6 Tips: How to Spot a Liar
|June 14, 2012||Posted by stella under How to, Life, Tips|
From little white lies to “politics-level scandals,” lying has been an absolute part of human history.
Although lying has a rich history, let it be on the record, that most of the time — humans tell the truth. And why? Because it’s far easier, creates no guilt and maintains trust. But sadly, every now and again, you get a nagging suspicion that the person infront of you is lying through his teeth.
Everyone wants to know how to spot liars… they want to know if they’re being lied to. But before we cover that, we need to take in two important factors.
The first one is: Do you really want to know?
The truth hurts. It really does. Some people willfully blind themselves to the truth and accept lies instead — solely because the truth is too painful.
On the other side of the coin, some people are so desperate to reject facts because the truth brings pain.
So before trying to discover a lie, be ready the accept any pain that the truth might bring.
The second thing is: Why would this person lie to you?
What’s at risk here? Maybe he’s afraid he might be punished, or he might not get what he wants (example, you might not let him borrow money if he tells the truth), or he’s afraid he might lose your trust.
In order to be accurate in spotting lies, you must know the person’s motive for lying. Usually, it’s the fact that you might punish him if you find out the truth.
Example: a child will lie to a parent to avoid being punished. He will do so because, the truth is: he did put his hands in the cookie jar. The parent, knowing better, is in a good position to catch a child’s motive for lying.
So now that we’ve covered two “pre lie-detecting” factors, we can now move on to catching lies. Here are six tips for spotting liars:
1. Know how he normally talks. The very fist step: a liar’s body language is very important. Try to know his normal, everyday talking habits. This is known as a “baseline” behavior – normal hand, eye and body movements during a normal conversation (without pressure or lying). This will allow you to detect fluctuations when the lie occurs.
2. Notice stress patterns. It’s easier to tell a liar if he has been put on the spot (stressed and pressured). This is because of the fact that telling a lie is a stressful event — mentally and physically. It seems humans are not built for distorting truths, and forcing that situation on the spot will have recognizable stress patterns.
3. Look for the signs. The following will cover a list of common “tells” for liars. Note: most of these also occur when someone is stressed by the conversation, but not exactly lying. So tread carefully.
- Little to no body movement. When people “freeze” and not really face the other person, there’s a good chance that they’re stressed out with lying. On the other hand, some people will fight this by being overly dramatic, and awkwardly moving the body more to try and “sell” the lie.
- No eye contact. Most information is channeled through eye contact. So most people have an extremely hard time looking directly into the eyes of the person they are lying to. Most would usually look to the right. Again, some will make eye contact more fiercely, to try and sell the lie.
- Stress gestures (scratching, rapid blinking, swallowing, itching, fidgeting, etc.). When discovered, a lie carries much greater risk of punishment than simply telling the truth, and people know this. This uncomfortable situation will pressure them, and they will act accordingly.
- Looking up to the right. Looking upwards to the right stimulates the part of the brain in charge with imagination (making things up). Whereas, looking to the left stimulates the “recalling” part of the brain (telling the truth).
- Scratching the nose and covering the mouth. Common habits from childhood, these subconscious gestures are attempts to “cover up” the lie.
- Rise in vocal pitch. Another product of stress, a lying voice will get higher and more squeaky.
- Wide-eyed, innocent look. Another product of childhood habits. The “who? me?” act done by kids when the cookie jar is empty.
- The frequent pause in talking. This is the “uhh” and “umm” conversation. Most people lack the ability to come up with a straight, reliable fiction in an instant. So they frequently pause to think something up, whereas actual events are usually easy to recall.
4. Lying by exclusion. Sometimes a lie will happen by excluding an important piece of information from a truthful statement. For example, the liar will say “he won $100 in the casino today,” but doesn’t mention the fact that he’s lost over a thousand dollars in the past few days.
Another example: After talking in a truthful manner, he falls silent and immediately looks away. He may even cover his mouth and fidget.
5. Interrogate. A risky maneuver, because a truthful person may be offended. Sometimes, however, a liar will come clean if given the chance. Because he realizes that continuing with a lie would take the matter far worse than it already is.
6. Trust your intuition. “Intuition,” okay? Not “desire.” Most people have good built in “lie detectors,” and if you trust it, it usually is right. However, some people may want to believe they are being lied to, because of clouded judgement. So before you start accusing anyone of lying, make sure it’s out of intuition, not desire.
With the above steps, you should have a good grasp at determining the difference between a lie and the truth now.
Everybody hates being lied to. It’s a disgusting feeling. Worse, it oftentimes irreparably harms someone — breaking trust. So keep your guard up and do your best not to be lied to.
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