How to Tell When Someone is Lying

In all areas of life, it is likely that you will run into an individual who is less than honest. There are so many ways for people to deceive, cheat, lie and steal, and if you’re not diligently paying attention, you might be swindled or betrayed by someone you’d considered as trustworthy.

This is not permission to go over the edge and be paranoid or adopting the extreme thought pattern that, “everyone’s out to get me,” only to be aware enough of your surroundings to be looking for clues that someone might be trying to put one over on you.

For a proficient or pathological liar, their ability to confidently state an all-out lie is unparalleled, so these tells may not be effective in getting to the truth from a cleverly deceptive liar. But other, “normal,” people will express some behaviors because they are not comfortable when lying.

Uncovering Deceit Expose the Liars

Being aware means getting to know someone well enough to establish their baseline behavior in a normal non-threatening conversation. If you don’t know how a person acts like when their engaged in conversation about something they interested in, when they would have no interest in being deceitful, you do not have enough information to notice a change in their behavior, which is your first clue that something might be awry.

Body language will likely change when someone is being deceptive. If in a normal conversation, he or she looks you in the eye and his or her body faces you straight on, and in the present conversation, they are not making eye contact, or their body is now at a 45 degree angle, that could be an indication that something’s up.

Someone’s facial expression, or eye movement which is different from their normal pattern of communication could also indicate someone is being less than honest and open, or intentionally hiding something.

Yes means yes, and no means no. If you’ve asked a simple yes or no question and the person you’ve asked answers with a long drawn out story, and can’t seem to settle on a yes or no conclusion, this is a clear indication of deceit or coverup. If you want the truth, you might want to ask this person, “Is that a yes, or a no?”

If you notice some inconsistencies in someone’s delivery, it could be connected to some other life experience which would trigger a signal which could be interpreted as a sign of someone’s deceit. If you really want to get down to what’s going on (and risk getting too personal) you might want to ask more questions and drill down to make a better determination whether this person is lying to you, or if he or she connected your question to a life experience in their past, which caused him or her to react differently.

When you’ve completed your conversation, gathered whatever information they’ve had to tell you, and you’ve confirmed that he or she has nothing more to say, then watch their reaction when you ask them if everything they’ve told you is true.
This is another simple yes or no answer. An honest person may admit to some inconsistency or add information that was purposefully left out at this point, which after allowing them to speak their piece would indicate the need to ask again if that was everything, and if they are telling the truth, leaving you waiting again for a simple yes or no answer.

A deceptive person will dance all around “Yes,” or, “No,” citing all kinds of irrelevant information and/or confusing details, and once you’ve received your simple yes or no answer, you might be brazen enough to follow up with the infamous, “Why should I believe you?”

Again, if their reply is over the top, emotionally charged, or they offer up a liturgy of character references, appalled that you might challenge them in such a manner, it could be an indication that they are being deceptive or withholding important information or details.

While brief and incomplete, hopefully these key signals indicating that someone’s not being honest and open with you will help you in determining if you’re dealing with a deceptive person, or an otherwise honest person who is not being completely forthcoming.

Good luck.

Don’t get paranoid, but be aware.

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In life, you may encounter people who are not as they represent themselves, and when they are stealthy in their approach to control or manipulate others, we refer to such a person as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Wolf in sheep’s clothing… That’s ba-a-a-a-ad.

Jesus coined the phrase about false prophets, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15), and Aesop tells a fable about a wolf who dons the pelt of a sheep who disguised as one of the fold walks freely among the herd and finds they are easy prey. That is until he is discovered by the shepherd and the wolf pays for his deception with his life, inferring that the wolf, no matter how clever he may be, will always be found out, sooner or later.

Modern-day wolves in sheep’s clothing blend in well with social circles, this is their primary skill. They have no qualms about lying, misrepresenting themselves and telling people in the circle what they want to hear in an effort to deceive and manipulate them for his or her profit, entertainment or pleasure.

If you’re anything like Aesop’s shepherd you will have a sense that something’s not right among the people in your social circle (the sheep) and you will do a security scan using your five senses (and maybe a sixth sense) to identify the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

While you are scanning your group of individuals, you may be able to discover the signs which might help you uncover your wolf in sheep’s clothing, for instance,

Something Doesn’t Sound Right

When they’re in their story-telling mode, they are very adept at concocting an authentic-sounding tale based on information they’ve garnered from other people or the Internet. Their story (or stories) sounds authentic enough, but there’s something that just doesn’t sound right about it.

If you’re around them for any period of time, it is likely that a wolf in sheep’s clothing will flub up and mix up the details, or utter contradictory information about their original story. Why? Because the original story was utter fiction, and they have other things to think about (the prey) besides tracking all the data which they spew to deceive others.

