How to Measure Someone’s Bullshit

Advice from someone on the spectrum

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Photo by Igor Rand on Unsplash

You need a bullshit meter.

These days, it’s non-optional. Too many people do exactly like my so-called friend. They don’t just filter themselves. They put extreme effort into deceiving you, for petty reasons.

Bullshit greases most workplaces.

Your boss loves the word positive. Talks about positive leadership. Positive team building. Positive budget cuts. He describes them as hidden opportunities to develop efficient solutions. It’s like he’s got a gun to positivity’s head, and it’s saying whatever he wants.

Bullshitters always spin bad news.

Your president announces “exciting new challenges” for employees. He really means more work for the same pay. Maybe you’ll develop some new skills, but mainly on your own time.

They can’t answer your questions.

A bullshitter never says, “I’m not sure.” They also don’t say, “Let me find out and get back to you.” Instead, they pretend to know the answer, and rely on words like “complex” and “process.”

They only pretend to listen.

Think about that friend who always wants to cheer you up. Are they doing that for you, or because they can’t be around sadness? A good boss is like a good friend. Sometimes you just have to listen.

They always deflect from real problems.

New snacks in the break room, guys! Never mind the broken air conditioner, which nobody’s called a repair team to fix yet. Also, the fridge is busted. Hope you enjoy sludgy ice cream at room temperature. And don’t worry about the multi-million dollar budget free fall. Check out his wife’s new bistro downtown. She’s a sommelier, didn’t you know?

They always give motivational speeches.

The first one made you feel warm and fuzzy. But now, your boss responds to every problem with a speech. It’s the only thing they’re good at — giving pep talks. They all start to sound the same. After a while you find yourself thinking, “Would this guy just stop talking?”

They want praise for solving problems they made.

Ah, the manufactured crisis. We all have a tendency to freak out a little. But usually we admit that later. Maybe we screw something up and then fix it. Then we tell the people whom our screwup effected. Not because we want bonus points. But because we want redemption. It’s like saying, “Hey, I didn’t blow up your life after all. Have I restored equilibrium?”

They give you way too much praise.

Remember Jenny from earlier. She’s just quitting for personal reasons. She loves her job. And her boss. Sooo much.

What to do with bullshit.

You don’t have to call out every single person who tries to bullshit you. That could get exhausting. It’s not worth your time. Bullshit isn’t always actionable. Just know when you’re being greased up or misdirected, and file that intel away for later.

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