit her, then don't visit her.  To claim a moral high ground gained by interrogating her and missing the point of why she would fake a fall seems somewhat off to me.

I didn't outright state this before, but basically my grandmother is a jerk. Everytime she pulls some kind of stunt it is because she is angry at someone and wants to cause trouble for them. She had recently been angry at my dad for going on a long vacation with my mom, who she doesn't like. This incident happened the day they were going to leave. My grandmother isn't a very good actress, and I've found it pretty easy to tell when she is only pretending to be confused, as she will be perfectly fine one second, act confused in a very over the top way when the conversation is going a way she doesn't like, and be fine again as soon as that part of the conversation is over. My other grandmother actually does have memory problems and dementia, and her illness never appears and disappears at such convenient times. To my dad, it was probably very clear to him that she was just lying to him.

Generally speaking, I would not deal with people the way my dad dealt with grandma, as most people don't really mean me any harm. With someone nasty like grandma though, I'm not sure what else my dad should have done. Especially since, regardless of whether or not you agree with his techniques, it turned out he was 100% right about everything.

When we found out grandma was in the hospital, since we knew what she is like, it was a case of hearing hooves and assuming horses, not zebras.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: cicero on December 03, 2012, 11:28:49 AM
In the coworker example, I think the lie was justified given the circumstances, although it doesn't seem to have mattered in the long run and for all anyone knew you could have borrowed a friend's car that day. 

Giving your grandmother who may or may not have fallen a comprehensive interrogation, particularly after she may or may not have hit her head seems rude and not very productive.  Just for a minute assume she had hit her head, it could have caused her to become confused and fail the interrogation.  Another explanation is that she didn't want to stay in hospital and had, in fact, hit her head and was lying to the hospital staff, whereas you interpreted this as lying to you. 

It's not clear to me from the story whether or not she fell, it sounds like she fell but you believe she did this on purpose.  In any event, whether or not she hit her heard, faking a fall is a cry for help and understanding that might be the more important part of the story.

In this case, if you don't want to visit her, then don't visit her.  To claim a moral high ground gained by interrogating her and missing the point of why she would fake a fall seems somewhat off to me.

I didn't outright state this before, but basically my grandmother is a jerk. Everytime she pulls some kind of stunt it is because she is angry at someone and wants to cause trouble for them. She had recently been angry at my dad for going on a long vacation with my mom, who she doesn't like. This incident happened the day they were going to leave. My grandmother isn't a very good actress, and I've found it pretty easy to tell when she is only pretending to be confused, as she will be perfectly fine one second, act confused in a very over the top way when the conversation is going a way she doesn't like, and be fine again as soon as that part of the conversation is over. My other grandmother actually does have memory problems and dementia, and her illness never appears and disappears at such convenient times. To my dad, it was probably very clear to him that she was just lying to him.

Generally speaking, I would not deal with people the way my dad dealt with grandma, as most people don't really mean me any harm. With someone nasty like grandma though, I'm not sure what else my dad should have done. Especially since, regardless of whether or not you agree with his techniques, it turned out he was 100% right about everything.

When we found out grandma was in the hospital, since we knew what she is like, it was a case of hearing hooves and assuming horses, not zebras.

the thing is, though, that your father ended up looking sort of like a jerk too. and to be honest, you don't come out too good either in the story about the beige car.

see it's one thing to tell a simple white lie "yeah, that hair cut is great", "no those jeans don't make your butt look bigger". because for the most part, those are one-time events, nobody gets hurt. we move on.

but it's another thing to be manipulative and do what you (and your dad) did. I don't know what your grandmother's problems are but if someone goes to tthe trouble of injuring themselves, putting themselves in the hospital and undergoing medical tests, *just* to prove to their son that they are angry - then *that* is indicative of other problems.

and as for your story about the car and the coworker - in the end you are the one who got fired, and i know that you said that it was because of this and because of that, but in the end you end up (also) looking bad

I was married to someone who lied all the time, was extremely argumentative, and got so caught up in his lies and webs that he would often get caught. it was stupid, really. I told him that ends up looking like a total jerk instead of being honest.

