I’m not innocent—at times I lie.
I will never deny it and I’m sure there’s barely a person on this planet who doesn’t lie either.
However, it’s no fun telling lies or being on the receiving end. In an ideal world we would all tell the truth about absolutely everything at all times—but then, would this really be ideal?
Often we do not want to hear the truth.
The truth can be difficult to handle at times and it can also be very painful.
I have been lied to on numerous occasions and no matter what the person was saying or how they were acting, I still knew deep down that something wasn’t right.
I have always trusted my instinct, however. Often I would be told that I was wrong with my suspicions and that, with no proof, I would have to accept that what someone was saying was the truth.
And all too often I tried, but somewhere inside I still knew that things didn’t ring true.
So, after much research and plenty of soul searching, I discovered some pieces of information and coupled with my intuition I decided that I would at all times trust my own instincts. If something didn’t feel right, it was probably because it wasn’t.
I no longer need to ask the other person if I am being led into a delicate web spun with the most intricate lies. I now find that I just know with no more questions needing to be asked.
And if someone wants to continue telling fibs, that’s up to them. I will no longer debate what I’m told. I will no longer feel upset, frustrated, angry or any other soul-sucking emotion. I will not argue, fret or worry. I will hear the other person out and not get into any kind of argument or suspicious questioning if I’m unsure.
I listen carefully, pay attention to the details and then allow them to settle.
I can often see very clearly the truth from a lie and it’s been proved time and time again that I’m not often wrong.
Of course, I can never be 100 percent sure. I will never know exactly what is going on in the mind of another, their reasons for lying or what fraction of the truth is being presented. What I do know is that are many ways to spot the most obvious signs without having to look too deeply.
The words that are spoken only make up a small percentage of communication. The rest is made up of body language, eye contact, speed of the words, the tone, the pitch and the volume of the voice.
I never just trust the words I’m being told—instead I let my eyes alert me to the truth.
Here are some of the most obvious signs that I’ve found come into play when all is not as it seems:
Cheeks. The first sign for me is when a little colour flushes to the fleshy part of the cheeks. Some of the reasons for blood running to the cheeks can be due to anxiety, distress and mostly embarrassment.
Voice. Usually the tone will be a slightly higher or lower pitch than how they normally speak. Also, the speed of the words may differ from usual with either rushing or slowing down words, which can signal a lie. They also may speak a lot more than normal, or barely speak at all.
Licking the lips. Telling a lie can put stress on the body. It causes the mouth to dry up, which can result in the person needing to wet the mouth by licking the lips or moving their tongue around their mouth. The mouth may also appear tense and they may clear the throat regularly as saliva is being pumped from the mouth. Also, the breathing may increase, as the lungs require more air due to the heart pumping more rapidly and the body being put under intense pressure.
Body language. Someone lying may move their hands towards their face to cover their mouth slightly when talking. They may also shrug their shoulders as though the body is not agreeing with the words that are being spoken. Basically, the body will be disagreeing with what is being said. If the head shakes or nods in opposition to the words being spoken, that can be another sign that the body and mind are in disagreement.
If a person is folding their arms across the body, making fists or clasping the hands together, these can be signs of wanting to protect something.
They may also cover their body with something such as a cushion, a cup, a book or piece of clothing as this is another form of seeking protection. A person who is lying might also turn their head or even their body in an opposite direction, rather than stand face to face.
Excessive fidgeting is another sign that a lie is being told as when the body is under stress it expels nervous energy, which is expressed through constant movement. They may rub their fingers together, play with their hair, touch their face or anything else that is in reaching distance, far more than they normally would.
Sweating. Again, when the body is under any kind of stress, often it responds with perspiration.
Eye contact. Either prolonged eye contact can take place in order to be convincing or no eye contact at all so that they avoid being caught out with obvious eye movements. While these can both be strong signals, too much attention should not be paid to this, as it will depend on the person’s normal eye activity. Some people dislike eye contact in any situation, so eye contact is only a valid form of detection if it is very different to normal.
When a person is lying they often find the need to over-exaggerate details to make it sound believable. They may give out far more information than is necessary as a way of trying to prove that what they are saying is true.
They may also respond immediately to a question before they’ve even had time to think about what’s been said as all too often a liar has already rehearsed a given response.
If they repeat the question that’s being asked out loud and add a yes or a no at the beginning or end, this can also be a signal of lying. For example ‘did you go to the cinema’ can be replied as ‘did I go to the cinema, no.’ Again this needs to be compared with how they would normally speak before assuming that it’s an unusual sign.
Someone who is lying may also very quickly try to change the conversation surrounding the lie, or not wish to discuss it further if the subject is not brought up again. Asking someone to repeat the story might also bring in more clues, as someone who is lying often doesn’t remember exactly what they have said, therefore, they may tell things quite differently the second or third time around, adding conflicting information.
Although it is possible to detect when someone is being dishonest, it is also possible to mistake dishonesty if the person is already experiencing levels of distress, embarrassment or if they feel under pressure.
Focusing on just one clue when we think a lie is being told is pointless. It is better to look at the behaviour as a whole rather than honing in on one or two details.
It is always a good idea to consider the motives for suspecting that a lie is being told. Do we already mistrust this person? Have they lied continuously in the past? Has something happened out of the ordinary that we think doesn’t make sense, however, it is perfectly possible that it has happened? Are we feeling insecure in ourselves and so we turn that outwards onto the other person? Are we feeling prejudice to the other person for whatever reason?
The issue may not be with the person at all, but with our own misplaced judgements, so it is always beneficial to question ourselves before we doubt another.
Often lies are being told in order to avoid causing some form of pain or irritation to the other person. Sadly, though, it is often the lie itself that causes far more pain that the initial subject matter would.
Depending on our perceived reaction to what happens if we tell the truth, it can determine whether we are honest or whether we choose to cover something up.
If we think the truth will be taken badly, it can make the possibility of telling a lie increase dramatically, in the hope that the lie will be believed and everything will quickly return to normal, Unfortunately, if a lie is not accepted, it can lead to broken trust, resentment and a loss of respect towards the other party.
Lies can often become a habit and they can be told without having time to think about what’s being said so it can then be difficult to turn things back around to the truth.
Therefore, it is essential to think twice before we speak.
The truth hurts? Hell yes, it all too often does.
But the truth is that a lie can hurt far worse.
When Your lover Is a Liar by Dr. Susan Forward
How to Spot Lies Like the FBI by Mark Bouton
Author: Alex Sandra Myles
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: ev0luti0nary at Flickr