One skill you really have to develop if you’re not very good at anything is the ability to pretend you are good at things, or at least know what things are. There are bluffers’ guides now to all sorts of things, including meeting your in-laws for the first time (I am not making this up); in fact there’s even a bluffers’ guide to bluffing.
Which sort of underlines the fact that it is a skill, and one I at least have finally given up trying to master. It’s time to accept that I’m a very, very bad poker player.
The thing you never hear about bluffing is how massively it can add to your stress levels. Let’s suppose you do manage to get yourself mistaken for a wine expert, a top financial advisor or a desirable in-law: what’s the next step? Of course if this was a Hollywood film, the bluffer would turn out to be miraculously good at everything and it would all end happily.
But in real life, if you’re notverygood – and why else would you be bluffing? – you’re more likely to find you’ve blagged your way into a situation where blagging won’t help you.
So I’m pioneering an anti-bluffer’s approach. Something along the lines of ‘No, I don’t know a thing about [fill in blank]. Would you like to explain it me?’ Then you sit back and find out just how many people around you were bluffing all the time.
Results to be announced – meanwhile, I’d love to hear from anyone who’s already a practising anti-bluffer …