The Art of Estimation a.k.a. Creative Fabrication

I have decided that I am now in my “mid-thirties.” That IS how old I am these days. Please note that there is no longer a number attached as I’ve recently decided to boycott the practice of citing exact numbers for things… this includes, but is not limited to: height, weight, age, salary, money spent on a particular item, Oreos eaten in a single sitting and the number of alcoholic beverages consumed on any given weekend.

Estimations and approximations are much more mysterious anyway—thus more interesting. Not to mention they are much easier to remember which is a VERY good thing since aging seems to adversely affect our ability to accurately recall information.

Estimating and approximating are also handy little skills when it comes to interpersonal communications that involve delivering the kind of information that is not necessarily true, but that we know someone WANTS to hear. An example of this would be:

–      RANDOM PERSON I JUST MET:  How old are you?

–      ME: Mid-thirties

–      RANDOM PERSON I JUST MET: How old do you think I am?

(See I think this person is at least 55, but I know that they would much rather be thought of as 10 years younger than they actually ARE, so the Art of Estimation comes into play)

–      ME: Oh… I would guess you to be in your mid-forties.

–      SHOCKED AND FLATTERED RANDOM PERSON I JUST MET: Really!?!? WOW! Thank you! I’m actually 57.

And I’ve just made this person’s day. All because I practiced the Art of Estimation and Approximation. The artistic part is knowing how much one can actually get away with. If you pad the numbers too much, your efforts will be seen as transparent. No more than an attempt at false flattery… and Random Person will dislike you for it. This principle is also extremely effective on people you feel intimidated by or people who feel intimidated by you.

A word of caution: Utilizing this form of communication on family members, loved ones or co-workers (in other words, those who know you best) can be extremely dangerous if demonstrated carelessly. As with anything worth doing, it is worth doing WELL. Goodestimating a.k.a creative fabrication or the effective glossing-over of details takes practice. But don’t be shy! Get out there, stand up straight, flash your most genuine smile and try it out on a few unsuspecting strangers first while you hone your craft.


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