(and just for the record - again, i don't know your grandma but i can assure you that there *are* cases of people developing dementia or altzheimer's who seem so totally "normal" one minute and totally off the wall 20 seconds later - yes, that fast. so don't rule out an *actual* problem with her just because it's not the same as your other grandma)
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Allyson on December 03, 2012, 11:47:59 AM
I can't say it bothers me too much, but pathological/chronic liars really get to me. Like Nora said, it's the powerlessness of it. It's  not always easy to prove someone's lying though, and unless they're doing it in a harmful way, entrapping them doesn't end up being useful.

These people have an explanation for *everything*. The one I know who is like this, she will overexplain herself til your head spins. And if that fails, she'll start getting upset and saying, oh, she must've been confused.

In the example about the car I think it was understandable, because there was another person there. And proving to your boss that coworker was a liar was a possible and helpful thing to do. Whereas outing someone for knowing a famous person probably won't be useful in the longterm. But, I can't really fault people who do this successfully.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 03, 2012, 12:16:22 PM
In the coworker example, I think the lie was justified given the circumstances, although it doesn't seem to have mattered in the long run and for all anyone knew you could have borrowed a friend's car that day. 

Giving your grandmother who may or may not have fallen a comprehensive interrogation, particularly after she may or may not have hit her head seems rude and not very productive.  Just for a minute assume she had hit her head, it could have caused her to become confused and fail the interrogation.  Another explanation is that she didn't want to stay in hospital and had, in fact, hit her head and was lying to the hospital staff, whereas you interpreted this as lying to you. 

It's not clear to me from the story whether or not she fell, it sounds like she fell but you believe she did this on purpose.  In any event, whether or not she hit her heard, faking a fall is a cry for help and understanding that might be the more important part of the story.

In this case, if you don't want to visit her, then don't visit her.  To claim a moral high ground gained by interrogating her and missing the point of why she would fake a fall seems somewhat off to me.

I didn't outright state this before, but basically my grandmother is a jerk. Everytime she pulls some kind of stunt it is because she is angry at someone and wants to cause trouble for them. She had recently been angry at my dad for going on a long vacation with my mom, who she doesn't like. This incident happened the day they were going to leave. My grandmother isn't a very good actress, and I've found it pretty easy to tell when she is only pretending to be confused, as she will be perfectly fine one second, act confused in a very over the top way when the conversation is going a way she doesn't like, and be fine again as soon as that part of the conversation is over. My other grandmother actually does have memory problems and dementia, and her illness never appears and disappears at such convenient times. To my dad, it was probably very clear to him that she was just lying to him.

Generally speaking, I would not deal with people the way my dad dealt with grandma, as most people don't really mean me any harm. With someone nasty like grandma though, I'm not sure what else my dad should have done. Especially since, regardless of whether or not you agree with his techniques, it turned out he was 100% right about everything.

When we found out grandma was in the hospital, since we knew what she is like, it was a case of hearing hooves and assuming horses, not zebras.

the thing is, though, that your father ended up looking sort of like a jerk too. and to be honest, you don't come out too good either in the story about the beige car.

see it's one thing to tell a simple white lie "yeah, that hair cut is great", "no those jeans don't make your butt look bigger". because for the most part, those are one-time events, nobody gets hurt. we move on.

but it's another thing to be manipulative and do what you (and your dad) did. I don't know what your grandmother's problems are but if someone goes to tthe trouble of injuring themselves, putting themselves in the hospital and undergoing medical tests, *just* to prove to their son that they are angry - then *that* is indicative of other problems.

and as for your story about the car and the coworker - in the end you are the one who got fired, and i know that you said that it was because of this and because of that, but in the end you end up (also) looking bad

I was married to someone who lied all the time, was extremely argumentative, and got so caught up in his lies and webs that he would often get caught. it was stupid, really. I told him that ends up looking like a total jerk instead of being honest.

