Friday, January 07, 2011

How To Spot a Liar

Everybody lies. That's what Dr. House says - and it's true. Like most people, I tell a fib every now and then, especially if I know the truth might sting or bring about conflict. But there are people who lie more than every once in a while. They present a false front about small, mundane things, and even lie about significant issues. For chronic liars, lying is a habit.

Wanna know how to spot a liar? Experts reveal some tips below.

1. What is the style of a person's speech?
Experts say that a change in pitch, speech rate and breathing pattern - if either speeds up or slows down, can tip you off that someone's being untrue.

What is the person saying?
Liars are less likely to use the words "I," "me," and "mine." In their attempts to distance themselves from lies, liars tend to communicate using fewer personal words. Also, liars tend to avoid words like "but," "except," and "whereas," because they have trouble keeping track of complex thought processes.

How is the person's face?
Experts advise paying close attention to the
micro-expressions that a face can't hide. These little signals can help you detect if someone is being deceptive.

How is the person's smile?
An authentic smile generates from the mouth and also the eyes. When looking for liars, pay close attention to how a person smiles - the quality of it and quantity of it.

Does the body language follow the story?
Truth is, the most important way to detect a liar is to examine a person's entire verbal and non-verbal language. Honesty is characterized by features that are in sync with one another . So, note the fit among facial expressions, body posture, voice, and speech pattern.

Is the person behaving uncharacteristically?
Experts believe changes in a person's baseline behavior (the predictable way the usually behave) can signal deception. Anything out of the ordinary should crinkle your brow.

7. What is the conversational topic?
Gauge the intimacy level of the conversation. Is it small talk? Is it a deep emotional exchange?Liars tend to avoid eye contact when involved in simple, social conversation. Liars tend to intensify their eye gaze when being deceptive about "emotional" or "difficult" topics. Remember, most people look away, hesitate or even change their posture when a conversation is difficult.

Now that you've learned a bit on the subject of detecting liars, take the Reader's Digest quiz here. I bet you'll do great!


Xmichra said...

I can usually pick out a liar, and when lies are happening. Still though, there is one person (not in my life) that I could never tell. I think that is difficult to deal with, and have since cut the person out of my life.

Dr. Deb said...

I've limited my contact with people like that too.

yogurt said...

It's always such a disappointment to discover that the fascinating new person in your life with all the amazing life experiences ... is a chronic liar. And angering. Don't waste my time one-upping me with your impressive "stories."

I appreciate these tips. It's also extremely discouraging to suspect chronic lying in therapy patients. A waste of time, money and emotional energy.

~Just me again~ said...

Interesting post. I'm like you too, a lil fib not to hurt feelings.

Dr. Deb said...

I always say to myself, if it *feels* unbelievable, it probably is. And you're right, it is disappointing to discover deception.

Just me,
I think a fib here or there is not a bad thing. If it's overused bc a person is afraid of conflict or asserting themselves, then it can be an issue.

Wanda's Wings said...

Some excellent advise. I wish had know this when I meant my ex-husband. :)

Smart Talkers said...

That's interesting! An ex boyfriend of mine has lied all his life and thinks he's expert BUT he licks his lips and let's out a small laugh each time he's confronted! You can see why he's ex!!

Dreaming again said...

My youngest, because of all his learning disabilities, often feels like he's less than in a conversation. He's gotten into a BAD habit of trying to make himself known as understanding more than he does ... we've learned the most telling ...

"That's not true! I know THREE people like that"
"Well, there are 45 people at school who do this!"

My favorite?
"I have 78 friends whose parents do *not* make them do any chores!"

It's always 78 ... he's either taken a very careful pole (and obviously been lied to by his peers) or he's memorized the comeback!

We try to give him grace because we understand the source of his need to be seen as 'normal' ..but we also try to explain the reality without making him feel bad ... well, you may have 78 friends who say their parents don't make them do chores, but my guess is many of them are showboating ..and if they're not, they will pay the price later in life for not doing chores"

Angeliki said...

I'm so gullible. I believe anything anyone says to me. I have to put your tips into practice. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

As Mark Twain said, "Liars should have good memories."

Tery Lynne said...

The one thing is eye contact..many lie with there heads turned or they are looking around.

You always offer such wonderful information!

onelongjourney said...

Interesting subject, although I might add that some (like me) avoid eye contact for other reasons - likely related to abuse history. I'm not even aware that I am not looking at someone - it's when they look around behind them to see what I might be looking at. I also frequently look to the right of my therapist - we both recognize it and talk about it.

purple cupcakes said...

my ex husband has and will always be a chronic liar he uses his mild mannered diposition to try and fool a lot of people and for many years it worked whilst marraied to me.
Now we are seperated his lies are getting found out yet still he continues to lie even though evidence can be produced as proof he will still look people in the eye and lie.
For us living with a chronic liar made us tell the t4ruth even to brutality nowdays we tend to just not ansdwer if someone asks us a question and our truth mught hurt them. Its easier than always being seen as the honest but brutal villian.