Six Ways to Catch a Liar
It is incredibly hurtful to feel as though someone you care about is being dishonest with you. If you place your trust in a person and they lie, it can become very difficult to rebuild that closeness.
In a professional setting, dealing with dishonesty can leave you feeling vulnerable and frustrated and affect your ability to do your job well.
One way to address the issue is learning how to tell when someone is lying to you. It’s not always easy, but learning a few tricks will help you to find out when you are dealing with a liar.
Here are six ways to know if someone is lying; use them wisely.
Lying with your mouth is one thing, but lying with your body is much harder. There are a few clear signs that suggest a person is lying. Look out for generally “shifty” behaviour, such as foot shuffling and nail biting. Another “tell” is when they subtly cover or shield vulnerable parts of their body, such as the eyes or throat.
If a person looks like they are trying to protect themselves or is generally uncomfortable or nervous, it could indicate dishonesty.
There are a few giveaway facial tics and expressions that will let you know someone is not being completely honest. The first is their eyes: it is widely believed that liars blink a lot and avoid eye contact. This can be true, and if you notice this behaviour it is a clear sign of dishonesty. However, some people go the opposite route: they stare at you intently without blinking, often in an attempt at intimidation or proving their honesty. If someone’s eyes are doing strange things, one way or the other, it’s worth taking what they say with a pinch of salt.
You should also look out for “micro-expressions”. A person telling a lie is effectively playing a part, and sometimes the mask will slip. If you notice fleeting signs of discomfort or anger on their face, be cautious.
There are a few gestures that are more common among people who are not telling the truth. “Grooming” gestures that involve touching the hair or face are signs of discomfort and deception. You should also look out for pointing and extensive hand gestures, as this can indicate they are playing a role. This is particularly true when they are displaying the next sign of dishonesty…
Two of the most popular tricks in the Liar’s Handbook are projection and deflection. For example, if a person is cheating on their partner then they may accuse them of infidelity when confronted. Becoming aggressive and spreading accusations around is often an attempt to intimidate the person asking questions and (hopefully) end or derail the conversation. Watch out for raised voices, allegations, and manipulation (“don’t you trust me?”) when you confront a person about wrongdoing. If a mild conversation rapidly escalates into an argument or a list of accusations, the chances are that the person you are talking to is hiding something.
Too Much Information
If someone is telling you a very detailed story that seems to go on and on, be wary. People who are lying (or at the very least hiding something) tend to come up with very intricate and specific narratives when doing so. Do you remember every detail of what you did yesterday, down to what you had for lunch and the precise time you got home from work? Probably not. So if a person tells you that they had a salad at exactly 1214 pm and follows up with a blow-by-blow account of their drive back to the office, be on your guard.
It’s possible they memorised this story. It’s also possible that they are trying to dissuade you from asking questions by inserting as much banal information as they can.
If this happens, throw them off by asking a question they may not have expected: what their meeting was about, perhaps, or if they went to the gym like they planned to. If they struggle to answer, it could be because they haven’t come up with that part of the story.
There are a few things that can trip a liar up when they are talking. Unsurprisingly, people who are being dishonest often pause in response to a question or statement while they work out what they are going to say. You may also notice them swallowing or struggling to speak: this is because salivary glands tend to slow down under pressure, giving the person in question a dry mouth.
It’s also worth watching out for heavy breathing or a lot of sighing, as the liar’s blood pressure rises in response to stress and the fact that their pants are on fire.
Courtesy: Uncover Discover