Everyone lies. Big or small, petty white or not, deliberate or spontaneous, by completely altering facts or by omission. We all do, and there’s no escaping that fact. And as the hypocritical creatures that we are, we generally don’t like lies and liars, especially when it’s all about us, or directed toward us.
Well, it could be one of our human nature to defend one’s self and our tendency to put ourselves (or maybe even our loved ones) in the most favourable spot possible. So here are ways to spot a liar whether you really want to spot one or you want to try not to get caught in your own web of lies. HA!
It takes a lot of studying and practice to be able to pinpoint when someone is lying. Even the professionals like the police, judges, and investigators put a lot of effort doing it. Nevertheless, it could be done. The most reliable way to catch a liar is through focusing on their words paired with indicative gestures or behaviour.
Inconsistencies and sudden changes
Any kind of inconsistency, whether it be on details, on demeanour, the words versus tone or gesture (or even the delay of those with words), the person’s nature versus the emotions portrayed, or the sudden appearance of micro expression or change in emotions that seems insincere. Anything. One good example is when a person is saying something like “Yes, I was there. I saw it.” when you ask them a yes/no question but then moves their face side to side like that of a person gesturing a no. Another is when someone is telling or recounting something and then there’s suddenly a very subtle hint of smile you saw there for a split second. This could be an unconscious expression of delight, “applauding” one’s self for such a good act.
A (hint) of uneasiness
Stuttering or hesitating before opening their mouth, frozen-looking upper body, body or face directed away from you, using your own words to answer a question, directing the conversation away from the point of discussion, pursed mouth those are all signs of uneasiness. The lying already puts enough stress on their brain, and it radiates on the outside. You should be able to sense it when it’s unnatural or out of their natural behaviour. Some behaviours or movements are uncontrollable when a person is being too controlling of their self. It just shows, and it could also serve as a human’s natural defense mechanism, like that of an octopus blowing their inks to ward off predators.
Too much or too little
Too much or too little of something details during narration of stories or answering, blinking, eye contact. And then there’s too much use of distancing language. Instead of saying “my officemate,” they say “that woman,” or “my problem” as “the situation.” They tend to not use words like I, my, and whatnot. They try to detach themselves from the situation or the lies too much. Moreover, they tend to focus on the obscure points, trying to divert your attention. It could be by luring you to another topic or to another point of matter.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
To put it simply, use their own actions and words as their own trap. Try to convert their misdirection to a weapon you can use to bait them and to establish a solid ground of evidence of their deceits.
Take a trusting stance
There’s nothing more intimidating than having someone act like an investigator going against you. It makes us defensive, and may cause some people to lie or dig deeper their already complicated hole of fabrications. Show empathy and that there could be a way out. You could nod your head or suggest what you can do, or that it isn’t really much of a big deal if they admit to it.
Fill in the blanks
Start the story or narration yourself. You can pause every now and then or leave out details and scenarios for them to “fill out.” Have them continue it. Do not fill the silence. On more occasions, they will try to correct you when you assert something that goes against their version of story; they will cut you out. And more often than not, if you were able to carry it out correctly, you may have a partial confession of the truth, which you can then use as another tool for questioning.
You can do this different ways. It could be that after you do the fill in the blanks method, have them tell the story on their own. You will see that they have their own progression and way of telling the story. This may be something that they have already prepared on their mind. By listening carefully, take in mind the way the person uses words or inputs details, expressions, and emotions.
Try to ask unexpected questions. This could put them in a hard spot, as they will then have to think and add another detail to their story. Watch out for signs of anxiousness or hesitation. To challenge them more, ask same questions different ways. Of course, different questions should yield differently put or worded answers. Liars will tend to stick to their rehearsed answers and specific words as it was the way they programmed their mind.
Change the subject
During the exchange of words, change the subject quickly. You will be able to detect a sense of relief on their face. A liar will easily follow through on the change of conversation focus. Conversely, a person telling the truth will certainly find this bizarre. They may try to return to the subject or show that they were weirded out.
Withhold evidence until the crucial moment
And this makes sense, right? You were trying to show an empathetic stance on the first. But then as you have gathered your arguments and proof, this is the time to confirm or entrap them. They will certainly have a hard time trying to edit out all the details they’ve put in; this is a good way to corner them. The data are already all laid out, the culprit on your front, and the truth just waving its hand around.