Everyone detests being lied to. Especially when it is obvious. But what about people who lie so convincingly that it’s impossible to know. How to tell when someone is lying to you? Firstly let’s look at all the reasons someone might be lying… and that includes you.
It’s true, it’s a rare human being who doesn’t lie. According to Yudhijit Battacharjee, writing in National Geographic (June 2017), most people lie adeptly. We are born to it and it is part of our development from baby to infant to child to teen to adult. All along the way we refine our lying skills.
Reasons for Lying
- To cover up a mistake
- To avoid interacting with someone
- Financial advantage
- Personal advantage
- To present a positive image
- To make someone laugh
- To help someone
- To maintain social rules
- Maliciously to hurt someone
- Pathological, compulsively
The group which tells the most lies are teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. Percentage-wise they are most likely to tell five or more lies every day.
Love Rat Liars
You’re in love but you have suspicions. There are many reasons why a man will lie… and of course, women can lie just as easily as men. Here are some reasons you may catch them out in a lie.
1. They lie to impress. This is common. Everyone wants to present a positive impression to their date. They want you to think the best of them. That they are ‘clean’, with no nasty skeletons in their closet.
2. They portray themselves as the victim in past relationships. How many people have you ever heard say, “It was my fault we broke up. I cheated on her.” Not many. That’s the last thing they want you to know. Instead, most of us hint that our ex was a bad person, that we were duped by them, or badly treated, or misunderstood and driven into the arms of another.
3. They have something to hide. Perhaps they aren't proud of their past, or maybe they are in an existing relationship relationship. Whatever it is, they want to keep it hidden at all costs.
4. To hide their true feelings. Someone who is determined not to let you into their head (and heart) will lie through their teeth to stop you getting too close.
5. To get something they want. Usually sex, sometimes money.
6. To control and manipulate. These people seem to lie for lying’s sake and you haven’t a clue where you stand with them. These people are usually sociopaths or narcissists.
7. To protect their privacy. Somewhat connected to #5 above, many people are fiercely protective of their privacy. A person like this is unlikely to settle into an intimate relationship. It’s possible for them to make a relationship work if they find a partner who feels the same way.
8. To avoid conflict and confrontation. People will say anything to avoid a confrontation with their partner. Whether you lie about the price of your latest pair of shoes or if you had three beers instead of two, avoiding conflict is the most common reason people lie in relationships.
How To Tell When Someone is Lying to You
We don’t want to catch our partners lying; we’d prefer that all is lovely in the rose garden. However, if you’ve caught them out once, your antenna is raised and you can’t help looking for other instances of deception.
Non-verbal Clues to Lying
Much has been said regarding tell-tale physical signs of lying. Someone might shift their eyes to the right each time they lie. Fidgeting can be a sign of lying, especially in children. Blinking rapidly might mean that someone is frantically thinking how to best present the lie to you. Long pauses can also indicate that they are using the time to perfect their responses. If you need an example of this, just listen to a few politicians. Another non-verbal clue is that they become very still. Whereas, the person might be quite animated normally, when they are lying, they sit very still, reduce the number of hand gestures and look you straight in the eye.
When your date insists on knowing more about you than you do about them. At the end of the date, assess what he or she actually told you. If you feel they held back, or were reluctant to disclose their background, then it’s likely that what little they did tell you was untruthful.
Accidental Discovery of Lying
The most common way that people find out their partners are lying. They become complacent and lazy, so tell a different story, or let slip something they shouldn’t know, or underestimate your own knowledge of the facts.
Smartening Themselves Up
Cheating partners will often begin making an effort with their appearance. Buying new clothes, changing their hairstyle etc.
Monitoring or Surveillance
An effective method, but has no place in a loving relationship. If you feel you have to go to these lengths to catch out your partner, then your relationship is probably over. One exception to this is if it is to protect your partner. For instance if they are lying about an alcohol or drug addiction.
Lay a Trail of Breadcrumbs
Some people will go to great lengths to catch a lie. Often by concocting elaborate schemes. It’s important to realize that doing this is, in itself, a lie.
Keep a Record
You’d have to be pretty determined and quite cold-hearted to do this, but you can keep records of their responses and actions. Make notes of everything. Examine every bill, receipt and phone record.
Tracking Social Media Activity
It’s surprising how many people lie on social media. It’s also surprising how many slip up by telling the truth and thus revealing their lies.
Pay Attention to Half-Truths
To avoid outright lying, many people tell a half-truth. They feel if they can weave their lie in with a truth, then they are not really lying at all.
They Ask for Money
There will be a perfectly plausible reason that they need money. You won’t doubt them for a second. They tell you they are in dire straits, but it’s temporary. So convincing are they, you feel completely confident that they will pay you back. Beware. It’s a common scam and many have lost thousands of dollars, even their entire life-savings and their homes.
Increase the Cognitive Burden
Let’s say your spouse has just given you an in-depth reason why they are late, but you suspect the may be lying. Just ask them to tell you the story again by telling it backwards. You have to be quite clever about this, but you can say, “So before you left, you…?” While they may have perfected their story on the way home, they will have difficulty relaying it out of order. The brain isn’t geared up to telling stories in reverse. However, if the account is true, they will be able to answer with no difficulty.
Trust Your Intuition
Human beings are quite attuned to detecting lies and our best instrument for this is our own intuition. Listen to your gut feelings, they are probably on the money.
Images via Pixabay