Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Tell me about conversation red flags for liars(25 Posts)
"I swear on X...."
"I am telling you the truth....."
I know those, the obvious ones, but are there any more that I should be aware of as although there has been some honesty about our issue, I feel that there is still some dishonesty and would like some tips about spotting the things he is being less than truthful about.
What bothers me is that I have been known to say similar things as above, when I am telling the truth! So how do you spot the difference between that and lying?
I used to have a friend who always used to say "My problem is that I am too honest" (talking about herself obviously) and I don't think she new the difference between fantasy and RL.
Also looking to the left when speaking usually means they are engaging the invention side of the brain rather than the actual memory side of the brain. Test this by asking them something like " can you imagine what the world would be like if....(something bizarre all cats were green) and check out which way he looks to imagine it.
Not holding eye contact and slurring words can also be a giveaway.
More to the point how is this working out for you if you have to analyse his every word?
Tone of voice quite often goes up a pitch when people are lying, either that or they go into a kind of long monotone.
CHeekey, I did know about that but completely the "looking left" thing until you mentioned it, so thank you
Hammerhead, that is something I didnt know about, so thank you too.
Its complicated and I have posted about it but under a different name and dont want to out myself. BUt analysing his every word is fairly standard at this stage of our issue I think. The problem is that when the truth has been shattered, you dont believe them if they tell you the sky is blue.......
Ooops, shall I post that again?!
CHeekey, I did know about the "looking left" thing but had completely forgotten about it until you mentioned it, so thank you
lack of eye contact
eye contact that is too prolonged, without blinking
Bogeyface, you're on a hiding to nothing I'm afraid. The world's full of people who make a good living out of lying - lots of people are great liars. The more adept they are, the more they believe their own lies. Someone like that can even fool a polygraph.
If it's crucial to know the truth about something, ask a series of questions more than once; see whether the details make sense logically and are consistent. If you're dealing with a good liar, though, they'll have it sorted.
More to the point - if you're twisting yourself in knots trying to get some facts from a person you can't believe, you'd be better off removing that person and their confusions from your orbit. Sorry.
I know exactly what you are saying Garlic.
The trouble is that he is a shit liar, but is also one of those people who looks like he is being a shit liar when he is telling the truth.
It isnt crucial to know the truth exactly, more crucial to know that he is telling the truth iykwim. I am so brainfucked that as I said before, I wouldnt believe him if he told me the sky was blue.
Maybe this isnt about red flags of lying but how do you believe someone when you know that they have lied their tits off to you over and over about something?
one way is to see if the person can tell the story in lots of ways liars will often only tell in one way ie start to finish, and the story will always be the same.
often it will be very detailed too to make it seem more truthful.
Is it an issue you NEED to know the truth?
If you can accept that you will not know the truth but still move on try and do that.
What you need to be sure of is you do find out what will you do and be truthful to yourself about that.
Just a query, does the 'looking left' work if the person isn't right-handed?
Sorry, don't mean to be trivial, just interested.
Be careful about overusing generic things like 'looking to the left' or 'scratching their nose'. People are all different. You probably have a gut feel that he's lying to you because you've unconsciously picked up on changes in his mannerisms and body language.
My husband did the too much eye contact when he was lying. The I'm looking you straight in the eyes and talking quite assertively because I'm telling the truth Bill Clinton school of lying
He also would give me too much detail about where he'd been. It sounded oddly rehearsed. For example the conversation would go:
Me: How was your day?
Him: Good. I meet Bob today at 12.00 and we went for lunch at the x cafe. It's just around the corner from his work, so I met him there. They do excellent Moroccan food, the starters were fantastic and it's really good value."
A normal conversation should be more like:
Me: What did you do today?
Him: Not much, but I did see Bob for lunch.
Me: Oh yeah, how's he doing?
Him: Not so good. The usual, but we went to this great cafe round the corner...
This is a great website www.paulekman.com/. The guy has studied facial expressions and lying most of his life. Apparantly he has to pretend to his wife that he doesn't know when she's lying as otherwise she just gets annoyed with him.
But, before you get carreid away...is it worth it ? I don't know your back story, but if there's been a breach of trust and your partner can't convince you that he's honest - what's the point? You deserve to be with someone you trust and respect and who treats you with respect and care. I spent years trying to find out the truth - I did eventually, but if I'd followed my gut from the start I'd have saved myself a lot of wasted years and heartache.
tb, it can alter if not right-handed, that is why you have to test it by getting them to imagine something unreal and noting which way they look.
Also don't forget the best way to see if a man is lying is......has he got his mouth open? (That's a JOKE btw before any bun fights start).
Sorry - not a laughing matter, just had a hard day.
Oh, and I totally agree turquoise, people do tend to babble a lot when put on the spot when lying as it actually stops you from being able to ask questions and gives them more time to think of the answer.
