Throughout our day, it is typical that we are lied to on multiple occasions, whether we realize it or not. And while we may like to imagine that we would be able to catch a liar in the act, that probably isn’t often the case.
From little white lies from our friends and family, to the big lies our employers tell us to keep us working through our day, it helps to understand the reasons and traits behind a liar so that we can be better equipped to handle and decipher when we are being lied to.
One of the biggest traits that all liars have in common may sound simple to some, perhaps even obvious, but to others, we may not even realize it. First and foremost, it helps to know one thing, according to Jeff Hancock, who speaks regarding the science of lying, is this:
We all lie.
And while we lie for different reasons, experts tend to agree on this, most of us lie out of insecurity, because we want to please the surrounding people. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t make the liar a good person, or even excuse their behavior.
The times in which we are lying, we are manipulating those around us, or even manipulating situations in our favor, but, it helps to understand the psychology behind lying.
The main determining factor is to find out what type of liar you are dealing with. Are we discussing a normal liar or a prolific liar?
Prolific liars, are those that tell numerous lies each day. They are younger, and typically males in higher occupational status. They often lie to their partners and children, and more often than not, they believe their lying in acceptable in most situations.
Oftentimes, though, their lies are out of self-interest, rather than out of the interest of others.
If you believe you are being lied to look out for these indicators:
Did they dodge your questions? The best liars will dodge questions or change the subject.
Did they retell someone else’s story? If you think what they are saying sounds familiar, stop and ask yourself, have I heard this before?
And if you confront them, how do they react? Oftentimes, liars become defensive and will blame others for their lies.
Use your intuition, and let the above be your guide. While we all tell little white lies from time to time, a serious lie can be hurtful, and a pathological liar can be toxic. Know when you are being taken advantage of.