Not to worry, in the event that they get caught or confronted about an inconsistency, they’re usually quite adept at covering their tracks with a convincing fictional rationalization.

They Don’t Stand Still Too Long

Far from being sedentary, the wolf in sheep’s clothing will keep it moving at a steady and quick pace, so as not to be detected by relaxing or lollygagging. They’re on a mission, and they can’t be caught resting on their laurels.

They will find ways to develop bonds quickly with the right kinds of folks who will further their agenda or shore up their “trustworthiness.” They can be quite the silver-tongued persuaders, quickly finding their way into the hearts of those who are eager to see the best in someone or put their faith and trust in others.

Emotional Roller Coaster

The wolf in sheep’s clothing is likely to use your emotions to their fullest extent. At the outset, everything will be about you, making certain to keep your emotions ramped up and keep you in a state of exhilaration which releases bonding hormones which indenture you to the wolf.

The wolf will cozy up to you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically (which may include romantic implications). They will use any tools which are available to them to obtain their desired result.

Once they feel they have you firmly in their grasp, the attention will shift sharply from you to making it all about them, and you may fall victim to this ploy out of a sense of obligation. Be aware of this tactic.

Short Attention Span

The wolf in sheep’s clothing has an agenda, so veering too far off the road from where they want to go is intolerable, which may cause them to be anxious to reset the course mid-stream. Also, wolves are bored easily. They are constantly looking for ways to switch things up or try something new because the threat of boredom to a wolf is torture.

The wolf often juggles many tasks and items at once to keep his quick-paced lifestyle and may not follow through on much of anything to completion. Why? Because in most cases while a particular activity may be enjoyable or preventing him or her from being bored, they are not really enjoying it much, because it’s all a part of their act.

They move quickly from one thing to another to avoid being bored. (And don’t even think about them signing up to ensure a long check-out line, or stand for being held up in traffic.)

Their Mind Breaks Character

Even though their upfront game is tight, you can see their mind givethem away sometimes, if you’re attentive enough.It is not uncommon for the wolf’s mind to

It is not uncommon for the wolf’s mind to wander when others are intently focused. In a classroom environment, group meeting, intense roundtable discussion, boardroom meeting or brainstorming session, their thoughts will clearly take them somewhere else.

If you are attentive, you will witness the disconnect via eye movement, facial expression, and a shift of body position. It may not last for long, but the wolf has traveled deep within to plan his next move, taking a moment to review an entirely different manipulation, or to fantasize about a potentially beneficial outcome.

Deception by Withholding

“I didn’t lie to you.”

That’s what the deceiver says when being confronted by the truth coming out about something they knew would rather have kept secret. That’s why they did not disclose it in the first place. But the crafty deceiver holds fast to the idea that because they didn’t actually say anything that was untrue, so their superior intellect and “morals” are supported by the idea that they did not lie.

The question that comes up in counseling is, “Is withholding really lying, since they haven’t actually verbalized a lie?” Good question. While there are hundreds of possibilities, it largely depends on the participants and their belief systems. But regardless of what your belief is (even if you think it’s okay for you to do) when it happens to you, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so right.

From a trained Catholic point of view there are two types of sins; the sin of commission and the sin of omission. In terms of lying, actually telling a lie would be a sin of commission, while withholding would be a sin of omission, both sharing equal consequence. Regarding the sin of omission, Jesus’ brother says, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17) which incorporates so much more than the unspoken words, actually including the right thing(s) one should have done but didn’t do.

But in a relationship, is it really all that bad to purposefully not disclose certain information that really wouldn’t accomplish anything but hurt someone’s feelings? Someone who thinks this way might say,

“I’m not lying, and I don’t see the need to hurt someone’s feelings when I didn’t really do anything wrong.”

This is due to the gray area representing activities or indiscretions that could have been worse.

An example might go something, like this…

Let’s say your boyfriend says,

“My friend’s mom is sick and he has to go to meet with his attorney and go to night court and he wants me to be there with her, while he’s gone.”

This doesn’t seem unreasonable so your boyfriend heads out to his friends house. He has his cell phone with him, so you can stay in touch.

His last text at 8:40 pm says,

“I forgot my charger, battery’s dying. I will text you when I get home.”

In this day and age, that could happen. You might even remember a time when your phone died, like that.

A couple of weeks later, you run into a girlfriend who saw him at a concert that night, and you assume she must be confused, because you know where he was that night.

As it turns out, the truth was that he did go over to his friend’s house to sit with his mother while he took care of his legal issues, but what he neglected to tell you was that he went to the concert with friends.

Regardless of what else may have happened, you were not made aware of his other friend’s extra concert ticket, and he neglected to tell you that, because he thought you might get mad, if you’d have known. Since nothing bad happened (like copulation), there was really no harm in sparing your feelings needlessly.

