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What Frequent Liars Actually Think and Why

What Frequent Liars Actually Think and Why

Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by liars?

Are you tired of listening to lie after lie after lie? And we’re not talking about the type of liar that lies occasionally as an excuse for breaking a commitment.

No, that would be a little easier to handle.

We’re talking about the lie-for-no-reason, make-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-out type of liar.

Yes, that one.

No worries. You’ll be able to keep your hair once you understand there are multiple reasons why a person lies like this, also known as pathological lying, as well as how to recognize and deal with one.

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Pathological lying is continuously lying with no logic behind it.

Fibbing, deceiving, fabricating — whichever way you slice it, you know it’s lying. However, pathological lying is different. This kind of lying goes beyond what’s considered a “fib” or a “harmless, little lie” in that the person routinely lies and does so without any logic behind it.

There are multiple names for pathological lying as well, such as mythomania, compulsive lying and pseudologia fantastica.[1] While some of these terms may be familiar to most people, some are not, unless you’re an expert in the field.

Also, the overall consensus is that these terms all mean the same thing, but there is some debate between mental health professionals that pathological liars fall under compulsive liars. They believe it’s the compulsive liar that lies without reason, just out of habit, and that the pathological liar not only lies habitually, but also creates lies rooted in manipulation.

Pathological liars can leave you open to harm.

It can be easy to think lying is no big deal, but being around a pathological liar can be harmful in some cases. These people not only lie to make their lives sound more exciting or credible, they also lie about other people — maybe even you.

Not knowing if a person is a pathological liar or not could result in lots of negative experiences. For instance, you could be working in your office and find out a pathological liar has lied about you in order to take your job. Or sometimes, it may not even be about taking your job. They may do it just to be hateful. In addition, a pathological liar may not seem so obvious at first. Some come off as extremely charming, kind and nice. But you may soon realize this person is not only a liar, but may even be a sociopath, leaving you open to harm.

This type of liar may actually suffer from other mental disorders.

As of today, pathological lying is[2]

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“not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual a book published by the American Psychiatric Association  as a separate mental health condition, but it is agreed that this type of lying does not line up with standard human behavior.”

Also, some people suffer from other disorders and pathological lying can be a symptom of these disorders. These issues can contribute to or make it harder to diagnose pathological lying on its own. For instance, a child may be suffering with attention deficit disorder or have oppositional defiant disorder. In addition, an adult may have psychotic disorders, delusions, sociopathy and more. All of these disorders can blur the lines behind what is and isn’t pathological lying.

To take it a step further, Medical Daily says,[3]

“Pathological lying doesn’t crop up out of nowhere like a tumor. Somewhere along the line, and then for multiple years thereafter, it gets learned.”

To spot a pathological liar, observe these behaviors.

When you’re dealing with pathological liars, you’ll begin to notice a few things about them.

They are “so” amazing.

For example, every story they tell will seem extraordinary and absolutely fabulous. They often put themselves in an excellent light, such as a hero that saves the day, someone that’s rich and powerful, or they know a lot of celebrities or people in enviable positions.

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They play the victim non-stop.

In addition, pathological liars may also take an opposite approach and show themselves as victims. This person may always have a new illness, or tragedy in their life. It’s when the number of terrible events in a person’s’ life makes you question their honesty, you’re probably dealing with a pathological liar. [4]

They have addictive personalities.

If a person has certain addictions like alcoholism, gambling, substance abuse or more, they may be more likely to be a pathological liar. This doesn’t mean all addicts are liars, but according Expertscolumn.com, people fighting addictions tend to be more likely to lie uncontrollably to friends and family. [5]

More traits to keep in mind with pathological liars:[6]

  • Obsessiveness
  • Narcissism
  • Jealousy
  • Impulsivity
  • Abusive attitude
  • Aggressiveness

If you come across any pathological liars, address them in the right ways.

So when you know someone is a pathological liar, you can be on your guard and more apt to addressing them. How? Well, according to PsychCentral, there are a few ways to handle them:

1. Avoid engaging them if possible.

Your gut instinct may quickly tell you something’s off with a pathological liar. Instead of agreeing and engaging them, you can give them a confused, blank stare. That let’s them know you realize they aren’t fooling you with their outlandish stories. This may get them to pull back or move on to someone else.

2. Get confirmation.

If you know this person lies a lot, don’t even consider believing any part of their story unless you can line it up with facts. Until you can, make sure you stay detached and neutral during all your conversations.

3. Don’t argue with them.

There’s no point in arguing with a person that clearly has issues and lives in their own head. You’ll most likely never get to the truth anyway and it’s best to just keep your distance if you can.[7]

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If you’re friends with the person, Nobullying.com says to try these suggestions:

4. Offer support for them.

Reassure them that you still care about them regardless of their issues. Tell them you understand they felt compelled to lie and that you are willing to help.

5. Help them change.

Encourage them to practice the truth a little at a time. Telling a few truths consciously and intentionally may help in adjusting their behavior.[8]

If all else fails, you may need to call it quits with the friendship. Sometimes, you can’t stay friends with a pathological liar. In that case, you may need to end the relationship altogether and stay away from that person. Livestrong.com says:

Pathological liars can overcome the propensity to lie, but it takes willingness and, usually, therapy, so to be a friend you need to be there for the long run. Often though, the person does not want help, at which point you need to make a clean break to keep from being hurt.[9]

Understanding how a pathological liar operates as well as how to recognize one will make you better equipped to deal with this person properly and protect yourself in the process.

Reference

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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