How to Smooth Talk Your Way out of Trouble

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Even the best-behaved among us sometimes find ourselves in a little bit of trouble. Sometimes it's a teacher who wants to know where your homework is. Or maybe a police officer has stopped you for speeding. In any situation where you have gotten in over your head, know that you can talk yourself out of it.

  • Prepare an excuse. Feigning simple ignorance is best.

  • Keep the conversation short. Your goal is to leave the situation as soon as you can, before the other person has time to think about what is really going on.

  • Make eye contact. Avoiding eye contact is commonly known to be a sign of lying.

  • Compliment the person you're talking with. In addition to making the person feel more charitable towards you, compliments provide a useful distraction. Something like, "You were smart to catch that," works ever time.

  • Offer a solution that benefits you. If you didn't do your homework, say something like, "I'm sorry about that. I'll turn it in tomorrow." In the case of a traffic ticket, you can say, "How about if we both save time, and you let me off with a warning?"

  • Urge the conversation toward a conclusion. Remember that you want to force the person to come to a fast decision, before he has time to consider what you've done wrong.

  • Thank the person for her understanding. Promise that you have learned your lesson and that you won't repeat your mistake.

Tips & Warnings

  • These steps are more effective when you use them sparingly. The less often you're in trouble, the more likely you'll be able to talk yourself out of it.
  • Don't make up a big story. Complicated stories require details, and trying to remember the details can trip you up very easily.

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