At some point in your life, you will feel like you are being lied to. It might be your parents, your children, your friends, or your spouse doing the lying. And although you cannot put your finger quite on what makes you suspicious, you know that something is off kilter. This is called intuition and everybody has it. For some people their intuition about whether they are being lied to or not is stronger than it is for others. And for many people this intuition is blinded by jealousness, insecurity, and even distrust – that corrodes the natural ability to see lies. This is why it is very important for people to learn how to tell if someone is lying.
There are some pretty indicative clues you can use to tell if someone is lying. For one thing, body language seems to say a lot more than just our words do. Some of the most common aspects of body language that seem to be able to accurately predict lying are as follows. For one thing, it is a natural instinct to NOT make eye contact with someone when you aren’t telling the truth. Of course, many people avoid eye contact because they are timid as well. But if you ask someone who is comfortable with you a direct question and they immediately look away, you can suspect some dishonesty.
Private detectives and professional interrogators also look for people to constantly touch the face, throat, and mouth. As a while, when people lie, they don’t make a lot of arm movements, but when they do, it will likely be towards one of these three regions. Additionally, it is common to touch or scratch the nose. One way to double check, this response in people is to ask a question once and then do it again at another time. If the reaction is the same, you might have a little white lie on your hands.
If you want to tell if someone is lying, and this person is close to you – try watching him or her when they tell little white lies to other people. What you will notice is that they have a pattern of behavior they participate in when they lie that will remain consistent regardless of who they are telling the lie to.
Timing is also critical in the liar. You will notice that when people lie they stutter or seem to be caught off guard by something. They may slow down or speed up how fast they talk, and their gestures may seem erratic. Look for timing mechanisms to be off such as a smile that doesn’t accompany a verbal reaction or vice versa. For instance, if you ask your husband if he likes the new meal, you cooked; an honest response would be a pleased facial expression ALONG with words that correspond. But if he says, “It’s great!” and then smiles afterwards rather than during, you can bet he will be ordering take out as soon as you go to bed. In other words, look for responses that seem fake.
You can also tell if someone is lying by gauging his or her reaction. Obviously, if you are in a heated conversation or are blaming someone for something, that they didn’t do – they will immediately get defensive. But when simple statements or questions seem to make people stray off into a rather uncalled for defensive tangent, you should suspect dishonesty. If this immediate defensiveness is met with an immediate look or head turn away from the person they are talking to, this is an outward expression of dishonesty. Many people that are lying, will unconsciously place objects between you and them. This is a trick that police investigators often use. They place objects on the table and watch as the ‘suspect’ moves the objects. If they notice the person continuously placing an object between themselves and the investigator, at the mention of the same question – they know to continue their investigation in that area. The object could be something as simple as a lighter, coffee cup or book – to as complex as a door.
By nature, most people know that lying is wrong. In other words, it makes them uncomfortable and causes a pretty noticeable physical reaction. This is exactly why lie detector tests work, because they are monitoring the internal, subconscious responses to lying. So similarly, when you are trying to tell if someone is lying, you may notice that they make a concerted effort NOT TO. They may avoid the question or answer it with a question of their own. They also will commonly turn the question around or hide their own guilty feelings by displacing them on the person they are talking to. In very detailed studies of lying, people often leave out pronouns completely or change the context with which they say them. Most often, people that are lying have a completely different way of talking that can be quite obvious to someone who knows them well. For this reason, pathologists trained to detect lies in people will often video tape a person talking in their normal tone of, during a normal conversation so they can compare them to how to how they speak when they are being questioned.
So…are you getting the facts or a bunch of fiction? While it can be good to arm yourself with the knowledge of how to detect when someone is lying, you also cannot live your life expecting everyone to be dishonest. The truth remains that while all or some of these characteristics may be present when someone is not telling the truth, there may be other things going on as well. So reading too much into it and becoming a personal deputy of the truth – may end up causing you more pain in the end. Also, while it is maddening to be lied to….is the truth something that you can handle more easily? Sometimes people like to save your feelings rather than to cover up some deep dark misdeed. And each and every one of us has certain things in life that we don’t want to admit to ourselves let alone others. The balance comes when you decide what truth matters to you, and when you decide whom you can trust. More often than not, people know when they are being lied to, whether they outwardly recognize it or not. Go with your intuition and realize that once someone lies to you about something once, it is doubtful they will ever backtrack and admit to the truth.