Detecting deception is a valuable skill for anyone to learn. It helps people make intelligent choices with business, friendships, and more. It can save you years of wasted effort and help you dodge scams. You’ll also save the confidence you’d lose from someone taking advantage of you.
From childhood on, we learn how to deceive others in order to get what we want—it can be as simple as telling a white lie or as complicated as forging documents. But, throughout your life, you’ll reap the benefits of being deception savvy.
Reasons people use deception
Usually, people have a reason for lying. They mislead others in order to gain something beneficial that the truth wouldn’t give them.
Quite often, at the root of every lie is fear. The person is terrified of others knowing the truth. For instance, if the person gets caught breaking a rule, they’ll lie to try and avoid dealing with the consequences. Therefore, lying is the weak, insecure route that a strong, confident person wouldn’t feel the need to take.
Types of deception:
- Self-deception is also known as lying to yourself and believing it.
- Confirmation bias is a delusional thought someone believes despite proof that it’s false.
- Exaggeration makes something seem much better or worse than it was.
- An omission is a primarily true story, except the deceiver doesn’t include the vital aspects that make it a lie.
- Denial or refusal to admit the truth.
- Gaslighting or misleading someone into thinking they’re going crazy.
- Self-serving lies and manipulation are falsehoods to get what the deceiver wants.
While there aren’t guaranteed signs of a lie, some are more reliable than others. Some people are naturally more anxious and fidgety regardless of their honesty.
But, some people are more likely to lie than others—for instance, defiant teenagers, people with a lengthy criminal record, and those with low self-esteem. Insecure people will rely on lies to boost their self-image or reputation. They want others to think they’re remarkable, so perhaps they’ll fool themself as well. But soon, people discover the truth, and the liar is ridiculed and rejected. Thus, resulting in a devastating blow to their ego.
Some common behaviors could signal deception you should know.
These are some possible signs of deception:
- They’ll deflect by changing the topic to confuse you and attempt to avoid the situation.
- They give vague answers or unnecessarily detailed stories.
- They’ll repeat what you asked them to stall for time.
- They hide their hands, or they’ll show them too much.
- Pay attention to any sudden changes in their behavior or speech (stuttering, tone, speed, or volume).
- They’ll say “I did not” instead of “I didn’t.”
- They get defensive and angry at you. A secure, honest person doesn’t need to defend anything.
- They use exaggerated gestures with both hands, or they’re unnaturally stiff and rigid.
- People hiding the truth might avoid eye contact or give too much of it.
- They attempt to justify everything even if you didn’t question it.
- Their feet might rock side to side or point toward the door.
- They’ll get frustrated and stressed as you ask questions.
- Some might repeatedly touch their face or hair.
- They’ll project the same accusation back at you.
- Look out for micro expressions like pressing lips together, a smirk, gulping, glancing at the door, or eyes shifting quickly.
- They’ll storm out to escape the stressful situation.
- They nod their head “yes” but say “no.”
- Some will avoid mentioning themselves in the story.
- Pay attention to any inconsistencies in their answers.
- A liar can appear scared and worried.
The above signs are not automatic proof of deception. Some people normally behave like that. So, it’s important to weigh their behavior against how they usually act when they tell the truth.
What’s a pathological liar?
People who habitually lie all the time are considered pathological liars. It’s not a big deal to them, and they’ll lie to anyone. They will lie easily and not feel remorse for it.
Pathological lying is a symptom of antisocial personality disorder, otherwise known as sociopathy. These people don’t care about you your safety and have no empathy for the lives they destroy. If you notice the traits of a sociopath in someone close to you, you might want to keep your distance.
So, do you think you’re a human lie detector yet? Test yourself with this deception spotting challenge!
In short, deception is everywhere, and it’s challenging to detect. So, hold back before you accuse someone of lying until you see multiple red flags. Build up your evidence till you have undeniable proof. Just know what to look for and listen to your intuition. You don’t need to be paranoid but keep your eyes open, and you’ll avoid unnecessary drama.
Share in the comments any other ways to detect deception.