At one time or another, we have all encountered a liar. We have all wondered if we are being lied to, and we have all lied. We have all been here. If you say you have not, it is likely you are…
It is easy to dismiss those we feel are dishonest when we are unattached. But what about when we are emotionally attached to the dishonest person? Those we already have deep meaningful relationships with? What if, after we have invested our emotions and time with someone, we are only to later learn that they are dishonest. What do we do then? Often this leads to the destruction of relationships, causing us to question the other person's motives and trustworthiness. Leaving us with the fact the person cannot be trusted on their word, feelings of vulnerability, and betrayal can overcome us. It is natural to begin questioning past suspicions and inconsistent stories.
Wouldn’t it be great to know how someone is not being truthful with you?
There are times we are in conversation with someone, and we have the realization they are lying. It may be irrelevant and not affect us, so we blow it off and move on with our lives. However, if we are emotionally involved with it, it can be emotionally challenging. We may start questioning our judgment, and doubt ourselves, perhaps internalizing the situation so we don't have to confront our loved one.
“Maybe I misunderstood?”
“Perhaps that is not how they meant it.”
“What do you think?” We may ask a friend, trying to get confirmation on what we deep down already know is true.
The thing is, it is easier to turn the proverbial blind eye to what is happening, than to confront the liar and face the risk of disrupting a relationship, perhaps a marriage. Each individual has their own threshold of what they can and will tolerate.
If you are tired of second-guessing, and want to try and figure out if they are being untruthful, read on.
There are always tattletale signs when someone is lying. We will go over some of the common signs of lying, and some not so common markers that may help you spy a lie.
Learning How to Lie
As humans, we begin to lie as toddlers. This is natural, and often overlooked. These lies are typically innocent and self-serving. Example a child of a young age may lie and deny they are tired to avoid a nap; very simple. It is also said that children learn that lying can help them avoid punishment, whereas the truth may cause them great distress. As we grow, we begin to learn right from wrong and are taught that lying is not acceptable behavior.
As adults, we know right from wrong, and know that there will be consequences if we get caught in a lie; we do it anyway. The degree of the lie commands the consequence.
An unseasoned liar is what I will use when referring to someone who does not often lie.
Typically their cues are easier to pick up on, because they are not accustomed to frequently being dishonest. Inability to maintain eye contact, shifting in their seat or on their feet.
Standing behind a table or perhaps a kitchen countertop. Keeping an object between them and you. Subconsciously hiding behind these objects; or something similar.
Speech may be stammering, stuttering. Repeating themselves, nervousness getting the best of them.
Overly-describing the event, mentioning unimportant details. Maybe referencing another person who had joined them, putting attention on them; adverting your attention. Or maybe trying to give their story credibility, situations can vary.
Lying is stressful for the liar, possibly causing sweat to form on their forehead. If they have a nervous gesture, it may come into play. They will begin to speak faster—trying to get the lie over with.
They may become friendlier, attempting to become more likable. If you signal that you are at ease, this will confirm to them that you are believing what they are telling you. Incidentally, putting them at ease.
A bit too salty, the seasoned liar is one who is accustomed to lying. They may even be aware of many does and don’ts. Let’s face it, tattletale books about detecting liars have been out for years, decades.
A seasoned liar typically holds themselves better than an unseasoned liar. Making it a little more tricky to detect.
Pay attention to their body language.
We have all heard about those who stand with their arms folded across their chest; being standoffish. It is also a way to protect oneself. It shows that their defense is up along with a hostile attitude, it may indicate that they are on guard, closed off.
Another indicator that has been talked about for a long time is that when someone is thinking of a lie, they tend to look towards the left.
Other clues that someone may not be being forthright is they are placing their hands on their face. More directly, around their mouth. As if they are trying to cover up the fact their mouth is moving, or disguising the lie with their hands or fumbling fingers.
All of that is well and good, what most people these days want to know is how can I tell if someone is lying? How can I tell if they are really good at it? It is true, those who study liars are actually being studied themselves by those who want to get away with lying. Meaning, they test your boundaries, and degree of naivety, letting them know how hard it is to get away with lying to you.
“I can remember not to look left. Maybe stick my hands in my pocket. Not so hard, is it?”
So, what about those who have had plenty of time to tune in their skills, and they might be a little harder to read.
First off, excluding paranoia, we are given the gift of discernment. When your stomach starts cueing you, and you begin to wonder “if” they are telling you the truth there is your first clue. There is something that had been said or done that raised your suspicions. The first thing is believing your own intuition. Odds are if you care enough that you are reading this, you are emotionally invested in someone, you know that person.
When confronting someone, watch for the fleeting moment that their eyebrow shoots up, the muscle underneath their lower lip stiffens. They may repeat what you ask, stalling for time. Answering your question with another question, redirecting the conversation away from them. Also, they may explode, yelling and screaming, using intimidation to get you to back off and forget about your suspicions by putting you in a defensive mode.
Defense mode, “I am not answering any of these questions, I am a grown-ass person. What's wrong with you?.”
Turning the tables, “What about you? Where were you?”
Gaslighting. “I didn’t say that, you're crazy. It’s your imagination again! You are paranoid and thinking about your ex, remember what he/she did?”
There are times when we question someone's actions or suspect ill intentions. That is human nature. If you find that it is something that is prevalent in your relationship, you need to give some thought to how healthy this is for you.