Have you ever had the feeling that someone was lying to you? Most of us don’t have a lie detector at our disposal, but there are a few simple ways that an informed and observant person can make an accurate guess as to whether or not the person to whom they are speaking is lying.
Often, instinct will alert you to the fact that you are not being told the truth. However, you would would feel more confident taking some action if you had confirming signs to verify your intuition.
It’s helpful to know the other’s normal speech patterns. That way the variations will be apparent, but nevertheless, there are telltale signals.
Here’s what to watch for:
* A liar may try to avoid making eye contact. Alternately, he may stare at you fiercely for much longer than usual, trying to compel you to believe his story.
* He may try to turn his head or body away from you.
* He may “freeze” and use little or no body movement. Alternately, he may become overly dramatic, yelling, stamping his foot and waving his arms. Again he is trying to force you to believe his lie.
* He may unconsciously try to place something between you, like a coffee cup, a pillow, or a newspaper.
* He may look upwards and to the right. This stimulates the part of the brain dealing with imagination. He’s thinking up an untruth.
* A liar will use your own words to answer a question. “Did you go to the bar after work?”
Answer: “No I did not go to the bar after work!”
* A statement using a contraction is more apt to be true. ” No, I didn’t go.”
* Watch for nervous gestures: scratching, rapid blinking, hair twisting, fidgeting or a rise in voice tone. These are signs of stress. Most people are uncomfortable when they deliberately lie.
* A normal smile involves all the facial muscles. A liar’s forced smile will involve only his mouth.
* A liar is not comfortable with pauses in the conversation. He may go on at great length, adding unnecessary details in an effort to convince you to swallow his story.
* If you suspect someone has lied, change the subject suddenly. A liar will be relieved to drop the topic and eagerly talk about something new. Someone who has been telling the truth will want to go back and finish the previous discussion.
* Another effective strategy is to make the liar very uncomfortable. If your teenager tells you she has spent the night with her girlfriend, mention that you are planning to visit the friend’s mom that day to return a recipe. Watch the reaction.
Usually, you can trust your intuition. Unless you are dealing with a psychopath or an habitual liar, your instinct plus a combination of several of these indicators means that you are being told a falsehood. Now comes the really difficult part: what are you going to do about it?