(and just for the record - again, i don't know your grandma but i can assure you that there *are* cases of people developing dementia or altzheimer's who seem so totally "normal" one minute and totally off the wall 20 seconds later - yes, that fast. so don't rule out an *actual* problem with her just because it's not the same as your other grandma)

I know people who seem lucid can start acting crazy very soon after, but the thing with my grandma is that it always happens at times that seem way too convenient for her. A few times might be just a coincidence, but the staff at her assisted living place have never witnessed any of these spells and she only has them when it would be convenient for her, and then snaps out of it when it is more convenient for her to be lucid again. This has been happening for awhile, and while I might be sympathetic if she had an actual problem that she couldn't help, I can't be sympathetic to someone who goes to such lengths just to be mean and cause a problem for someone else.

I think the reason why I can't blame my dad too much is that while he made grandma uncomfortable, this wouldn't have happened if she hadn't been such a jerk in the first place.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: MerryCat on December 03, 2012, 01:37:00 PM
I generally don't believe that giving people the third degree is polite at all. But at the same time, if you're a person who's prone to lying and exaggeration, you only have yourself to blame if people start to question everything you say.

My mother is very prone to exaggeration and making things up to fit her convenience. She's especially prone to making up conversations and, when you call her out on it, she'll say "Okay, he/she didn't say that, but they wanted to. It's the same thing!."

Well, no, it's not the same thing. When I was younger I'd sometimes get dragged to things I didn't want to go to because "They invited you specially! They'll be so offended!" Then, when I got there, I'd realize that my invitation existed only in my mother's head. Her defense? "Well, I thought they meant to invite you. How was I supposed to know it was adults only?" AGH!

And now that she's gotten older and her health has gotten frailer, I get to hear worry-inducing stories of heart palpitations and tumorous lumps and various terrible and fatal diseases she's sure she's got. These terrible illnesses especially occur around holidays and when I enforce boundaries. There's usually just enough truth in her exaggerations that I can't dismiss it all out of hand. She'll actually save up health scares, rather than tell me at the time, so that she can bring them up later when she wants to manipulate me. I can get the straight truth from my dad but, if he's not around, then yes, I'll grill my mother to get to the actual truth of the matter.


I guess the point I'm trying to make is that while the OP's father's behaviour can seem pretty harsh to an outsider, if you live with a compulsive exaggerator/hypochondriac you get pretty good at telling when you're being played. Especially when, as seems to be the case here, the illness follows a convenient and predictable pattern.


Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: AnnaJ on December 03, 2012, 02:01:22 PM
OP, I've read your posts and still don't understand why your dad 'had to' interrogate your grandmother.  If he is convinced that your grandmother uses health issues to try to manipulate him or other family members, then he just stops allowing himself to be manipulated.  Period.  He could have called the hospital to make sure she wasn't badly injured, then simply not gone to visit.

The problem with 'tricking' someone, as you discovered with the daycare incident, is that it may not resolve the problem and, as someone else commented, could end up with the trickster looking like the bad one.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: TurtleDove on December 03, 2012, 02:19:07 PM
I'm not clear what the OP is hoping to accomplish.  People who are pathological liars are not likely able to hide this fact from the masses for long.  On the other hand, creating some elaborate (or even not so elaborate) "gotcha" moment seems mean spirited and does not paint the OP in a good light, in my opinion.  When I believe someone is a liar, I either cut them out of my life or don't believe anything they say and restrict my interaction with them. 