Good sales tactic when selling crap product
Aren't there cultural differences re eye contact too (have a vague recollection reading about this re: police dealings with the Afro-Caribean community)? I am not a liar, but I know I tend to look down when answering a question, which is supposedly a sure sign of guilt. I also know I tend to give off all sorts of body language signals that I don't mean. Eg, have been told I'm being flirtatious, when merely friendly is my intention.
I was once told that how a person reacts to an accusation can tell you a lot about whether the accusation is true.
Someone accused unfairly will deny the subject of the accusation itself. So if you ask your colleague if they stole your lunch from the fridge and they say "No! I was on a conference call all morning" then they're probably telling the truth.
If, on the other hand, they attack the accusation itself then they're probably lying. "Why would you think something like that?" or "How could you even suggest I would steal from you?" would both be examples.
In some parts of the world, particularly in Asia, eye contact can provoke misunderstandings between people of different nationalities. Keeping direct eye contact with a work supervisor or elderly people leads them to assume one is being aggressive and rude the opposite reaction of most Western societies
My parents are Asian, this may explain why I don't maintain eye contact, even if I'm not lying!
It's worth pointing out that i struggle with eye contact if i am talking abut something that is particularly difficult.
Eye contact can go either way some say blinking to much not blinking enough looking one direction or another ect... who knows?
If the person acts out of their norm that is usually a sign. When my DH started smoking again after a 6 month hiatus he would come home and jump right into the shower, which he never did before. He would spend more time outside especially at night while I was sleeping then of course take more showers so that I would not smell it. There were extra clothes in his car that one day he brought in that smelled of smoke and he forgot to throw in the wash. I let this weird behavior go on a few weeks then asked him how many cigars he smoked since he started hidding them from me. He looked like he saw a ghost like he could not beleive I knew. I don't know why he hid it anyway because it is not a high crime or anything. He felt guilty about starting again I guess. Since then he always tells me when something comes up that he feels bad about or thinks I might need to know. I am very observant so I can usually catch people in a lie pretty easily because I can sense it then pick up on unusual actions.
Generally if I have a hunch that something is up it is so follow your feelings on the liar and the lie will be unearthed eventually without you even interfering. The thing about liars even good ones is that they eventually loose track of what is truth and what is fantacy and out comes the lie.
I think the giveaway is a change from their usual pattern.
With strangers, we have to rely on generic signs of shiftiness, which may be misplaced (eg the example of differing norms for eye contact) or strange/overdone choice of words, which again might be normal for that person. You don't know, until you know them well.
Then, when you do, it's the change from the norm that's the giveaway - that's the case for both turquoisetumble's and IloveUmama's examples. Change in habits, type or amount of detail in speech, tone, or gestures can all be giveaways, once you know when they're not normal. It's a sign of stress (which is essentially what a polygraph picks up too - changes to physiological signs of stress). You might need to aim off a bit - just in case there's a "good" reason that's not yet become apparent for the stress, but unless you've eg got a birthday in the offing, the better you know the person the more accurately you'll know when to be suspicious.
story is always too elaborate
it can never be i saw a guy fall over and i helped him get back on his feet, it would be i saw a guy fall over, his leg snapped in half, the snapped off piece of leg went flying into the road landed on a passing car, i slung the guy over my shoulder and gave chase managed to retrieve his snapped off leg then performed emergency first aid (naturally would have more advanced knowledge even thought they are not medically trained) then carried them to the hospital 10 miles away, this is why i am late home and you could not get hold of me i have had a terrible evening
or something similar. the story is always very detailed and they will always look like the good guy in their story
Agree with the above post - over egging the pudding, as it were. Also, listen to your gut reactions rather than concentrating on how they are saying, what they are saying.
Trouble with compulsive liars, they become very good at it and develop strategies to cope with being found out so my best tip is to check your own instincts about what you are being told.
Honestly I think you can tell more from the way someone behaves when they speak...words are just words and can be well practiced but the basic things of (if he's having an affair) never letting his phone out of his sight or always deleting text messages.
Also watch for feet, I know it sounds odd but the direction a person points their feet indicates what they want to do ie stay and talk, who there most interested in etc. Also the stand up straight, confidence while talking rubbish (so the...don't your dare question what i'm saying defensiveness, usually followed by the your making it all up, its in your head).
Covering their mouth with the smallest of movements ie scratching noise, rubbing eyes while they talk.
However, they could just have an itchy nose and really need the loo which would account for both things.
Best way is to ask them outright, take them by suprise and watch their reaction....the more over dramatic the reaction the more likely they are to have been caught out.
i think if they are an accomplished liar body language means nothing, some almost make themselves beleive their own lies
i would go with instinct, you will just know something does not add up but do not waste your time trying to catch them out, they are always one step ahead and do not care about telling more lies to cover themselves so you jsut get tied up in knots, best to just be confident in yourself and what you beleive then decide on what to do
Join the discussion
Please login first.