He may justify or think, he was only looking out for your best interest in the omission.

Whether his concern was innocent, or not, the fact remains there was purposeful deception. In this scenario, the boyfriend indirectly lied as he omitted critical and important details, to deceive. With the intention of allowing you to believe all is well, and there was no opportunity for transgression.

Another example might be the urge to use a vague response to a question like, “What did you do last night?” A vague answer might be, “Oh, nothing, really.”

The key here is to remember that it’s just not sociopaths who use these slick methods of deception. People just like you and me do it also because we know that it’s wrong to lie, so we don’t want to do that. Because we have a conscious, it somehow feels better to tell some of the truth and to leave out the pertinent details that might otherwise cause needless confusion or conflict.

No one can really say if it’s right or wrong, but the truth is, if you feel sighted, hurt, betrayed, or indirectly lied to, then it’s definitely not a good thing. This is not a healthy state of mind to be in for very long.

We all deceive using different motives, such as making ourselves appear to have it more together than we actually do, to hide sensitive details or information (which may have negative consequences), and to hurt someone (maliciously, or in self-defense).

So what can you do when someone has hurt your feelings by withholding information?

Try to avoid labeling him or her as a liar. Allow him or her the opportunity to disclose the non-disclosed portion of the story on their own. Try to keep your emotions in check and instead try to think about why he or she would feel the need to withhold. Maybe some counseling might be in order, if they have unresolved issues, addictions, or trauma from the past.

Communicate where your boundary is on undisclosed information, make sure he or she understands, and hope this doesn’t happen in the future, while keeping in mind that you cannot change someone or expect them to change on command. The best you can do is to communicate your expectations and hope for the best. And if you find you cannot live with this type of behavior, then you must do what is right for you.

No one expects anyone to be 100% honestly disclosing everything 24/7, that would be unreasonable and abusive.

Please Lie to Me

Lies. We hear them all day long, every day of our lives and they make us feel good.

Even if the lies are horrific tales, they make us feel better about ourselves… because, after all, it could be worse. We could have been the unfortunate subjects of the tragic lie.

Our parents lie to us about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Disney – the hallmark of all fanciful lies – spins a yarn so incredible, we can help but believe any web they weave, and the liest don’t stop there… We’re just getting started.

Go to school, read a book, watch the news, do a Google search. We’re surrounded by so many lies you couldn’t possibly discern what is truth, even if it was staring you in the face.

Are we all living one big lie?

Ever look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Who is that?” or “Who am I?” and not have any clue as to what the real answer to questions, like that, might be?

please-lie-to-me-it-makes-me-happy

But when you tell me good things about myself – even if they’re not true – doesn’t it make me feel better? And the bigger and more fantastic the lie is about me, the far better it feels. In fact, many of the happiest moments of my life were when I was surrounded and bathed in the most dishonest lies ever told.

Tell me lies: It makes me feel fabulous!

Let’s face it, being lied to makes you happy too.

Why am I happy when I am lied to? Because it feels so good to believe that the best things in life are not only possible, but it makes you feel like you are one of the lucky ones. So lucky, it’s as if you’ve just plucked the winning lottery ticket out of thin air. How much better does it get?

When people lie to me, it makes me happy. Tell me that I am amazing, that I look like a million dollars, that I am handsome or pretty, talented, unique, funny and/or brilliant and I will love it!

Please lie to me, it makes me happy. Don’t we all want a little bit of happiness? Sure, it may not last forever (or very long, for that matter) but in that moment we feel like we’re on top of the world.

Want to make me incredibly blissful? It’s easy; just tell me, “I will do anything to make you happy.” Aargh! You got me! Bull’s-eye! Right to the heart! I am yours!

Lie to me. Tell me that you love me, and make me the happiest person on this planet.

Please lie to me.
When you lie to me it makes me feel like I can do anything.
Please lie to me.
I will believe we can live in a world where we are free.
Please lie to me.
I will believe in true love between two for eternity.
Please lie to me.
I will believe we have a divine destiny.
Please lie to me.
So I can be happy.
Please lie to me.

Be a good liar

This doesn’t mean that you should be massively deceitful, though a high skill level in lying can be hugely effective if wielded masterfully.

What it means is

If you are going to lie, please do so with the best of intentions.

Narcissistic lies are simply destructive. While they may accomplish the desired results in the interim, the long lasting effects can be negative and can lead to the inability to ever be trusted by others.

On the other hand, if you have to lie – at the very least – make sure to make someone happy. There is a better chance of having a more meaningful social impact by telling what are commonly referred to as “white lies,” without malice of intent.

Take a moment to think, before answering,

How does my butt look in these jeans?