There's a guy I know who is the ultimate liar. I'm not kidding. His family knows it. His friends know it. Even people he works with know it. It's weird because he'll lie about everything from what he had for lunch to what he did on his summer vacation. It's like lying is a tick for him or something. I think the reason why no one is ever too hard on him about it—although I've heard him get called out on it before—is because his lies are perceived as being relatively harmless. He's not out here trying to hurt anybody; he just lives in an alternate reality.
I thought about him when I read a study that was published a while back on the topic of lying.
According to a University of Massachusetts psychologist by the name of Robert S. Feldman, most people who say they don't lie are, well, lying. His discoveries revealed that around 60 percent of people lie at least 2-3 times in every 10-minute plus conversation. That's kinda crazy.
Personally, I wonder if he's combining exaggerating with lying. Exaggerating is when you blow up details or stretch the truth, usually to make the truth "sound better" or more interesting. Lying is when you're out here deceiving, giving false impressions and being a totally dishonest person. I don't care for either, but if I had to choose, I'd take Column A over Column B. Lying is fraudulent. You can't really rely on anyone who's a liar.
But if Dr. Feldman is right, this means that all of us are out here we're being hoodwinked dozens of times a day. That sucks. The good news is there are some proven ways to tell if someone is lying to you. Ready?
They Take Long Pauses
Unless someone's memory is really bad, there's no need to pause to remember what the truth is. You know what this means—liars have a tendency to take time to create a story in their head before speaking it out loud. Usually, whenever this happens, they are either looking away (as to avoid eye contact), stuttering their words or using "filler words" in order to buy time until they figure something out.
Something else that someone who's lying might do is answer a question with a question in order to buy time. Like while you're asking your man who so-and-so is in his phone, he may flip it and ask you who so-and-so is who posted a particular comment on your Instagram. It's not so much that he cares, it's so while you're talking, he can be thinking of what to say next.
Truth? It doesn't require time to put together a presentation strategy. Lying? Unless you're dealing with someone pathological or a total sociopath, it needs time to come up with something at least halfway decent or believable.
Their Voice Switches Up
I've got a girlfriend, who, whenever she's up to no good that she doesn't want anyone to know about and she's questioned about it, her voice goes up at least an octave. That's what tends to happen whenever someone is anxious, nervous or scared. Not only that but sometimes people switch up their voice as a way to distract you during the conversation. If their voice is super different or even off-putting, they're hoping that you'll find yourself wondering just as much, if not more, about their voice as the (potential) lie itself.
They Hide a Part of Their Face
According to an article that featured former CIA officers, a telling sign that someone is lying is if they hide a part of their face; especially their eyes or their mouth. The logic is there is some level of shame (whether consciously or subconsciously) when someone isn't telling the truth, so it's a natural reaction to want to hide when they do it. Plus, there's the whole "our eyes are the window to the soul" thing.
Hmm…liars like to cover up their eyes. I wonder if celebs have ever been told that. Maybe a lot less of them would wear sunglasses during interviews if they knew that it sends a pretty shady message.
They Give More Details than Necessary
Thou doth protest too much. That's what I think about whenever I ask someone something and either they start rambling a mile a minute or they give all kinds of details that aren't really required. You know, like if you ask your boyfriend, "So, I called you last night. Where were you?" and he starts talking about the Arby's he went to (including the side of town), what he ordered, how long he was in line and all of the stuff he did once he got home. Then he gets into what happened to his phone and the charger, all the while talking so fast that you're wondering if he took a single breath in between it all.
Some people are natural storytellers (and not in the lying or even exaggerating kind of way); they live for TMI and are definitely not the exception to all of this. But if you're talking to someone who is usually straight and to the point, but, all of a sudden, they've got a billion-and-one words to share—or more importantly, if they repeat the details, things seem to switch up—while it's not 100 percent true that they are lying, if they are doing this along with some of these other points, I wouldn't sleep on it. Not at all.
They Get Defensive
I haven't had sex in over 12 years. That doesn't mean I haven't heard rumors about myself, though. A couple of years ago, I even heard that I was pregnant. Yeah, whatever. I know the truth and it's so true that I don't see the need to defend it or chase contrary rumors down.
Oh, but a few weeks ago, I ran into someone who constantly lies about her sex life (I know this because she never keeps her stories straight and almost always backtracks and admits she wasn't telling the truth…eventually). And she went on and on about how she hasn't had sex in years (although the time prior to last that I saw her, she told me that she had some rebound sex with a dude) and I simply and calmly said, "I don't believe you because that's not what you said last time", she literally started yelling in the parking lot. Not really at me, but…it was like she thought that if she spoke loudly enough, it would drown out the other stories she had told me—or somehow I would forget. Yeah, liars have a real habit of getting super defensive.
While I'm on this point, some folks think that cussers are angry or defensive individuals. But actually, word on the street is that folks who use four-letter words tend to be more honest and forthcoming than those who don't. Believe it or not, people who cuss tend to be more effective in their communication and typically have higher levels of integrity too. Damn, that's fascinating.
They Seem Fidget—A LOT
Moving around in their seat a lot. Playing around with their hands. Having jumpy legs and shifty eyes. Although you can't see any of this on the phone or online, if you're in the presence of someone who is lying to you, again, unless they are a complete sociopath (and those do exist), it is typically difficult for someone to lie and not feel uncomfortable while they're doing it. In fact, I once read that lying goes so against the grain of how our body flows that it even puts our organs into distress.
So yeah, if you're having a conversation with someone or you ask an individual a question and they seem antsy, there's a pretty good chance that they are lying to you. Because if they were telling the truth, unless they just killed someone or cheated on you (in those cases, fidgeting makes sense), what are the jitters and anxiety all about? My sentiments exactly.
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