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You Know That Someone Is Lying When You See These…

You Know That Someone Is Lying When You See These…

Whether it’s Ricky Gervais discovering that he’s the only one in the world who can tell a fib, or the entire spectrum of lies that everyone deals with every day (everything from little white lies to stonking great ones), humans are a species and a culture for whom lying is despised and yet something virtually everyone does at some point every single day.

Is it an evolutionary instinct? A psychological response? Or maybe people just don’t want to admit they cheated on their New Year’s resolutions and binged on an entire KFC meal. Whatever it is, humans have lied and lied and lied for centuries, ever since Adam turned to Eve and implied they should keep the old apple-eating on the down-low.

Lying is such a mainstream fascination of daily media – consider all the TV shows, films, and media devoted to catching unfaithful spouses or philandering partners – that it’s no wonder that more people than ever are desperate to discover the truth about how to weed out the truth. There’s so much to be garnered from learning to read people and how to tell when they’re trying to pull the cotton over your eyes.

So, if you fancy brushing up your lie-sensing skills in order to become a human guilt detector, or if you want to learn what you might be doing when you’re trying to get away with something, then check out this list of the ten sneakiest, smartest ways to tell when someone is lying.

1. Shifting Eyes

It is such a cliche it has been parodied in every single movie genre you can think of – and The Simpsons. However, cliches aside, there is plenty of reason to use the old ‘shifty eyes’ technique to assess if someone is lying to you. A lot of analysis and research into how humans lie as a species has found evidence that people find it hard to make eye contact with people they’re lying to, possibly as a throwback to a survival tactic.

In our evolutionary past, homo sapiens learned the power of group dynamics and that surviving in a pack of people was much smarter than trying to survive on your own. However, group dynamics found that telling the truth to your pack members – about the environment you were living in, the food you were gathering, what you found out when you were scavenging – helped keep them informed and alive, and helped your pack survive. We still subconsciously feel ‘wrong’ about lying – hence why you can find it incredibly hard to look the other person in the eye; perhaps because you feel that they can ‘sense’ when someone is lying.

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Facing someone eye-to-eye and lying right to their face can be an incredibly daunting and difficult task. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to interrogate someone. After all, sometimes the old cliches are the best ones.

2. Sweating Palms

No longer just the feeling that you get from being too close to that rather attractive person you like, having sweating palms is one of the biggest indicators out there. Okay, so a lot of it can be rooted in the kind of common-sense logic that anyone with a functioning computer can Google with success, but there is a genuine scientific basis behind why sweating palms equals lying.

Sweating palms are usually caused by a change in the body’s metabolic rate, in turn caused by the person’s heart rate starting to increase. Think of it like this; when you’re running, your heart is clocking up some serious BPM mileage, causing you to sweat in order to cool your body down. When you’re lying, your heart rate increases and you start to sweat from your palms. This method of observing guilt is so well-known that polygraph detectors measure it when someone takes a lie detector test. That’s something handy to note when you’re trying out a lie, or bingeing out on several episodes of Jeremy Kyle back-to-back…

3. Too Many Unnecessary Details

The devil really is in the details, then, huh? It turns out that one of the best ways to check to see if someone’s lying is to actually listen in deep to their story and see how much they’re actually telling you. Why? Well, because unless your friend/lover/spouse/relative is one of those rare but especially verbose and chatty people who seem to populate every conversation with details, when someone is elaborating, unprompted, with details about their day… it usually means they’re lying their butts off.

Something in human behavior seems to trigger this, suggesting that humans need to cover their tracks by creating such a watertight alibi or imaginary day that is so plausible and believable that the victim of their lie will never suspect. Cheating on a partner? You spent the day at work, and give them an hour-by-hour account of what you and the annoying guy in Accounts did. Lying about not quitting your smoking habit? You spent your lunch hour with your work friends discussing a myriad of topics you’re able to accurately recall. Keep an eye out for an abundance of details; it might just be the case that someone’s recycling the truth with you.

4. Gesturing Too Much

Okay, some people are naturally adept or inclined towards gesturing when they talk. It’s fine, it’s a quirk that a lot of people have to demonstrate what they’re saying. However, going over the top with gesturing or fidgeting is, in fact, an indicator that someone is overcompensating for lying throughout their speech. Research has found that rather than the stereotypical image of a twitchy liar unable to stop with the little movements, a liar is much more likely to rein in those smaller moments and go for the big, unconscious guns.

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Anything and everything from using their hands to convey every single point, to over-emphasizing even smaller details with physical gestures and details, can be a tell-tale sign that the person in question is telling a big fat fib. So, if you’re trying to get away with a hell of a lie, maybe try and keep your physical gesturing down to your usual amount. Sure it might take a little more concentration, but isn’t it worth it compared to flailing and being caught almost instantly?

5. Responding Incorrectly To Leading Questions

One of the more proactive and more dangerous ways of trying to discover a lie is to try your hand at some leading questions. Leading questions are, in of themselves, methods examined through psychological research, and are ways that people can consciously or unconsciously lead others on in conversations. However, one of the best ways that can help you uncover the truth is to use leading questions to try and catch the suspected liar in a trap.

