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It’s a lie! How can you tell?

Ever fudge the truth a little?  Here are a few red flag-raisers when someone may be fibbing to YOU…

We’ve all been guilty of a little white lie or two.  But unlike in fairytales, a steadily lengthening nose won’t help you spot a liar — and, sad to say, our instincts aren’t always enough (witness Madoff … that love rejection … etc.) So, of course, this Forbes article, “How To Sniff out A Liar,”* by Melanie Linder sparked our curiosity.  Is there really a way to know when you’re being told a lie? According to Linder, there may not be a fool-proof method, but there are some interesting signs that could point you in the right direction.

Check out the list we compiled after reading the article on ways you can stop a liar in his/her tracks… or, maybe get away with a few fibs of your own (not that we condone that!). Here’s an excerpt about how often we lie, to whom and if your sex makes a difference

“According to an oft-cited 1996 University of Virginia study led by psychologist Bella DePaulo, lying is part of the human condition. Over the course of one week, DePaulo and her colleagues asked 147 participants, aged 18 to 71, to record in a diary all of their social interactions and all of the lies they told during them. On average, each person lied just over 10 times, and only seven participants claimed to have been completely honest.

To be fair, most of the time we’re just trying to be nice. (When your wife asks if you enjoyed the dinner she cooked, most husbands who know what’s good for them say, ‘It was delicious.’) Such ‘false positive’ lies are delivered 10 to 20 times more often than spurious denials of culpability, according to DePaulo’s research. Other studies show that men and women lie with equal frequency, though women are more likely to lie to make other people feel good, while men tend to lie to make themselves look better. As for who we hoodwink, ‘we lie less frequently to our significant others because we’re more invested in those relationships,’says Jeffrey Hancock, associate professor of communication at Cornell University.”

How to spot a liar:

  • Are you getting yes and no responses to your interrogation? Watch out. You could have a liar on your hands. “Liars often give short or one-word response to questions, while truth tellers are more likely to flesh out their answers.”
  • Physical signs: shifty eyes, high-pitched voice, sweating, heavy breathing, and not looking you in the eye.
  • Is the person backtracking in their story to fill in missing details? Any further explanations offered? Is their chronology a little off because they keep leaving things out? If so, you might want to have a little more faith in them. “Liars are often reluctant to admit ordinary storytelling mistakes,” says the article.
  • People who use second and third-person pronouns frequently may have something to hide. As a method to distance themselves from the lie, the article says they are likely to “ask that questions be repeated and begin responses with phrases like, ‘to tell you the truth,’ and ‘to be perfectly honest.'” Interesting…
  • Hand gestures are often times a sign of someone telling the truth.
  • The mode of communication being used could also be a factor. Apparently people are less likely to lie face-to-face than they are if it’s on the phone or online. To be exact, the phone enabled 37% of lies in the study, 27% face-to-face, 21% in instant messaging and 14% in e-mail.

Now you know. So be more careful, errr… more perceptive next time.

__________________________________________________________________, “How To Sniff Out A Liar,” by Melanie Lindner, May 13, 2009

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