Wednesday, 10 August 2016

How to Understand and Recognize the Signs of a Liar

Ten Tips to Tell if Someone is Lying…

Body language forms a large part of communication. Those with social anxiety disorder (SAD) tend to have limited experience with conversation and therefore less exposure to different types of body language. When learning how to read others' body language, one useful skill is the ability to tell when a person is lying.
As you develop personal and work relationships, being able to read these subtle clues will help to guide who you can trust.

Following are ten tips to spot when someone is lying.

1. Repeat the Question. Someone who is lying will tend to repeat the question that is asked, to give themselves more time to come up with an answer. For example, if you ask "Who were you with last night?", the other person will parrot back your statement: "Who was I with last night?"
2. Pause. The liar will pause after being asked a difficult question, in order to gather his thoughts and develop a response. If you catch someone off guard with a question, and believe that person is lying, watch to see the immediate reaction and if there is a pause.
3. Give Less Details. Although you might think that a liar would give a more elaborate story, research has shown that instead they tend to give fewer details and are vague in their responses.
4. "To Be Honest". A liar will qualify statements with descriptions made to sound them more truthful. Listen for words like "Honestly" or "To tell the truth".

5. Variable Rate of Talking. Someone who is lying might slow down her speech at the beginning of a lie to gather her thoughts and to gauge your reaction to the story. Variable rates of speech can indicate that someone is lying to you.
6. Speak Formally. Bill Clinton said "I did not have sexual relations" instead of the more familiar contraction "I didn't have...". This is typical of people who are lying; to avoid contractions and use more formal language to distance themselves from the lie.

7. Speaking in Fragments. Liars tend to speak in fragments or omit pronouns; as though leaving themselves out of the sentence means it is not really a lie.
8. Trouble Backtracking. Police interrogators will often ask interviewees to recount a story backwards. Most liars have practiced their story in a chronological fashion and have difficulty picking up from a random part or working backwards.
9. Change the Subject. If you suspect someone is lying, try quickly changing the subject. In general, a truthful person will be confused by the topic change and want to go back to the original subject. The liar, on the other hand, is happy to follow along and avoid talking further about the lie.
10. Post-Interview Relief. Police interrogators also use a technique that invokes post-interview relief. Generally someone who is lying will relax if they believe the tough questions are over. Jump back to another tough question and the person will stiffen up again.

7 Things to Do When Kids Lie

Teaching kids to tell the truth takes understanding and reassurance

As much as we might like to think that our children will always tell the truth, the reality is that lying is something most children experiment with at one point or another. Parents should keep in mind that telling lies is a natural part of child development, and that in most cases, children outgrow this behavior.

Why Kids Lie

When addressing this common problem, parents should consider a child's age, the circumstances and reasons for the lie, and how frequently he engages in this behavior.
For example, many younger children -- usually younger than age 6 -- cannot yet make a clear distinction between fantasy and reality, and their "lie" may actually just be an expression of their imagination. That said, a child as young as age 4 is perfectly capable of deliberately telling a lie to, say, avoid getting into trouble or get something he wants.
  • Some common causes of lying in school-age children:
  • Wishful imaginative play
  • Fear of punishment
  • A desire to brag to friends/classmates to boost status and impress them
  • To avoid something they don’t want to do (such as clean up toys)
  • A desire to not disappoint parents when expectations are too high
  • Unhappiness with something in their lives
  • An attempt to get attention

What to Do When Kids Lie

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when dealing with lying:
1.       Get to the root cause of the lie. Is your child simply telling a tall tale as part of fantasy play? Is she deliberately trying to mislead you because she doesn’t want to be punished? If your child is simply using her imagination, help her distinguish between fact and fiction without discouraging her creativity (so if she insists that she went to the moon with her imaginary friends, then explain that it sounds like so much fun you would like to join in too).

On the other hand, if she claims than an imaginary friend broke something she wasn’t supposed to touch, first reassure her that she won’t get in trouble if she tells you what really happened. Then explain that you understand that while it can sometimes be easier to believe that someone else may have done something that she doesn’t want to admit to doing, telling the truth always helps make things better.
2.       Do not make kids feel like they cannot come to you. If a child is worried that you will be angry, he may try to avoid telling you the truth at all costs. The important thing is to help your child feel secure, safe, and supported so that he knows he can talk to you without losing your affection and love. In fact, research shows that when you threaten kids with punishment for lying, they are less likely to tell the truth.

Explain to your child that if he tells you the truth, you will not become angry, and that the truth is more important to you than anything else. Then listen calmly and address whatever the misbehavior was; focus on that, and on the consequences of his actions, rather than on finding blame. If he attempted a lie, praise him for being honest with you and acknowledge that telling the truth must have been difficult for him.
3.       Give your child consequences, rather than punishment. What’s the difference? Punishment comes from a place of anger whereas consequences are focused on correcting the misbehavior. For instance, if your child lies about doing her chores, discuss with her the importance of facing up to her actions; work with her to come up with an appropriate task to make up for her mistake, such as doing extra age-appropriate chores around the house.
4.       Do not call your child a liar. Labels can not only be hurtful, they can have a lasting impact on how a child views himself. If he is called a liar, he may believe himself to be one and act accordingly.
5.       Be clear about your expectations. Tell your child that lying is something that you do not want in your household. Let her know that telling the truth is just as important as other good behavior that you expect from her such as speaking to you in a respectful manner and not talking back or trying not to fight with her siblings.
6.       Assess your own behavior when it comes to telling the truth. Do you often resort to lying when you want to avoid a situation or to get something you want? For instance, if your child hears you telling a neighbor that you cannot feed her cat while she’s on a trip because you have a sick relative when the truth is that you secretly don’t like that particular cat, you child will get the message that adults lie when it’s convenient for them.
7.       Talk about the effect lying can have on relationships. Explain that lying can damage the trust that exists between people who love each other. Ask your child to imagine how she might feel if you lied to her about something. Would she doubt you the next time? Would it affect the way she trusted you?

Finally, keep in mind that if a child lies repeatedly and frequently, even after consequences and reassurances from you, it may be time to talk with your pediatrician or other professional child behavioral expert to assess the behavior and get more recommendations.

In general, if you are not sure whether someone is lying, think about how that person would think or feel if he was lying or telling the truth and compare that with how he is acting.

Also consider what you want to believe versus what really makes sense; often times we fall victim to lies because we don't want to know the truth.


‘This post is a part of Picks, an initiative for Bloggers by .’My City for Kids'


Forbes. Dectecting Lies. Accessed April 24, 2013.

Chatelaine. How to Tell if Someone is Lying. Accessed April 24, 2013.

Science Daily. How to Tell When Someone's Lying: Psychologist Helps Law Enforcement Agencies Tell Truth from Deception. Accessed April 24, 2013.