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4 Giveaway Signs that You’re Being Lied To
In your entrepreneurial career, it’s highly likely that at some stage you’ll encounter people that mislead or deceive you. Whether it’s employees, suppliers or even customers (“I sent the check last week. You should receive it any day now”) here’s a quick look at four of the biggest giveaways that will let you know that you’re being lied to.
- They seem to take a long pause before they answer. When someone is not being truthful, they are a lot more likely to take a long pause before answering a question that you may have asked them.
Even though a short pause is acceptable social behavior (because it indicates that you are thinking through what is being said before responding), a longer pause may show that the person is trying to keep track of their lies or that they’re trying to ensure that their story makes sense.
As Patti Wood, MA, CSP states: “Liars have longer pauses, shorter answers and longer times between a question and a response than someone who is merely nervous. It makes sense that liars need time to create the lie, recalling the truth takes less time.”They have abnormal eye contact habits. When someone is lying, they may be more likely to have abnormal eye contact. Rhett Powers from Inc.com says that “Some avid liars have learned to telegraph confidence, so instead of breaking eye contact, they will stare at you and not blink. If it seems like their eye contact is too intense, it may be a sign they are trying to cover up their nervousness.” Of course, a lack of eye contact, including looking toward the door or looking at their feet, may also be indicative of someone who is being untruthful.
- They start to look uncomfortable, including awkward motions or grooming gestures. If someone starts to look uncomfortable when they’re talking, it could well be a sign that they’re lying. They may turn their head in order to try and avoid eye contact, or they may start moving around the room. In some cases, they may also move their hands so that they are hiding away parts of the body that are perceived as vulnerable (the face, the neck, the throat). This is a defense mechanism that we do subconsciously when we lie because it helps us to feel “safe” from the person that we are lying to. Grooming gestures such as adjusting shirt cuffs, re-positioning glasses, playing with hair may also be physical manifestations of the inner turmoil caused by being untruthful.
- They give you much more information than you originally asked for. When people lie, they are a lot more likely to share a mass of information with you. Many times, it ends up being a lot more than you asked for. They do this because they are trying to justify everything that they have told you with more information that they believe will make sense when compared with what you already know. They may also end up repeating information that they’ve already told you because of how nervous that they are. According to Dr. Lillian Glass, “When someone goes on and on and gives you too much information — information that is not requested and especially an excess of details — there is a very high probability that he or she is not telling you the truth…Liars often talk a lot because they are hoping that, with all their talking and seeming openness, others will believe them.”
Important note: There are of course exceptions to these rules. There are some people who are naturally nervous, so they may have some of these behaviors as part of their normal way of acting. If you are concerned that this may be the case, make sure that you observe them and get to know them in other situations. That way, you can determine as to whether or not this is part of their normal patterns of behavior. If they are just naturally nervous, then you will have to look for other signs of body language (or times where they are doing these things in an exaggerated manner).
In conclusion, no one wants to be lied to whether it’s in a business or personal setting. By learning what to look out for, you will be better positioned to protect yourself and your business from any harm that may come from dishonest people.