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  1. Wealth
February 20, 2013

You have your truth, I'll have mine

By Spear's

It’s not that I’ve got particularly mendacious clients, it’s more that we (and I’m guilty of this) often believe what we want to believe

‘Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.’ This Walter Scott quote, often misattributed to Shakespeare, has been ringing in my head this last week. It’s not that I’ve got particularly mendacious clients, it’s more that we (and I’m guilty of this) often believe what we want to believe.

My father has a fondness for telling people that they’re living in ‘fantasy worlds’ and I’d always felt it rather harsh. Now, I see how common it is.

It can be labeled ‘optimistic’ by charitable people; certainly we’re inclined to look on the favourable sides of things. He or she surely has romantic feelings for us; the client will sign up; the New Yorker clamors for our literary efforts; and so our lists go on.

And we’re encouraged to promote an image of ourselves in this age of social media and 24-hour news cycles. We become our own PR machine. As a new member of Facebook, I marvel at the images people project of their lives.

‘Meditation, more meditation and then a massage. I’m so zen right now.’ Photos of a tropical beach accompanied the recent post of this pal. If such a level of spirituality had been attained do you really feel the need to share it with your 1237 cyber friends?

It seems, at first, desperate but it is simply projecting an image we want the world to see: so very human and very ‘now’. It’s probably the stark contrast with that British quality of modesty that grates: for us, low-level sexual harassment is deemed more socially acceptable than being a ‘show-off’.

This last week I’ve been trying to conclude chats with two clients who won’t offer me the harsh truth, or are simply inhabiting that proverbial fantasy world. One client is charming, personable, punctual, a pleasure to spend time with but incapable of telling me what she fears I don’t want to hear.

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They’re in the process of the classic ‘downsize’ – the family house in London now feels sparse with children fledged and more time allocated to the country, the Tuscan villa and Mexico during winter months. We’ve seen a flat in Knightsbridge that this client wants. Or so she says. I don’t know whether she really does or whether we’re simply jumping through hoops, as every time I’m told an offer will be forthcoming she disappears.

Another client has his place on the market with us. We’ve had an asking price offer and he won’t return my call. Have they changed their mind? Are they negotiating a private sale? I have no clue.

The truth, and our true selves, will always out so it’s better to offer the pill (good or bad) sooner rather than later. I want to leave this message on their voicemails as that’s the only communication I currently have with them, but instead ask them to call when they have a free moment.

Read more: Can vendors bear to hear the truth?

Read more from Sebastian Gibson

Read more from Wealth Wednesday

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