Everybody lies. If someone tells you they never lie, guess what? They’re lying. Some studies say that the average person lies anywhere from 3 to 5 times per day. There was even a study put out by the Science Museum of London that says we’re lied to by others anywhere from 10 to 200 times per day. Even worse, most people aren’t very good at telling when someone is lying to them.
These higher estimates include little white lies, which we sometimes tell to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. How would you answer a question like, “Honey, do I look fat in these pants?” You may also tell someone you enjoyed the meal they cooked, even when you didn’t really like it. These aren’t the kind of lies we need to be concerned with.
Many individuals, including salesmen, con men, people we are negotiating with, coworkers, friends, and family members may lie to us about issues that have a significant impact on our lives. We need to be able to tell when someone is lying to us to avoid being taken advantage of.
Use these tips to spot a liar:
- Look for long pauses. If you ask someone a simple question and they have to take a long time to think about their answer, it’s a good sign that they’re being dishonest.
- A person’s eyes can tell you a lot. Many believe that if someone won’t look you directly in the eye, it’s because they’re lying. Even though this may be true, those who lie on a regular basis will overcompensate and actually make more eye contact with you.
- Look for dilated pupils. When someone is not being truthful, their pupils will dilate. Even a skilled liar won’t be able to control it. That’s why so many professional poker players wear sunglasses. They’re trying to prevent their opponents from watching their eyes.
- Watch a person’s hands. If someone is being truthful, their arms and hands will be open. However, when someone is lying, they’ll be more guarded.
- Hands may be held close to the body or arms may be crossed when someone is being untruthful.
- When someone is being truthful they may tend to talk with their hands. But, if their hands suddenly stop moving, this is a sign that they may be lying.
- Beware of complicated answers. There was a TV show in which one of the characters said, “The key to a good lie is in the odd, specific details.” However, the opposite is true. Sharing too many details is a sign of deceit!
- When you ask someone a question and they provide way more information than you asked for, they may attempting to convince you that they’re telling the truth when they’re not.
- Watch out for verbal kung fu. A martial artist will block, parry, and redirect an attack. A liar will do the same with a question they don’t want to answer.
- One example is someone answering a question with a question. This may be a stall tactic used to buy time as they try to come up with a good lie.
- Another example of verbal kung fu is someone trying to turn the tables by verbally attacking you. They do this so that they’re no longer being pressured to answer your questions.
- Just listen. This is a great technique for figuring out if someone is lying. Simply ask someone a question and then remain silent after they answer.
- If someone is being truthful, they won’t seem so uncomfortable by a moment of silence.
- The opposite is true if someone is lying. The silence will be very uncomfortable for them. They may start adding to their story and providing additional information in an attempt to regain your trust.
These tips will help sharpen your ability to spot a liar. However, it’s important to avoid jumping to conclusions. Seeing one of these clues doesn’t mean that someone is definitely lying. But, they can be red flags.
When you see a number of red flags in the course of a conversation, you can be fairly certain you have revealed a liar. If you embrace this advice, you can become a human die detector.