We’ve all been there. Someone’s giving us a story that just seems a little too good to be true, or maybe they’re acting a little too defensive when we ask them a question. It’s always a bummer when we find out someone’s been lying to us, but it’s not the end of the world. Regardless, it would be helpful to have some ways of deciphering if someone is untruthful with us. You can save a lot of time and frustration by learning some of the clues to spotting a liar.
The key to catching a liar is to pay attention to the details. Inconsistencies in their story are a dead giveaway. If they’re lying, they’re gonna have a hard time keeping their story straight. So, if you hear something that doesn’t add up, don’t be afraid to call them out on it.
For example, let’s say you’re talking to your buddy about a recent fishing trip. He tells you he caught a big bass, but then later on, he mentions that he caught a trout. Well, those are two different types of fish, so you know something’s not adding up. In this scenario, you could say “Hey, wait a sec. You said you caught a bass earlier, but now you’re saying it was a trout. Which one is it?” The same goes for asking unanticipated questions.
If you were to ask an young-looking person at a bar their age, you’ll likely hear a confident “21.” However, if you ask them, “What’s your date of birth?” a liar will probably have to pause to do math.
This HIG report cites a study showing that standard airport security procedures catch less than 5% of lying passengers. In contrast, when screeners added unanticipated questions to their practices, that number shot up to 66%.
Body Language if Someone is Untruthful
Another big tip is to pay attention to their body language. Are they fidgeting? Sweating? Avoiding eye contact? These can all be signs that someone is uncomfortable with the truth and may be hiding something. For example, if you’re talking to a co-worker and they’re squirming in their chair and avoiding eye contact when you ask them about a project deadline, that’s a red flag.
Another thing to watch out for is when someone is too defensive. If they’re getting aggressive or deflecting questions, it’s a good indication that they’re hiding something. For example, if you ask your friend about his recent job interview and he responds “Why are you asking? You don’t trust me?” that’s a sign that he’s trying to deflect the conversation.
And finally, if someone is avoiding answering a question or changing the subject, it’s probably because they don’t want to talk about it. For example, if you ask your girlfriend about her recent shopping trip and she keeps changing the subject, it’s probably because she went over budget and doesn’t want to admit it. Either that, or she was out with another guy – with is a whole different story.
All in all, the key is to trust your gut and pay attention to the details. If something seems off, chances are someone is untruthful. Stay vigilant out there, fellas.
-Your Big Bro