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How to Spot a Liar within Seconds

How to Spot a Liar within Seconds

Lying is pretty high up on the list of negative traits. No one likes to find out they’ve been deceived, yet it’s something nearly all of us do on a regular basis.

According to James Patterson, author of The Day America Told the Truth, among two thousand Americans, 91 percent lied regularly both at home and at work.”

Surprised? Possibly not. Most people aren’t out to deceive us for selfish gain. With loved ones, you’re more likely to be lied to in order to save your feelings from being hurt and we’re usually none the wiser.

But what if you really want to know when you’re being lied to? Can you really tell if you read the signs well enough?

The Biggest Giveaway of a Liar

So how can you spot someone who’s lying? Words are hard to decipher when it comes to lying. What someone says can be rehearsed and controlled especially if a person is particularly good at it.

When it comes to spotting clues, actions really do speak louder than words because it’s all in a person’s gestures. Unlike words, these tend to be uncontrollable and automatic so to know the truth, you have to focus on the body language.

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The Crucial Body Language That Exposes a Liar

What exactly are the typical gestures people give away when spinning a lie?

These are the most common signs to look out for.

They smile less when lying

Research has found that people tend to smile less when they’re lying – and especially in men. In his research, Paul Ekman felt this reflects the idea that people associate lying with smiling and so enter into a double bluff by reducing the smile factor. If someone does smile while lying, it tends to be less genuine meaning they smile more quickly and hold it for longer.

They scratch their neck as they feel nervous

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    Another giveaway is when someone scratches the side of their neck just below the earlobe. This usually tends be done in a specific way – namely with the index finger of their dominant hand.

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    This is a typical signal of insecurity, doubt and uncertainty which is running through the mind of someone who isn’t telling the whole truth.

    They tend to touch their faces a lot

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      Bringing a hand to the face is probably one of the most common signs of deception. This could be covering their eyes or putting their hands on their forehead or cheek and most likely stems from childhood characteristics. Children often cover their mouths, cover their ears, or cover their eyes in order to stop talking, stop listening or stop seeing. These are always exaggerated but as we get older these gestures become quicker and less obvious yet still used subconsciously.

      It doesn’t always indicate blatant lying, however. It could just mean that the person is holding back information which for some can be seen as equally deceitful.

      They cover their mouths uconsciously

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        Covering the mouth, in particular, is a subconscious reflex that can literally mean someone is trying to suppress the deceitful words that are coming out of their mouth. It could manifest as a literal hand over the mouth or even a finger placed over the lips in a ‘ssshh’ gesture. This is likely to come from parents who may have made this gesture to indicate a desire to keep quiet but in adulthood, it could indicate an attempt for someone to tell themselves to withhold feelings or words.

        They touch their noses while talking

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          We’re all familiar with Pinocchio’s nose and the effect lying had on it. Scientists at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago has found the human nose actually expands whilst lying. This is caused by chemicals being released due to the pressure of telling a lie causing the tissue inside the nose to swell.

          While you won’t actually be able to see the effects, what does happen is this swelling can create a tingling sensation which the liar will want to itch therefore creating the nose touch.

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          They pull their collar as their neck tissues become more sensitive while lying

            This is a classic tell-tale sign of a liar and the reason behind it comes from the sensitivity of the delicate facial and neck tissues. When someone lies it creates a tingling sensation in these areas which the liar will want to touch. The pressure of lying also causes sweat to increase around the neck which is why the collar pull is so known.

            They rub their eyes so as to avoid looking at you

              This one is, again, stemmed from childhood. Children often cover their eyes when they don’t want to look at something and this doesn’t entirely leave us in adulthood. We will still subconsciously rub or touch the eye area when we don’t want to look at something (in this case the person we’re lying to). It’s the brain’s coping mechanism to block deceitfulness and the pressure of facing the person we’re deceiving.

              Actions Are More Honest Than Words

              With these signs, you’ll be less likely to be cheated by people no matter how sincere they sound. Sometimes you don’t even need to hear the true answer because you already get that from their body language. Practice observing these signals and spot out people who are lying to you.

              Featured photo credit: Burst via pexels.com

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              Brian Lee

              Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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              Last Updated on May 7, 2019

              How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

              How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

              Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

              The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

              The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

              Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

              People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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                They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

                Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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                    1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
                    2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
                    3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
                    4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
                    5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

                    How to Spot a Wolf

                      Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

                      Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

                      A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

                      A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

                      Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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                      Ask Questions, the More the Better

                      There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

                      When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

                      Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

                      They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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                      Wolves Are Everywhere

                      As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

                      Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

                      Reference

                      [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
                      [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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