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8 Proven Indicators Someone is Lying To You

8 Proven Indicators Someone is Lying To You

There’s a good chance that anyone reading this has told a lie at least once in their life. Whether it was a little white fib or a convoluted, George Costanza-esque whopper of a tale, stretching the truth is something the majority of us do from time to time.

But would you tell so many lies if you knew how easy it is for others to tell you’re lying? Believe it or not, your body gives off a number of telltale signs when you’re lying- most commonly without you even realizing it.

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If the person you’re talking to exhibits any of the following, you might want to take their words with a grain of salt:

1. They quickly change their head position

When a person is asked a question and they’re preparing to lie when they respond, they’ll often move their head in an unnatural and uncomfortable manner. Whether they retract or jerk their head back, or bow it down, it will often be a sudden movement that contrasts with their previous body language. In doing so, they may be trying to avoid eye contact, and also reacting nervously to a question they don’t have a good answer to.

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2. They change their breathing pattern

When a person is lying, they become hyper-aware of the situation which forces their heart rate and blood flow to change. This tension also causes their breathing to become very heavy and labored. Watch out for them taking deep breaths, and listen to their voice, which will get more and more shallow as their breathing gets heavier. Such an involuntary, and otherwise unprovoked, change in their breathing pattern is a surefire way to tell someone isn’t telling the truth.

3. They stand completely still

You’ve probably heard of your body’s primitive ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. Liars who stand perfectly still are exhibiting the ‘fight’ defense, as they feel as if they’re holding their ground. During normal conversations, most people are relaxed and fluid in their movement. However, when lying, we often enter a rigid physical state because we feel as if we need to prove something. It’s a sign that we’re on guard, aware of every minute movement we’re making in front of someone we’re lying to.

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4. They repeat words or phrases

Liars will often repeat themselves ad nauseam when telling a half-truth or a complete falsehood. This is done for three reasons. First, they will repeat a lie over and over in order to solidify the ‘facts’ in their mind, so they can stick to their story. Secondly, they’re trying to convince you that they’re telling the truth by solidifying their words in your mind. Lastly, they repeat themselves in order to buy time to come up with the next part of their story. If they were telling the truth, they’d be able to recall everything without thinking about it.

5. They cover their mouth

When a person covers their mouth while speaking, they’re more than likely hiding something. Subconsciously, they’re putting a barrier between themselves and the person they’re talking to. It’s as if they’re shielding themselves from being heard, or making it seem as if they’re not actually saying the words that are coming out of their mouth. If a person puts their hand over their mouth while answering a question, they might be withholding information from you. Lies by omission are lies nonetheless.

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6. They cover vulnerable body parts

When a liar covers their neck, head, or chest, they’re exhibiting the ‘flight’ mechanism I mentioned earlier. Contrasted with the ‘fight’ response, being in ‘flight’ mode means a person does not want to be in the current situation they’re in. They feel physically uncomfortable and exposed, and are instinctively protecting the most important parts of their body. Watch for what a person does with their hands while they’re talking, and you might be able to catch them in a lie.

7. They shuffle their feet

Not only should you watch a person’s hands while they’re speaking, but also check their feet during the conversation. This also has to do with the ‘flight’ instinct, as shuffling feet is a sure sign a person wants to bolt from their current situation. According to behavioral analyst and body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass, shuffling feet is “one of the key ways to detect a liar.”

8. They babble

When a person gives too much information when questioned, it’s because they have rehearsed in their head exactly what to say, and exactly how to say it. They also feel that if they’re able to give a full story, they’re more likely to be believed. However, this often just shows they’ve anticipated what the other person will say next, and jump right into answering subsequent questions before the questions have even been asked. If someone seems to immediately have every answer for all the questions you have for them, they’ve most likely constructed a huge lie in their head and are ready to stick to it no matter what.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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