Everybody lies. The lies may be small and harmless (“That haircut looks great!”; “I find your abs way better than Brad Pitt’s”), or they may be big and serious (“No, honey, I didn’t take out a second mortgage”). Even the “harmless” ones can destroy a relationship if they’re sufficiently frequent. So how do you know if you’re being hoodwinked?
To start, it’s important to know why people lie. While there are certainly individuals who fit the profile from the old car salesman joke (how do you know a car salesman is lying? His lips are moving) and lie simply because they can, it isn’t the case with the majority of folks. “Most of the time, people lie when they don’t feel safe telling the truth,” observes relationship expert Jackie Black. That doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it does suggest a relationship where one party is so afraid of disapproval, they decide it’s easier to skip the truth. If you’re having a problem and decline to discuss it with your partner because you’re afraid of how they’ll respond, they might feel the same way… and they’ve likely been misleading you as well.
What are other tip-offs? At first, he may avoid outright lying and become evasive. “Usually people are uncomfortable telling lies,” Black says. “Men may stop being forthcoming; it might begin to feel like pulling teeth to have a conversation. When asked direct questions, he may avoid answering the questions directly or say, ‘I don’t know’ a lot.” Unsurprisingly, badgering him will rarely result in the truth, and he may lie simply to end the conversation. Once he gets away with one lie, more are soon to follow.
MAKING IT STOP
How do you stop the lying? Black says you need to build a relationship based on:
Or just hook each other up to polygraph machines.
DECIPHERING THE BODY TALK
On many occasions, the mouth and the body aren’t in sync – the words sound utterly convincing but everything else sends a very different message. Here are six of the most common physical indications of deception. While one or two are likely meaningless, if you see enough of them repeatedly, you should probably be concerned.
1. Covering the mouth while talking. It’s as if they’re subconsciously repressing the untruths they’re spouting. It may be as blatant as completely concealing the mouth or as subtle as a single finger placed in front of the lips.
2. Touching the nose. Scientists have found that lying can cause the tissue in the nose to swell, meaning that a quick stroke could be a sign of deceit (or that it’s allergy season).
3. Rubbing an eye. When lying to someone, the instinct is to look away in shame. Since that’s a dead giveaway, many people content themselves with a fast wipe of the peepers.
4. Touching an ear. Just as you’re supposed to see no evil, you should hear no evil as well. These nervous gestures can range from a small rub of the back of the ear to an outright yank of the ear lobe.
5. Going for the neck. Research has found lying can cause a tingling in the tissues of the neck, leading to scratching or pulling the collar. It signals that the speaker is feeling uncertainty, so be concerned if you see it right after your sweetie announces, “Of course this Prada dress was on the sales rack at Marshalls.”
6. Shaking the head no while saying yes. If he says, “Yep, I’m getting home late because I have a big assignment to finish” while nodding his head, he’s working late. If he sends the mixed message of saying yes while shaking his head no, look for him at the Spearmint Rhino (read: strip club).