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Meet The Compulsive Liar Who Won’t Stop Lying

Meet The Compulsive Liar Who Won’t Stop Lying

Have you ever met someone who couldn’t stop lying? Maybe you’ve caught them telling small lies, or perhaps it’s something major, but they always seem to be making things up. If they tell enough lies, you might even begin to wonder if they have a serious condition.

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to live with a compulsive liar? Today in the hot seat, we’ve got Jessica, a pathological liar, to tell you all about why she’s constantly betraying others’ trust.

Inside the mind of a compulsive liar

Lifehack: Why do you lie all the time?

Jessica: The funny thing is, sometimes I don’t even know why. There are times when I tell lies because I’m trying to get people to sympathize with me, but sometimes I just make things up to see if I can get away with it. If I want to impress someone, I definitely make things up.

Lifehack: What have you learned from being a compulsive liar?

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Jessica: At first the lies were small, so nothing really bad happened. After a while, the lies grew, and I stopped realizing that I was making things up. I learned that people will believe almost anything if you say it with enough conviction.

At the same time, I learned that I have some issues. My therapist thinks my lying started because of low self-esteem, and we are working to disrupt the lie cycle. Right now, I wanted to tell you that I lie because of past trauma, which is true for some pathological liars, but it’s not the case for me. I’ve never experienced trauma.

Lifehack: Do your friends and family know that you’re a compulsive liar?

Jessica: Absolutely. At first, they tried to play along because they were being polite. As the lies got bigger and more absurd, they started calling me out. My brother actually stopped talking to me because my lies got so out of control.

Lifehack: What has compulsive lying cost you?

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Like I said, my brother doesn’t associate with me anymore. My lying even cost me my marriage. Plus, everyone knows that I have this problem, so my reputation is ruined.

Lifehack: What are some ways that you might lie in an average day?

Jessica: I’m always tempted to lie when I meet new people. It’s easier to deceive strangers who aren’t aware of my history. I definitely lie about my job. I work at a bookstore, but I’ll tell people that I’m a lawyer sometimes. I read a lot novels about law, so I just pull from that.

I also tend to exaggerate when I want to get out of things. Once I had a cold and I don’t want to go into work, so I told my boss I was hospitalized for a bad case of pneumonia.

Lifehack: What’s the worst thing that’s happened because of a lie you told?

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Jessica: My very worst lie is the one that cost me my marriage. My ex and I were arguing a lot. It wasn’t because of my lying–we were just having a rough time. I decided to tell him that I was pregnant even though I wasn’t. I went as far as to steal a sonogram picture from my friend to pass off as my own.

This news made my husband happy, and it temporarily alleviated our problems. Everyone in our families got excited about it.

That lie obviously has a shelf life. When it got to the point where I should have been showing, I decided that I’d have to “miscarry” in order to save face. I waited until he went to work, faked a trip to the hospital, and had to break the news to him. I was so upset about what I had done, but everyone thought I was just sad because I lost the baby.

Eventually he figured out that I made the whole thing up, and he filed for divorce.

Lifehack: Do you have any way to control your lying?

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Jessica: Sometimes I believe the stories I make up, or the lies happen before I even think about them. I’m working to get it under control, but I don’t know if I’ll ever stop.

Lifehack: How does it make you feel when you lie?

Jessica: It’s complicated. I feel excited when I manage to successfully deceive someone into thinking I’m better than I am. I also know that some lies that I tell are so over-the-top and so damaging, that I usually end up regretting them later.

Don’t believe everything you hear

Most of us fib on occasion, but some people take lying to a new level. Compulsive liars seem to derive some satisfaction from what they do, but they also tear lives apart and leave their own in shambles.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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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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