How can you tell if someone is telling you the truth? Well, the truth is that some people are better at hiding things than others, but there are truth markers that can help you determine if you can probably trust someone or not. This monthly series for 2018 will concentrate on things you can use to help you determine the likelihood that someone is probably telling you something you can believe. Since most of us are on social media, I'll start with two truth markers for writing.
Since nobody can see the face of the author of the post, that leaves out markers like eye contact and body language. However, there are several truth markers that I look for when I'm reading a post on social media that are helpful to determine if someone is probably being truthful. It isn't 100% foolproof, but it gives you enough of a test to start.
The first truth marker you should look for when reading a post is who does the author claim (s)he is? Do they claim to be an expert or make any other grandiose claim or just someone who happens to know?
There's a new movie out about Tanya Harding. I haven't seen it, but I've been reading about it online. Some say she's guilty and others claim she's misunderstood. I've seen several comments about how they know either way. One woman said she believed that Tanya didn't plan it, but that she had to have known sometime prior and didn't say anything. She said she believed that because she was a skater during that time.
At that point, my first truth marker alert went up. I didn't know her name and I was following the story at the time because my own daughter was a figure skater. She was competing, but not on anywhere near the Olympic level. It was just on my radar at the time because my daughter was a figure skater. I'd never heard of this woman so I didn't think she was competing with them.
Instead of claiming that she was on the team or good friends with either girl, she simply stated that, at the time, the figure skaters thought Tanya was very talented, but that she lacked the social graces of the skating world calling her Trailer Trash and was known to do things in order to "look" like she was trying hard. She mentioned that Tanya would hide her smoking habit and then, use an inhaler to make it appear that she was working harder than she was.
I don't know if any of this is true, but my point is that it's at least plausible because the woman who posted the comment didn't claim a special relationship with either athlete and it's quite plausible that she could have seen things if she skated at the same rink often enough to see them both. My daughter skated at the same rink as Michelle Kwan a few times. She met Tara Lapinski and her mother once. So, I know you can be around them even though you aren't at their level.
When I was writing Say What You Mean: Defending the Faith, I did a lot of research on the authenticity of the Bible. One of the tests I came across was that, when most people write about themselves, they usually paint themselves as all good and leave out any bad parts. The disciples are written about with all their flaws. Why would they admit them if it wasn't the truth? So, as it relates to the comment about Tanya Harding, this passes the humbleness marker.
The second marker is, to borrow a phrase from Fox News, the Fair and Balanced Marker. The woman who posted this didn't paint Tanya as all bad. She shared that Tanya was known to sell things in order to afford her lessons so she was seen as determined as well as talented. Most people who don't like someone will only talk about their negative qualities calling them evil (think politics). This woman wrote that Tanya Harding was seen as quite talented. In fact, she said she was one of the best jumpers of all time.
There are other Truth Markers that I will be sharing about, but these are the two most important markers I look for when I'm reading a post or article. Fair and balanced is one of the trade marks of the truth.
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