I liken it to a romantic relationship.  If you suspect someone is cheating, and go through their personal things (like phone, email, wallet) you WILL find "proof" that they are cheating on you.  They may or may not be cheating, but the very fact you feel the need to snoop means you don't trust them and the relationship is over.  Here, if you feel the need to "prove" to someone you know they lied to you, you are just wasting your energy on a relationship that is past is sell-by date.  The trust is already gone, so why waste time proving to them why you don't trust them?
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: WillyNilly on December 03, 2012, 02:45:04 PM
When I was in high school a friend of mine tried to trick me like this.  She played a tape and asked if I knew the song.  I said I did.  She did this whole "ah-ha!  Gotcha!  I knew you were full of it!" thing on me, as apparently it was her sister's boyfriend's band (that legitimately I would have no way of having ever heard before).  I was really embarrassed and humiliated, I really honestly thought the song sounded familiar.  It was about 6 months (no internet back then) before I heard the song again - the band had been doing a cover (my friend didn't realize it was a cover) - so I wasn't the liar, I had heard it before! I went back and called my friend out on it, but really our friendship was never the same, as I really just never trusted her again - I always wondered it she was out to get me and try to trick me again.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 03, 2012, 02:52:08 PM
OP, I've read your posts and still don't understand why your dad 'had to' interrogate your grandmother.  If he is convinced that your grandmother uses health issues to try to manipulate him or other family members, then he just stops allowing himself to be manipulated.  Period.  He could have called the hospital to make sure she wasn't badly injured, then simply not gone to visit.

The problem with 'tricking' someone, as you discovered with the daycare incident, is that it may not resolve the problem and, as someone else commented, could end up with the trickster looking like the bad one.

Most people who tell outrageous lies don't care that they are caught. If they did, they would have stopped years ago. I guarantee that you aren't the first person to catch them in a lie or confront them.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Tea Drinker on December 03, 2012, 03:29:25 PM
From an etiquette viewpoint&mdash;since I don't think I have anything to add to the ethical discussion&mdash;I think saying "Mom, I'm not coming to the hospital, I'm sure the staff will take good care of you" and, if necessary, "because I think you're using your medical issues to manipulate us" is as polite as "Hah! I've caught you lying, so now I can ignore your medical crises."

Either way, your father would have been drawing a boundary and saying why; someone who uses the sort of techniques you describe from your grandmother isn't likely to stop even if they're caught at it in front of witnesses. I suspect that in a week or month, she'll do something similar, and have "forgotten" all about this episode.

You and your father are adults: you can enforce boundaries without justifying them to your grandmother (which probably won't work anyhow).
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Surianne on December 03, 2012, 03:41:01 PM
Like other posters, I'm not really seeing why the tricking and lying is necessary. 

In the case of your grandma, if you know for sure she's lying, call the hospital to check up on her and then don't bother to play into her game by visiting. 

In the case of the coworker lying about you leaving early, wouldn't asking "You saw me drive away?  What colour car was I driving?" be just as useful as playing the "Did you see me get into my beige Camry?" trick?   

And as other posters have mentioned, just ask your boss if X person is his friend before transferring the call.

It seems to me like the lying and tricking might just come across as mean-spirited and immature to other people watching it, rather than clever.  I don't think it will do you much good in the long run.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 03, 2012, 04:32:29 PM
Interesting thread. I was going to comment on the OP's exact wording in the beige Camry story, and how it might have been less "tricky" than some were assuming; but then I realized that the problem with this technique is that it turns every conversation into a testimony on Law & Order, hinging upon the exact wording someone used. In some situations that might be appropriate, when you've gone beyond etiquette anyway; but I think that generally, there are better ways to deal with suspected liars.

Reacting with calm dignity when someone else is sputtering outrageous lies, generally being known as a truthful person, and asking simple questions about facts are, I think, more polite than trying to trick someone. In a purely social situation, you can also choose to simply stop associating with that person, or refuse to rise to their bait of lies, rather than trying to prove to all and sundry that they are, in fact, lying. Probably a lot of people get that sense from them anyway, and it's better not to give them the attention they obviously want.
Title: Re: Is it rude to trick someone into showing that they lied to you?
Post by: Wordgeek on December 03, 2012, 05:12:02 PM
Insofar as this is an etiquette issue, the matter has been adequately explored.