In a situation when you know certain things, try dropping a leading question such as ‘Boy, you must have hit all that traffic coming home’, when you know that their route home was very clear and easy. If they lie to your face and go along with your falsehood, it can suggest that they are attempting to go along with you, rather than provide an accurate re-telling of events. Does that necessarily mean they’re out-and-out lying? Well, it’s not looking good, let’s put it that way.

6. Reduced Use Of First Person Pronouns

Me, me, me. No, this isn’t the Twitter biography – or, hell, let’s be honest, the actual autobiography – of some of the world’s stars. It’s one of the best ways to check to see if the person you are having a conversation with is actually being straight with you. Studies into lying and the way humans do it have found that, etymologically, there’s one major thing that occurs when humans are trying to pull of a lie: the liar doesn’t us first person pronouns as much.

Basically, they stop saying ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, and ‘mine’ as much when they’re telling a lie. The reason behind this? Psychologists have suggested that humans stop using the first person pronouns when they’re lying in order to try and distance themselves mentally from the lie they’re telling themselves. Human beings tend to try and think of themselves of good people; so rather than deal with the fact that they’re lying, they try to make it about other people, or from a more objective point of view. It does explain why there are so few ‘I totally slept in’ excuses, and tons more ‘the traffic was insane’ ones that you probably run into on a daily basis.

7. Check Their Head Position

Okay, now you’re moving into more expert territory here, but if you can crack these babies, you’ll be a veritable lie detecting machine. One of the best ways to spot someone lying is to check their head position. Seriously, watch their head.

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When someone is lying, they’re much more likely to keep shifting or changing the position of their head, much like when you’re trying to avoid the subject of why you haven’t settled down with that special someone, or why you haven’t called your parents in a month. Lying induces a subconcious feeling of guilt in the vast majority of people, and so they adjust their head more often as an unconscious way of not having to face their guilt head on. Look at how so many people, when lying, don’t even look at their victims in the eye. A lot of power lies in unconscious movements, and the way your face and head react are telltale signs that you’re guilty as charged.

8. Microexpressions

Microexpressions. They’re the stuff of Sherlock Holmes, ‘Lie to Me’, and every pseudo-psychological publication worth their salt. A lot of modern research has been conducted into just what microexpressions are – although the name does give you a massive clue. Microexpressions are the tiny, fraction-of-a-second-long expressions that are, more often than not, done unconsciously . In the grand scheme of things, this can give you a premium, VIP seat into what even the most stoic individual is feeling at any one time.

Examining these microexpressions may seem a little bit too advanced for any basic lie detector in training, but they’ve been proven to be a useful tool in examining what people are really thinking when they let their guard down. Isn’t that worth doing a little bit of hard work and practice in? The best thing? Training in recognizing and analyzing microexpressions is becoming rapidly popular all over the world – and an hour’s worth of good training is probably coming to a city near you.

9. They Cover Their Mouth

One of the most well-known ways of examining someone’s you believe is telling a fib is to examine what they do with their mouth when they’re talking. Yes, alright, aside from talking that is, which, in itself, is important. However, when someone covers their mouth a lot whilst telling you a story, it can be a massive indicator that they’re spinning you a none-too-reliable yarn.

What is it about covering your mouth that means ‘lie’?” Psychologists have suggested that this behavior comes from an unconscious desire to close off information in case it turns out to lead to the lie being found out. Basically, it boils down to the liar wanting to shut down their information channel (i.e. mouth) and trying to avoid the situation altogether, particularly when the person they are lying to insists on bringing up more questions and information that can potentially threaten the integrity of the lie. Next time your partner tells you about their day with half their hand covering their mouth, you can begin a bit of investigation. After all, they might just be trying cover up one heck of a lie.

10. Trust Your Gut

All platitudes aside – this lie detecting technique is one of the most underrated, and yet most innately valuable.

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Trust. Your. Gut.

Okay, so it is a little bit of a cliche, but still, when you’re trying to suss out a lie, sometimes you already know the answer. Your gut instinct isn’t a thinly-veiled euphemism for your spiritual essence or soul; it’s a biological instinct developed through generations and generations of survival. Humans have this instinct in order to understand, analyze, and consider threats to themselves and those they care about. While lying might have evolved somewhat since the days of kill-or-be-killed, it’s still a threat rooted in biology.

When you’re facing off against someone you suspect of lying, listen to that little voice in your head telling you that something is wrong. More often than not, you have a reason, unconscious or otherwise, that you think that someone is lying. You’re much better at reading people and intuitively knowing that something ain’t quite right than you even know. It doesn’t mean you should go in all guns blazing. After all, everyone’s wrong at one time or another.

So, the real question is whether or not you can trust your gut when you’re dealing with a potential liar. It might just be worth trying out sometime – after all, you can’t rely on wooden noses growing all the time.

Featured photo credit: summer, holidays, vacation, happy people concept – smiling girlfriends having fun on the beach via shutterstock.com

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

2. Trust the Muse

Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

“The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

3. Remember to Be Authentic

Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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